A pulled or strained hamstring can be very common among athletes. It can be a strain or tear in the muscle tendons that run along the back part of your upper thighs. Thank goodness I have never suffered a hamstring injury, but I have treated many people who have, and this can be a very frustrating healing process.
So, how can we go about ways to strengthen them and avoid injury? Well, I came across the Norwegian Hamstring Curl, which has been proven to be one of the best strengthen exercises for Hamstrings.
A little background on hamstrings…..They are a collection of three muscles located in the back of the thigh that are responsible for bending or flexing the knee. The semitendinosus, semimembranosus and biceps femoris begin as a tendon that inserts in the ischium, one of the pelvic bones and run the length of the femur, crossing the back of the knee to attach to the tibia and fibulas.
The hamstring muscle is balanced by the quad muscles which are located on the front of the thigh and cause the knee to extend. Together the hamstrings and the quads help control power and stability of the knee joint, to perform actions like jumping, squatting, running and walking.
While searching out strengthening exercises, I stumbled across a really good article posted on the British Sports Journal by Dr Peter Brukner from Trobe University, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia published Online First 23 June 2015 on Hamstring Injuries, Prevention and Strengthen :
“Despite increased knowledge of hamstring muscle injuries, the incidence has not diminished. We now know that not all hamstring injuries are the same and that certain types of injuries require prolonged rehabilitation and return to play.
The slow stretch type of injury and injuries involving the central tendon both require longer times to return to play. A number of factors have been proposed as being indicators of time taken to return to play, but the evidence for these is conflicting. Recurrence rates remain high and it is now thought that strength deficits may be an important factor. Strengthening exercise should be performed with the hamstrings in a lengthened position.
There is conflicting evidence regarding the efficacy of platelet-rich plasma injection in the treatment of hamstring injuries so at this stage, we cannot advise their use. Various tests have been proposed as predictors of hamstring injury and the use of the Nordboard is an interesting addition to the testing process. Prevention of these injuries is the ultimate aim and there is increasing evidence that Nordic hamstring exercises are effective in reducing the incidence“
If you haven’t heard of the Nordic Hamstring Curl before, then here’s a video link to one I prepared earlier for you – I would advise starting at 1 sets of 10 reps daily and building up to 3 sets of 10 reps.