Many activities require the use of our hamstrings, from walking to running, climbing and even jumping. The hamstring is one of the larger muscles in our lower body that does a lot of heavy lifting and works by acting on the hip and knee. While there are a number of factors like age and a previous injury that affect one’s propensity to getting a hamstring strain, preventing it from happening is not very difficult. We will be focusing our efforts on reducing the risk factors by targeting several different areas to prevent a hamstring strain today.
The first and most important step is to perform a warmup before engaging in any strenuous activities. A hamstring strain or any muscular strain happens easily when your muscles are not warmed up. Think of your hamstrings as an elastic band, without slowly stretching the elastic band, pulling it apart at full force will probably snap it. Simply jogging on the spot and doing some light static stretches is sufficient to warm up your hamstrings.
Weak Lower Body
Another reason why a hamstring strain could occur is because of weak hamstring and quadriceps muscles. When one attempts repetitive forces that may be too much for their lower body to handle, it could result in the hamstrings overstretching, and possibly even a tear. To prevent weak hamstrings from being a problem, exercises such as squats and deadlifts can be performed routinely to condition the hamstrings and build its strength.
Finally, a reason that is often overlooked is a muscular imbalance between the quadriceps and the hamstrings. In ordinary folks, the quadriceps are naturally stronger than the hamstrings. Athletes tend to be at higher risk for developing hamstring strains due to muscular imbalances, especially if they do not perform a balanced training. If you realize that your hamstrings are weaker than your quadriceps, perform exercises that isolate the hamstrings such as hamstring curls to prevent a strain from happening.
Naturally, when you are exhausted, your muscles become fatigued and the control you have over them becomes lesser. The same applies to the hamstrings and it can become easily overstretched, resulting in a strain. The easiest way to prevent a strain is to be conscious when you are exhausted and focus more on maintaining a proper form. Never perform a sudden movement with full force, like sprinting when you are exhausted as it increases the chances of a strain.
With that, we have come to the end of the comprehensive guide to preventing a hamstring strain. Remember to practice good form and you can expect maximal performance during your activities with the above 4 tips.