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Old 08-05-2009, 10:48 AM   #1
Jon Friedland
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Hamstring Tightness/Pain won't quit after 2-3 months

Over the course of about a year my hamstrings got tighter and tighter. Both where the ham meets the glute and also where it meets the back of the knee. I noticed it and think excacerbated it on long runs when I pushed it.

Ground down to the point where I had to stop WODs about 2-3 months ago. Did it thinking my whole body needed a break to recoup. Hamstrings did not really give with rest so I started Mark Rippetoe's method of very light weight, high rep eccentric excercises - in this case dead lifts with knees only slightly bent. After about 1 month of this I am noticing some improvement but not much.

Also, I saw a sports med doc who gave me 2 exercises to do 3x/week, which I have been doing in conjunction with the Rippetoe. First exercise is air squats into a jump for 4 minutes - 20 seconds then 10 second rest. Next is stand on one leg with arms out, bend down to touch right toe with left hand, come back up, jump and repeat. 10 reps, 3x each side. This makes less sense to me as its not directly hitting the hams, more front of the leg.

Tried running a 5k yesterday and quit after 1.7 miles as I was afraid my hams were tightening up. I will try to be more dilligent about rollers and icing.


Wonder if anyone has experiences or advice to share? Thanks.

Last edited by Jon Friedland : 08-05-2009 at 10:53 AM. Reason: More Info
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Old 08-05-2009, 06:35 PM   #2
Steven Low
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Re: Hamstring Tightness/Pain won't quit after 2-3 months

Stretch?

Proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation. Everyday.

Eccentrics and other exercises are well and good but if your mobility is compromised from tight hammies then there's not much you can do without stretching.......
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Old 08-06-2009, 03:09 PM   #3
Jon Friedland
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Re: Hamstring Tightness/Pain won't quit after 2-3 months

Thanks Steven. Interestingly the sports med doc, who has a great reputation in NYC, dismissed stretching when I saw him. He though the main thing was to strenghten the hamstrings and gave me the exercises I list above.

In hindsight this does not make much sense and does not appear to have been effective. I think it was strengthening the same muscles that were already too strong relative to the hamstrings.

The idea of dead lifts with nearly straight legs and stretching sounds more intuative. I will start this as a routine and report back.

Jon
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Old 08-06-2009, 06:50 PM   #4
Steven Low
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Re: Hamstring Tightness/Pain won't quit after 2-3 months

I mean, most people do have weak hammies compared to quads so if there's an imbalance that work is likely to help the pain in many individuals (as most are quad dominant from desk jobs).

That said... you still need the mobility from stretching.... if you're tight
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Old 08-06-2009, 11:18 PM   #5
Katherine Derbyshire
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Re: Hamstring Tightness/Pain won't quit after 2-3 months

Can you touch your toes without bending your knees? Standing or seated? If not, work that stretch until you can. Another good one is to stretch your legs out to the sides -- as close to a split as you can get -- and stretch your hand towards your toes on each side and then as far down as you can go in the middle. (I know someone who can do a full 180 degree split, then put his hips on the floor, but he's a mutant.)

Always warmup before stretching.

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Old 08-07-2009, 05:30 AM   #6
Jon Friedland
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Re: Hamstring Tightness/Pain won't quit after 2-3 months

Kathy - yes I am pretty flexible. I can still put my palms on the floor with legs straight. I will try some legs to the side stretching flexibility has never been an issue with me - just he ache which turned into pain upon exertion.
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Old 08-07-2009, 12:23 PM   #7
Steven Low
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Re: Hamstring Tightness/Pain won't quit after 2-3 months

Hmm, if you're already fairly flexible you might have some sore of glute inactivation or other movement pattern disfunction
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Old 08-08-2009, 07:53 AM   #8
Jake Thompson
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Re: Hamstring Tightness/Pain won't quit after 2-3 months

How flat is your back when you are touching the ground?

you should be able to maintain neutral (flat) lumbar spine while performing this to determine hamstring length.

There is also a large neural component to this and active stretching as opposed to the long duration hold (cool down activity) that most will suggest you do. The single leg RDL (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=azvUJp9vqdg) link wfs the doc gave you was an excellent exercise if performed correctly. You can also reach from 3 o'clock to 9 o'clock to stress the hamstring differently at the origin.

Lacrosse ball massage just below the origin down to back of knee is also recommended on a daily basis until it no longer is painful.

let me know if you need more info etc.
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Old 08-10-2009, 09:27 AM   #9
Jon Friedland
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Re: Hamstring Tightness/Pain won't quit after 2-3 months

OK Jake - thanks a lot - I think I understand all of your suggestions. But what does WFS mean? I will find a lax ball and also try some of the 3-9 active stretches. Useful distinction between those and the cool down stretches.

I have been slowly ramping up my activities and feel like the support I am getting here is really helping so THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU to Steven and Kathy as well.

Best,

Jon
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Old 09-11-2009, 08:18 AM   #10
Marc Ackerman
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Re: Hamstring Tightness/Pain won't quit after 2-3 months

Jon, WFS = work/family safe for viewing as to not offend other parties who may be around...
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