T Nation

Help...Rehab Hamstring

I am a corrections officer, and a couple years ago I was responding to an incident at a sprint when my left hamstring “popped” on me. It took a long time to get back to the point where I felt secure in the strength in that leg to the point where I began lifting weights. I’d worked my deadlift back up to 405#X5 reps, was sqauting, lunging, doing stiff leg deadlifts etc… along with regular stretching.

This morning, I thought I’d add back a bit of running to my regimen; so I went to the local high school’s football practice field and did a warmup lap of the practice field and stretched, then 40 yards into my first 100 yard sprint, I popped my other [right] hamstring.

I’m hoping that as I’m more flexible than I was two years ago, and more fit in many ways, that this is less severe…but right now it hurts like hell. It’s my weekend and hopefully, I will be well enough to perform my job adequately while I recover…

What I’d like from those who have the knowledge, is training recommendations for recovering from this injury and strengthening this area to the point that this quits happening to me. Running to respond to an incident is a very real aspect of my job, I can get by jogging instead of sprinting, but I’d prefer to be ready for anything.

I’m a 35 year old, currently at an out of shape 300# {Big offensive lineman build}…been lifting 3X/week for about five months [been working out in gyms for 23 years on and off though]; working on overall strength and conditioning. [don’t care about looking good in a speedo…aint gonna happen ;-)]…bench is back up to 370…getting much stronger all over…till this.

Thanks in advance for any help.

[quote]SeaHag wrote:
I’m a 35 year old, currently at an out of shape 300# .[/quote]

This is your #1 problem. You have to lose some weight, maybe up to 60 pounds.

I got a “popper” some time back. Ice it. After two weeks, I started to ride a stationary bicycle. I should have started earlier, but I just came up with the idea out of the blue.

Anyway, getting the blood flowing through the area made all that stabbing pain go away immediately. I started easy, and increased the duration and difficulty from week to week. after about two months I started squatting again.

After about four months I started dead lifting again. It took a year to get back to my PR.

So:
Lose weight!
Ice
bicycle

Good luck

[quote]kroby wrote:
SeaHag wrote:
I’m a 35 year old, currently at an out of shape 300# .

This is your #1 problem. You have to lose some weight, maybe up to 60 pounds.

I got a “popper” some time back. Ice it. After two weeks, I started to ride a stationary bicycle. I should have started earlier, but I just came up with the idea out of the blue.

Anyway, getting the blood flowing through the area made all that stabbing pain go away immediately. I started easy, and increased the duration and difficulty from week to week. after about two months I started squatting again.

After about four months I started dead lifting again. It took a year to get back to my PR.

So:
Lose weight!
Ice
bicycle

Good luck[/quote]

Thanks for contributing. Well, on day two, I can already tell that this “popper” is not as severe as the one I had previously…I’m sure some of that is due to the stretching and heavy lifting I have been doing. At the time I had my last popper, I had been away from the gym for six months and very sedentary after breaking an ankle.

Thanks for the tip on the stationary biking. It will be quite some time before I attempt running sprints again, but I came across some information yesterday that may help others avoid this problem.

I should have warmed up more before going into high intensity sprints. What I read was recommendations that the first few sprints be done at 50% effort, then another series at approximately 70% effort before running flat out. The jog I did around the field was not enough.

I know I have about 50# to lose. A year ago it was much worse. I decided then that I had to start doing something, and I’ve made a lot of progress toward my goal weight and conditioning.

Unfortunately, everything is harder at this age than it was ten years ago. I was hoping that beginning to run again, would help take the weight off faster. I’ve been on a plateau for a couple months after months of relatively easy weight loss. I plan to start a strict low carb eating plan again very soon.

I’d sure appreciate any more comments, tips, or suggestions toward strengthening these muscles and preventing further hamstring strains. I figured with all the sports therapist, and personal trainers hanging around here, that I’d get more than one response.

Your just asking to pull your hamstring again. Even if you warm up at 50% taking 6 months off between running then going out and trying to do a hard effort is going to pull it.

I only say this because you said this was your first day back to your running regimen so I’m assuming you weren’t jogging or anything weeks leading up to this sprint.

Even if you hop on bike, your endurance might be there but its not conditioning your legs for running. I don’t know the exact numbers but its 10 times more force on your hamstrings and knees when running then riding a bike.

I’m sure you know about RICE by now so I won’t get into that. As far as stretching goes, until there is no pain you do not want to staticly overstretch your legs too much. your better off doing light stiff legged deadlifts and lunges then stretching.

Also don’t wait until its healed to get back to your leg workouts specially running. While I don’t suggest sprinting, I would say for the next few weeks you should be jogging. You may also want to try leg swings.

I had hammy issues from time to time, some more severe than others. It all started when my 1 year old son woke me up from a deep sleep and I dug my heels into the mattress and scooted out of bed as fast as I could, straining a hammy in the process…

Here are some things I’ve tried that helped:
*rest and ice until inflamation has quieted down and healing is well underway
*light stretching to maintain some flexibility/mobility
*massage
*electro-stim

Some exercises you could use to help you build back into things might include:
*one-legged DLs
*ghr
*sled work
*leg curls w. bands

Really be smart about your comeback, because if you rush things, your body will overcompensate by shifting stress to other areas and you could end up with brand-new issues… Glute issues have a way of becoming hamstring issues. Hamstring issues have a way of becoming lower back issues, etc. Good luck and let us know how the recovery fares.

[quote]Airtruth wrote:
Your just asking to pull your hamstring again. Even if you warm up at 50% taking 6 months off between running then going out and trying to do a hard effort is going to pull it.

I only say this because you said this was your first day back to your running regimen so I’m assuming you weren’t jogging or anything weeks leading up to this sprint.

Even if you hop on bike, your endurance might be there but its not conditioning your legs for running. I don’t know the exact numbers but its 10 times more force on your hamstrings and knees when running then riding a bike.

I’m sure you know about RICE by now so I won’t get into that. As far as stretching goes, until there is no pain you do not want to staticly overstretch your legs too much. your better off doing light stiff legged deadlifts and lunges then stretching.

Also don’t wait until its healed to get back to your leg workouts specially running. While I don’t suggest sprinting, I would say for the next few weeks you should be jogging. You may also want to try leg swings. [/quote]

Thanks…this sounds like good advice. To confirm your suspicions, this was my first effort running in quite a while; other than the occasional running response to an incident at work while assigned to the “A” response team. I have been bicycling a lot more this year though and I’d say my cardio level is halfway decent; but I wasn’t aware that running [hard] put that much more strain on my hammies than other types of exercise. With the weight I’ve been deadlifting and squating with, pain free, I assumed I’d put this issue behind me.

Just to clarify, what do these “leg swings” consist of?