Risk Factors for Hamstring Injuries:
What is a neutral spine?
If you're standing, put yourself in a lordotic position, with anterior pelvic tilt and brace your abdomen to stabilize and stay in that position. Bear down and stand tall to have a neutral spine. Even when starting the blocks, you should maintain a neutral spine.
- Hamstring Flexibility
- Hip Flexor Flexibility
- Quadriceps Flexibility
The degree of flexibility that you have in your hamstrings, hip flexors and quadriceps can impact risk for hamstring injury and your stride length directly. Most races or many races are won by just a hundredth of a second or so, which is a stride length. If you're an inch farther than another athlete, that's a win.
Importance of a Neutral Foot: Whenever you are sprinting, squatting, doing anything, we want evenly balanced weight distribution between your toes, and front to back of your foot as well.
Importance of Posture: One of the last major risk factors for hamstring injuries and sprinters is posture. If you're sprinting, you’ll sometimes see athletes who are forward flexed because they're trying to use their abdominals to compensate for weak hip flexors. If your hip flexors are really strong or tight, that can put you in a hyperlordotic position.
Toe Running: A lot of coaches will say to run on your toes, which I really think what they're trying to say is run tall or run in good posture. I think they're doing you an actual disservice because you don't have time in sprinting to hit the ground and pop right back off when you're on your forefoot, that only works when you're doing more middle distance. Toe running can cause you to grab the ground and pull instead of staying dorsiflexed at the ankle. Point it up to where when you hit the ground and you can pop off as fast as possible and maintain as fast the speed as possible.
If you're having difficulties with nagging hamstring injuries or just had a hamstring injury, give us a call and we can help!