Hamstring Injuries and Gymnastics
Taut And Unstable Hamstrings
Apparently, stretching exercises have all but been discarded by most gymnastics programs. Only a precious few minutes of stretching is allowed before launching into the training proper. It is for this exact reason that female gymnasts have very tight hamstrings. This is caused by the continuous pelvic tucking present in each gymnastic activity. In doing so, they are in effect shortening the muscle by bringing its origin and insertion closer to each other for several hours each day.
The same is true for people who sit for a living. The knee flexor and hip extender portions of the hamstring are shorter in people who maintain long sitting positions everyday. Being in a sitting position the whole day takes the lumbar curve off the spine – the primary aim of every gymnast. It’ll score well with the judges, but spell disaster for performance power and the lower back.
Static and dynamic hamstring stretches, especially using the PNF techniques will add strength and enhance performance power.
Conversely, weak hamstrings are another problem, particularly the portions near the hips and buttocks. As most gymnastics moves involve tumbling and jumping off the toes, a greater portion of leg power develops at the quadriceps. Not using a muscle causes that muscle to degenerate, and this is what happens to the underused hamstrings. A gymnast’s hips are also frequently tucked under, and this leads to very minimal activity for the gluteus maximus and gluteus medius. As a consequence, gymnasts have a harder time executing stick dismounts from a height of 20 feet, due to a very unstable hip area.
For the hip to extend fully, the muscles of the buttocks require a neutral or arched spine. A tucked hip and a round lower back eventually leads to weak glutes.
To develop correct lumbar curves and strengthen the back,
hips and glutes, including the hamstrings and quadriceps,
a series of exercises involving squats, kettleball swings,
snatches, windmills and deadlifts are recommended. Use
a stability ball to improve basic balance and body control.
Proper execution of one-legged, no arm hip extensions
will determine the extent of upper hamstring strength.
Treatment of Hamstring Strains
What can the gymnast do?
The first 48 hours after injury is the critical period for a hamstring strain, in this period the gymnast should:
• Use R.I.C.E. (Rest, Ice, Compress, Elevate) Do not put ice directly onto skin as it might burn!
• Utilize a compression bandage to minimize intra muscular bleeding (view below).
• During rehabilitation which in a minor strain can be after 3 days and in sever cases can be after 14 days, use a hot water bottle on the affected hamstring and start a program of stretches and standing hamstring curls with a weight machine on a very low weight. These can help with decreasing the swelling in the area and also ensure that any new fibres will be laid down in correct manner thus reducing the risk of subsequent injuries.
• See a sports injury specialist.
5 Star Rating
Unique two way stretch material that provides effective support and compression to the hamstrings.
• Sports massage is very important to speed up recovery
times as massage breaks down the newly laid collagen and
allows for correct fibre alignment, it also minimizes
scar tissue. Blood flow to the area is also increases
which further aids to speed up recovery.
Prevention of Pulled Hamstrings: