Ow my Hamstrings!
Troubleshooting that strain in the hamstrings
You have probably experienced that nagging pain in their hamstrings before at some point of time in your life, or maybe even now! It’s a common phenomenon and it’s an uncomfortable and offsetting feeling.
Yoga practitioners may experience it after overstretching and people who lead sedentary lives may experience it from walking too long. Even among professional athletes, hamstrings are a huge cause of distress. Jurgen Klopp, the current manager of football club, Liverpool, mentioned in a viral press conference of his that its always the hamstrings that causes injury woes in the team.
Let us first take a look at how our hamstrings work. The hamstrings are a group of three muscles on the back of your thigh. These muscles originate from the sitting bones of the pelvis.
So what exactly causes a hamstring strain?
The main factors here are flexibility and strength. Imagine your hamstrings are like a rubber band. If they are inflexible, they can only be pulled apart a little before it snaps. If it is not strong enough, the rubber band will feel like it has no tension and when you try to use it, it will snap as well. If you have been stretching your hamstrings during yoga practice and feel a tender sensation coming from the sitting bones, it is likely that you have overstretched it. If you have been running or playing sports and feel like someone had hit you at the back of the leg, or it feels like the muscles going into spasm, its likely you have overworked and strained it.
So what can you do?
By strengthening your hamstrings, you can help prevent further and future strains or injuries to your hamstrings. Standing yoga poses such Warrior 1, Warrior 2 and Extended Side Angle can help as the front legs are bent and engaged. Hip extension poses like Bridge pose can help as well. In Bridge pose, the hips are lifted off the ground which is made possible due to the engagement of the hamstrings. During your self-practice, try to hold these poses help to build that quality isometric strength.
However, do take note that there are other factors such as fatigue that may also affect the likelihood of a hamstring strain. For example, if you are feeling tired, you will lose coordination of your muscles or the nerves in your muscles may not be working optimally and these lead to pulling of the muscles.
Hence it is important that on your journey to pain-free hamstrings, always remember that whenever you engage in any physical activity, do exercise caution and listen to how your body feels and not overwork them.