Pulling Through: New Approaches to Preventing Hamstring Injuries

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In virtually every sport, hamstring injuries account for a larger percentage of lost time than any other musculotendon injury. Not surprisingly, a great deal of research has been devoted to understanding predisposing factors, intervention approaches, and preventative measures involving the muscles of the posterior thigh. Yet, for the most part, these injuries still perplex us. Despite all that we’ve learned, we still repeatedly see athletes clutch the back of their thighs in pain and hobble off the field, court, or track. And once they’ve suffered one hamstring injury, there is a good chance they’ll suffer another. In response, some sports medicine professionals are starting to think outside the box about the treatment and prevention of hamstring injuries. They are taking a more holistic approach to the hamstring and trying out new ideas and techniques. They are asking themselves: What is unique about this muscle group? Does its dual innervation lead to different types of injuries? And how does training the quadriceps affect the hamstrings? In this article, I will review the most widely accepted predisposing factors of hamstring injuries as well as innovative approaches to intervention and prevention. I’ll examine the role of the quads and hip flexors in hamstring function, and explain how to train this muscle group in its position of greatest tension.


This article was originally published in Training & Conditioning, volume 16, issue 9, in 2006.

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Momentum Media Sports Publishing