Hamstring injuries, amongst all the other injuries, are most prone to becoming chronic. More than two-thirds of runners that strain their hamstrings will suffer the same injury within a year. Even though the hamstrings consist of four different muscles runners almost exclusively injure their outer hamstring muscle.
The single best predictor of future injury is prior injury, this is because the injured muscle heals with less flexibility or improper rehabilitation. Because of the exceptionally high recurrence rate associated with hamstring strains, rehabilitation of this injury must be comprehensive.
It becomes essential to strengthen your hamstrings in a way so as not to get injured. In case of a hamstring injury, it is imperative that you visit a physiotherapist, who can then work with you in a manner that is best suitable for your body, with ample guidance. But the best cure is usually prevention, and for that we are going to list some basic exercises to help you strengthen your hamstrings.
Use a foam roller to massage your hamstring for 5-10 minutes after your workout. This will condition the muscle as well as help it recover. It’s like a gentle massage to loosen any weary muscles.
Lie on the floor and tighten your abs while lifting hips off the floor. Tighten your hamstring muscles by trying to pull your heels towards your hips. Hold this position for 5-10 seconds at first and increasing up to 20-30 seconds. Try not to arch back too much. A particularly great exercise after your run.
The ultimate hamstring and glute-maker. Squat down while reaching your hips back. Your body weight should be on your heels. Hold position for 20 seconds, then relax, 10 reps. For more advanced runners, make sure you add some variations to your squats such as wide squats or squat jumps to better prepare your body.
Using 20-30 pounds as weights, position your foot and leg in a manner so that the knee and foot are at the same height. Keeping the weight on the heel of the foot press out and hold position. Hold for 20 seconds and then do 15 reps.
When hitting the gym, focus on your hamstrings. On the weight machine, select light weights in the beginning, increasing your intensity as you progress.
These exercise should be done for 3 to 4 sets. Thrice a week of these means that your hamstrings will be strong enough to keep you steady and injury free during your runs.