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High-Tension Hamstring Training Extreme Hamstrings: High-Tension Hamstring Training
By Erick Minor Published:April 23, 2009Posted in: Sports Training Hamstring injuries are common among sprinters. One of the biggest challenges that I face as a strength coach is helping an athlete overcome a hamstring injury and at the same time improving performance. I currently train Darvis Patton, 2008 Beijing Olympic 100-meter finalist, and Leonard Scott, 2006 Indoor World Champion 60-meter sprint. Both of these athletes have experienced serious hamstring injuries. The following information will shed some light on my techniques and protocols for building bullet-proof hamstrings. Anatomy of a hamstring injury You must first understand the function of the hamstring and where the most stress is placed on the hamstring in order to correct and prevent injury. The hamstrings are a group of three posterior thigh muscles responsible for knee flexion and hip extension. During high-speed sprints, the hamstrings’ main role is to rein hip flexion and initiate hip extension. Most hamstring injuries occur during the powerful eccentric contraction of the late swing phase. This is when the front thigh is almost parallel to the ground during high speed sprinting. There is tremendous stress on the hamstring at this phase between the eccentric and concentric contraction. So, my philosophy is to increase the strength of a muscle where it is the most vulnerable. This idea is called accentuation, and I first read about this in Vladimir Zatsiorsky’s book, Science and Practice of Strength Training. The problem with most hamstring training programs is the emphasis on concentric dominant exercises. As you may know, we are stronger eccentrically than concentrically, so most concentric dominant exercises don’t place enough load on the hamstrings to prevent injury. The emphasis on concentric training is due to, in my opinion, an overemphasis on rate-of-force development. The following exercises, which are staples for most sprinters, are what I consider concentric dominant exercises. Those exercises are power cleans, power snatches, and box jumps. These concentric dominant, explosive exercises are ineffective at preventing hamstring injury due to the lack of eccentric stress. You may be thinking, what about explosive exercises? You must train fast to be fast, right? Nope. In my opinion, sprinting is by far the most effective explosive/plyometric exercise for sprinters. There is no gym exercise that can duplicate the speed of limb movement during a full out sprint. My primary goal for all my sprint athletes is to prevent injury by addressing muscular weakness and imbalances and improving performance by increasing maximal relative strength. Word of caution This article is not intended to address biomechanical issues (posture, pelvic tilt, etc.) or acute injuries. Structural issues should be addressed by a qualified professional prior to implementing a maximal strength program. The following exercises are not intended for beginners or novice trainees. These exercises place a tremendous amount of stress on the hamstrings in the stretched position. Operating principles 1. Resistance training should be performed after morning sprint sessions. My athletes typically do their track workout at 10:00 am followed by lunch at noon and then resistance training at 2:00 pm. 2. Heavy hamstring work should be performed before an off day. This is of vital importance as the
moderate to high volume during the off-season and high intensity. eccentric contraction. Adjust volume as necessary but never decrease intensity below an eight rep max for most hamstring exercises. Place the weight on the floor and repeat for the desired number of repetitions. Listen to your body. Leonard Scott M odified Bulgarian split squat with emphasis on the hamstring: This exercise is similar to a basic rear leg elevated split squat.season gets closer. Figure 2. Glute hamstring raise . advanced with eccentric overload: This is by far the most challenging hamstring exercise I’ve ever used. Keep the arms perpendicular to the ground and the shoulders a few inches in front of your knees. Proper positioning of the legs is vital to experience optimal results. Then. Low intensity (eight or more reps) is of minimal value to fast-twitch athletes such as sprinters. This allows for significant overload of the hamstrings. Perform a Romanian deadlift for the eccentric phase. 4. Trap bar deadlift: This exercise is one of my favorite exercises. Never sacrifice good form for heavier loading. Typically. Light training will do nothing for improving sprint performance. Don’t let the hips rise before the shoulders. 3. It is a tremendous posterior chain exercise and is easier to teach than the standard deadlift. Lower the weight to the floor on each repetition. Lower the weight to the floor on each repetition. Sprinters should always do track speed work on fresh legs. high tension work to make a difference. Maintain a neutral spine throughout the exercise. low volume during competition periods. Do not bounce the weight on the floor. The hamstrings require intense. 6. Your knees should be on top of the pad with the shins horizontal to the floor. eccentric enhanced: Perform a standard bent-knee deadlift for the concentric phase. Perform the concentric phase of the glute hamstring raise without a load. controlled. We do no more than six reps for this exercise. We use either the trap bar or a straight barbell for this exercise. Use high intensity. The following exercises are advanced movements for pain-free. Darvis “Doc” Patton M odified Romanian deadlift. Glute hamstring raise. most athletes can deadlift more weight than they can Romanian deadlift. This is a very effective single leg hamstring exercise. 5. post-rehabilitation athletes. The only difference is the front shin remains almost perpendicular and the torso comes in contact with the thigh during the eccentric phase of the exercise. Drive with the legs. Caption: Figure 3. have a partner hand you a dumbbell or kettlebell and perform a slow (minimum three seconds). Caption: Figure 1.
Caption: Figure 4. Position the pad so that you can keep the knee slightly bent. . These routines were used during the 2008 off-season. Place the trailing leg on a plyobox or high step. Position yourself on the machine as directed.Reverse hip extension. Leonard Scott The following leg routines were designed for 2008 Beijing Olympics 100-meter finalist Darvis “Doc” Patton. single leg: This exercise requires the use of an Atlantis or PowerLift reverse hyper machine. Perform partial reps maintaining tension on the hamstring.
. If you are still increasing the load after four weeks.Legs #1. He is currently the owner of Dynamic Barbell Club (www. The duration of the routines depends on progress. he competed in Strongman.com). barbell Glute hamstring raise. Also. Texas. 70. 75–80 Hip flexion. 335. Darvis “Doc” Patton improved his 100-meter sprint time from 10. Friday Order A B C1 C2 Exercise Modified Romanian deadlift Split squat. 3 minutes 3 minutes 2 minutes 2 minutes Repeat each routine 4–6 times before changing exercises and protocols. Erick has personally trained hundreds of individuals seeking improved sports performance or aesthetic enhancement. 80–90 Reverse hip extension. a private sports performance and personal training gym located in Fort Worth. he currently trains professional athletes from the MLB and track and field. About the Author Erick Minor has been a full-time strength coach and personal trainer since 1997 and a certified sports massage therapist since 1996.11 seconds in 2007 to 9. 355–375 Modified Bulgarian split squat with dumbbellsWeight sequence: 65.89 seconds in 2008. 100–125 Sets 4 3–4 Reps 3 4–6 per leg Tempo 31 X 1 30 X 1 Rest 3 minutes 90 seconds per leg 90 seconds 2 minutes C1 C2 3 3 8–10 6–8 per leg Legs #2. one leg alternatingWeight sequence: 90. He has worked as a strength coach and sports massage therapist in clinical (chiropractic) and commercial settings. advanced Hanging leg raise Sets 3–4 2–3 3–4 3–4 Reps 3 4–6 per leg 4–6 8–10 Tempo 31 X 1 20 X 1 30 X 1 Rest Int.dynamicbarbell. Erick has competed since 1992 in powerlifting and bodybuilding. cableWeight sequence: 70. Tuesday Order A B Exercise Trap barWeight sequence: 315. continue the routine for another two weeks. Recently (2007). As an athlete.
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