GUEST BLOG! by Jo Pollard

https://jopollardphysio.com/

NOV 27, 2018


Then take a look at these 5 exercises and reasons why to add hamstring strengthening to your fitness programme

#ski fit #injury prevention #biomechanics #stronger #train smart

REASON 1: INJURY PREVENTION #ACL

Many of us (and rightly so) focus on exercises to our quads, as this is where we feel the burn when riding, especially in the pow right?  While this is correct and it is important to train these muscles, it’s also important to exercise the counteracting muscles; the hamstrings.  If our quads are too strong, or our hamstrings too weak, there is an imbalance.  This combined with fact that the hamy’s act like a brake system which means that if we fall, twist or land awkwardly, we are more likely to cause injury to our knee if the hamstrings can’t counteract this quad contraction or adequately play it’s stability role.  This is of huge importance in avoiding ACL injury and important to include in any programme post *ACL surgery/injury (*always seek physio advice for a specific plan)

REASON 2: BE MORE DYNAMIC AND EFFICIENT.

Our hamstrings contribute to stability, shock absorption and
better movement patterns. Connecting our hips and knee joints, they provide efficient
load absorption and power to be transmitted in our sports.  Our hamstrings and gluts work together to
provide strength and explosive movements, but also support what is known as our
posterior chain.  In skiing and
snowboarding this would relate to us being able to maintain good posture,
resist falling over and keeping up right in bumpy or unpredictable terrain.

REASON 3: WANT TO AVOID FALLING OVER AS MUCH?

Our hamstrings often work eccentrically, meaning they are
lengthening whilst also contracting. 
This is especially important whilst running or kicking, or in the skiing
environment to help control our movements, especially if we feel we are going
over the ‘handle bars’ – are hamstrings act like decelerators.

REASON 4: BE BALANCED – STRENGTH THROUGH RANGE

As well as being strong, our hamstrings need good length in
them to optimally provide the qualities discussed.  If the hamstrings are tight, they can pull on
your pelvis and cause biomechanical imbalances. 
You are at risk of this if you ski or snowboard for long periods, as you
are nearly always working with a bent knee and therefore at risk of the hamstrings
tightening and potentially straining.

REASON 5: BIOMECHANICS

Sorry ladies but this is aimed at us!  Women are more likely to have valgus collapse in their knees -meaning our physiology generally means our knee drops into adduction and internal rotation more easily (i.e. collapses in).  While skiing or snowboarding with our knees in a bent position our inside knee ligament (MCL) is not so effective at supporting our knees – our hamstrings (as well as other muscles of the knee), play a huge support and protection role to the knee ligaments.

There are of course many exercises, but give these 5 a go to get your hamstrings and gluts firing up…..

BRIDGE; start – spine neutral, core activated

BRIDGE; finish:  squeeze through your gluts to form a stable platform.  Rest on the heels for increased hamstring bias

ADVANCED OPTIONS; single leg +/- weight

RUSSIAN DEADLIFT; keep the knees relatively straight, but soft.  Hinge from the hips with chosen weight (barbell, kettle bell or a backpack filled up!).  Squeeze through the gluts and core to stand back upright

GYM BALL HAMSTRING CURLS; start-core engaged, hips off the floor maintaining a neutral pelvis, feet resting on the ball 

GYM BALL HAMSTRING CURLS; finish – maintaining the neutral pelvis use your feet to slide the ball away.  Repeat

REVERSE GLIDERS; start – find a slidy surface and place a tissue or towel under 1 foot

REVERSE GLIDERS; finish – slide the tissue backwards into a lunge.  Keep hips forwards and ensure front knee doesn’t go over front ankle (NB focus on feeling the hamstrings firing in the front stable leg)

RUNNERS REACH; start – core engaged standing tall on one foot, the other leg at 90 degrees

RUNNERS REACH; finish – reach forwards and out, keeping front knee soft and pelvis aligned towards the floor.  Drive through the gluts and hamstrings back to the start position

LANDING CONTROL; start on a step (stairs or the yellow pages)!

LANDING CONTROL; finish – drop and stick.  Try and land soft.  The aim is to control your knee – do not let it track inwards!
For power this exercise it can be progressed by landing and exploding straight up into a single leg hop

Start with low reps and sets i.e 4-6 reps x 3 sets, and build up as you gain strength and confidence.  As with any exercise it is important to fully warm up and seek further advice if you are unsure of any of the exercises.  Feel free to get in touch for advice and more ways you can prepare yourself for your sport or post injury programmes

ByJoanne Pollard

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