FOR ADVANCED EXERCISE INDIVIDUALS: WHAT ARE THE BEST STRENGTHenING EXERCISES to prevent hamstring injuries?
Hamstring injuries are a popular presentation at the Acland Street Physiotherapy due to gym/HIIT related and sporting injuries. Common clients I see who come in needing physio treatment for their hamstring injuries include those are who involved in HIIT (high intensity interval training) training (such as sprints), track and field athletes, soccer, football and rugby. If you would like to prevent hamstring injuries and are involved in a strength and conditioning exercise program, it is important to appreciate that different hamstring injuries require different exercises to ensure adequate loading during rehabilitation.
Physiotherapy rehabilitation exercises such as Romanian Deadlifts (RDLs) and hip extensions (which are hip dominant) have a higher recruitment of the long head of biceps (lateral "outer" hamstring) relative to medial "inner" hamstrings (semimembranous and semitendinosus). Exercises such as Nordics & Hamstring Curls (which are knee dominant) have a higher recruitment of medial hamstrings relative to long head of biceps.
So what are the practical implications of these hamstring specific exercise concepts?
ACL reconstruction patients with a hamstring graft (semitendinosus tendon) would benefit greatly from Nordics/Hamstring Curls, and hamstring strains to the long head of biceps which is commonly injuried during sprinting would more likely benefit from RDLs and Hip Extensions.
I would highly recommend that you should incorporate both types of hamstring strengthening (hip dominant and knee dominant exercises) in a general hamstring injury prevention program, However, if you are limited for time, it is it is best to see an experienced physiotherapist to get thoroughly assessed and prescribed a specific exercise program to ensure quality and safety.