CESSports Medicine

The Hurt Hammy

Are you suffering from chronic hamstring strains or have a client who is consistently hampered by hamstring injuries? The problem might not be the hamstring; the problem might be the psoas and the glute maximus. Many individuals suffer from chronic tightness of the psoas muscle. This may be due to repetitive movement, static postures and or improper training. A chronically tight psoas will cause altered reciprocal inhibition of its functional antagonist, the gluteus maximus. What that means is the overactive psoas muscle is telling the nervous system to turn off neural drive to the gluteus maximus. Now the glute max is turned off and not firing effectively.

With the glute now turned off with altered reciprocal inhibition, a muscle must make up for the loss of function. The muscle that makes up for that function in this case is the hamstring. Now the hamstring is asked to perform its task and perform much of the glutes work. This is called synergistic dominance.

In addition to this muscle imbalance the over active psoas and underactive glute will likely cause an anterior pelvic tilt. Because of the hamstring attachment to the ischial tuberosity on inferior posterior portion of the pelvis an anterior pelvic tilt will cause the hamstring to be on stretch. Now we have a muscle be asked to perform more than one job in a suboptimal position. This leads to hamstring strains.

If you, your client, or your patient suffers from chronic hamstring strains look at the psoas and gluteus maximus. Utilizing CEx protocols apply self-myofascial release and static stretching to inhibit and lengthen the psoas, followed by activation of the gluteus maximus muscle. Complete the activity with an integrated movement exercise such as a ball squat to overhead press. Perform these exercises most days of the week and you will likely see reduction in hamstring strains.

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The Author

Joshua J Stone, MA, ATC, NASM-CPT, CES, PES

Joshua J Stone, MA, ATC, NASM-CPT, CES, PES

Josh is an experienced practitioner, author, and editor who has worked in fields of sports medicine, sports conditioning, and fitness for nearly 20 years. Josh holds a BS in Movement Studies Exercise Science from East Stroudsburg University and an MA in Kinesiology from San Jose State University. Josh is also Certified Athletic Trainer (ATC), Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) and has earned many advanced specializations with NASM.
As a member of the NASM family, we were saddened to hear of Joshua’s passing in 2019 to lung cancer. To honor Joshua’s strength and to fund lung cancer research, donations can be made at www.supportalcf.org/egfr-resisters/StoneStrong.

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