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PT for Mountain Runners - Hamstring Tendinopathy

Andrew Fast shares his hamstring bullet-proofing routine for mountain runners

Bullet-proof your hamstrings with this routine from La Sportiva mountain runner and DPT Andrew Fast...

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Last year, about four months before a race I had been training hard for, I started to have hamstring pain during and after hard workouts. It was a dull ache that became sharp right where the hamstring attaches to the tailbone. I followed the progression described below and shown in the video, pain slowly resolved, and I went on to have a strong race.  My hope is that a person who is experiencing similar symptoms or has a known proximal hamstring tendinopathy can utilize this routine to get healthy.



Heel Dig Bridge (Shown in video at 0:45 second) 

•Start laying on your back; knees bent at 90 degrees.

•Dig in with heels and elevate toes.

•Squeeze buttock and raise hips, keeping tension in hamstrings via heel dig.

•Hold for a 30-60 seconds, then lower. It is importnat to remain pain free throughout the duration of the exercise.

•Repeat for 3 repetitions, 1-2 times per day.


If the above is pain free: Increase distance of heels to buttock; straighten your legs a bit; complete the Heel Dig Bridge, now with heels further out. For an increased challenge, try with one leg raised at a 45-degree angle. 


Heel Dig Walk Out

•Start laying on your back; knees bent at 90 degrees

•Dig in with heels and elevate toes.

•Squeeze buttock and raise hips, keeping tension in hamstrings via heel dig.

•Keeping hips level walk heels out away from you; no need to go super low here.

•Return to the starting position. Lower. Repeat.

•3 rounds of 15 repetitions


Eccentric Hamstring Slide (shown in video at 1:45)

•Starting in bridge position with sliders under heels, lift hips up in the air.

•Slowly lower body towards ground by sliding heels away from your body.

•Keeping glutes on the ground, bring heels back to starting position

•Repeat: 3 sets of 15 repetitions.


Nordic Curl: The goal of this exercise is to control your descent towards the ground by engaging the glutes, core, and hamstrings. 

•Use a rack/chair or something sturdy and stable to brace feet.

•Begin by kneeling with feet braced under chair or prop. You may use a partner to hold your feet/legs as well if available.

•Come down to the comfortable depth, push back up and repeat.

•3 rounds of 15 repetitions


Single-leg Deadlift

•While standing on one leg, bend forward while reaching toward outside of opposite foot.

•Spine should stay long, with a slight bend in stance leg.

•Touching the ground as flexibility allows

•Extend non-stance leg behind you.

•Return to the original position.

•3 rounds of 15 repetitions

As mentioned in the video, avoid the temptation to over-stretch. Tensile strength through isometrics (heel digs), progressing through movement under load (heel dig walk outs, slider lower, nordic curl), then into run specific strengthening (single leg deadlift). Making multi-angle lunges and single leg deadlifts part of a dynamic warm up before running is good for almost everybody, but if you’re prone to hamstring strains, don’t skip it.   

Photos and Video: © Tom Bear 

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La Sportiva Mountain Running Athlete Andrew Fast Andrew Fast is a member of the La Sportiva Mountain Running® Team.

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7/9/2018 12:48 PM
Posted in Running Hiking By Andrew Fast

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