When it comes to sports activities and even our daily ones, hamstring injuries are all too common. From professional athletes pushing way past their limits to people doing low-impact activities, it is safe to say that none of us are immune. Good news is, even if you do experience this issue, there are ways that can help you resolve it to hopefully get better soon. In this post, we share with you some best isometric hamstring exercises and how to perform them correctly.
Understanding More About Hamstrings
Knowing how the hamstrings are built and what they do is important for choosing the best ismoteric exercises for your specific hamstring injury. One of the most common muscle groups in the lower body to get injured is the hamstrings, which are a group of three muscles at the back of the leg.
The ischial tuberosity is where these muscles start at the base of the hip. They run through the back of the thigh and connect to each side of the knee joint. The Biceps Femoris is on the outside of the thigh, and it shares a muscle with the Semitendinosus at its proximal end. A muscle called Biceps Femoris connects to the outside of the knee. Another muscle called Semitendinosus connects to the inside of the knee and converges more medially. The third muscle, Semimembranosus, connects to the inside of the knee as well.
When it comes to function, the Adductor Magnus is often called the “4th Hamstring” because it helps extend the hip, which is especially helpful when working out the legs more medially.
To make things easier to understand, the hamstrings do two main things: they extend the hip and bend the knee. The hamstrings are a group of muscles that work together in two joints. They do concentric, eccentric, or isometric actions across the hip and knee joints based on the stage of the sprint cycle. These quick, changing movements can hurt your hamstrings and have a significant impact on the best workouts you can do for recovery and rehabilitation.
What Is A Hamstring Injury?
A hamstring injury occurs when the tendons or large muscles at the back of your thigh experience a strain or tear. This type of injury is quite common among athletes and can vary in severity. There are three grades of isometric hamstring exercises injury:
- Grade 1: This is a mild muscle pull or strain.
- Grade 2: It involves a partial muscle tear.
- Grade 3: This is a complete muscle tear.
The time needed for recovery depends on how severe the injury is. Healing from a minor muscle pull or strain (grade 1) might only take a few days. On the other hand, recovering from a muscle tear (grade 2 or 3) could take weeks or even months. The more severe the injury, the longer the recovery time.
If you think hamstring injuries just find victims in the world of sport and fitness, you are mistaken because, according a study published online in May 2016, a large group of adults also hurt their hamstrings doing low-impact activities.
When it comes to hamstring injuries, there are common mistakes that people often make. These include not knowing how to properly relieve pain and underestimating when a patient is ready for more intense exercises. It then becomes quite important to reevaluate the methods in order to have a better chance of successfully rehabilitating the injury.
Importance Of Isometric Exercises For High Hamstring Injury
When trying to heal from a high hamstring injury, there are a lot of options. Even though there are many exercises to choose from, isometric hamstring exercises are the best place to start. You may ask why. Let’s get into the details of isometric hamstring exercises.
The Power of Isometric Hamstring Exercises:
Isometric exercises for high hamstring injuries are a game-changer for you. Unlike other rehab exercises, isometrics uniquely apply load and tension to your hamstring muscles without causing excessive shortening or contraction, nor do they involve much joint movement.
Controlled Engagement for Your Active Healing:
In the early stages of your high hamstring injury, your primary goal is to engage the muscles without overdoing yourself or the healing process. This is where isometric exercises come in. They allow you to actively involve your muscles while maintaining control over the tension applied. This strategic approach helps you prevent unnecessary strain on your actively healing hamstring muscle.
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Isometric Hamstring Exercises For You
In the path towards healing your hamstring injury, precision is key. Isometric workouts are a focused and controlled way to get your hamstrings stronger and more flexible again. Let’s get into the details of the Isometric Hamstring Exercises that are commonly suggested, how to do them, and the most important things you need to do to make sure your recovery goes smoothly.
During rehabilitating your hamstring injury, precision matters. Isometric hamstring exercises offer a focused and controlled approach to rebuilding strength and flexibility in your hamstrings. Let’s dive into the specifics of recommended exercises, their technique, and essential precautions to ensure a smooth recovery.
1. Isometric Leg Curl WITHOUT a Theraband
Why It Works: It targets the hamstrings without excessive joint movement and also builds isometric strength in a controlled setting.
How To Do It:
- Start by lying on your stomach, and your legs extended.
- Lift one leg towards the ceiling and make sure that it is straight.
- Hold the raised position for a set duration without further movement.
- Slowly lower the leg back to the starting position.
Precautions: Make sure that you start with a comfortable duration, gradually increasing over time. Also, keep proper body alignment to avoid any unnecessary strain.
2. Isometric Leg Curl WITH a Theraband
Why It Works: It provides resistance to an added challenge and improves isometric strength while maintaining control.
How To Do It:
- Attach a theraband to a stable anchor point.
- Lie on your stomach, securing the theraband around your ankle.
- Curl your leg towards your buttocks against the resistance of the band.
- Hold the contracted position for a set duration.
Precautions: Choose an appropriate theraband resistance level and control the movement to avoid any sudden jerks.
3. Isometric Bridges with 0 Degrees of Hip Flexion
Why It Works: It engages hamstrings in a weight-bearing isometric position and strengthens the posterior chain without straining the hips.
How To Do It:
- Lie on your back with both your knees bent and feet flat on the ground.
- Lift your hips towards the ceiling, creating a straight line from shoulders to knees.
- Hold the bridge position without any movement.
Precautions: You can gradually increase hold duration over sessions and maintain a stable, aligned spine throughout.
4. Isometric Single Leg Bridges with 0 Degrees of Hip Flexion
Why It Works: It focuses on unilateral hamstring engagement and challenges balance and stability.
How To Do It:
- Similar to the exercise mentioned earlier but performed on one leg.
- Lift one leg off the ground while maintaining the bridge position.
- Hold the single-leg bridge without any movement.
Precautions: Start with brief holds, progressing as strength improves, and ensure equal weight distribution between the supporting and lifted leg.
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5. Isometric Straight Leg Pull Down
Why It Works: It isolates the hamstrings with a straight leg position and improves flexibility and isometric strength.
How To Do It:
- Sit on the floor with your legs extended straight.
- Loop a resistance band around a fixed point and your foot.
- Pull your toes towards your body against the band resistance.
- Hold the contracted position.
Precautions: Adjust the band tension based on comfort and capability and control the pull so that you can avoid overstretching.
Final Thoughts On Isometric Hamstring Exercises
- Many people, from athletes to those who do low-impact exercises, hurt their hamstrings.
- Anatomy of the Hamstrings: The hamstrings are made up of three muscles that help move the hips and knees.
- Types of Hamstring Injuries: Recovery times vary based on how mild to serious the injury is (Grade 1 to Grade 3).
- Isometric exercises are important because they apply controlled force without excessive joint movement.
- Leg Curl WITHOUT a Theraband: This exercise works your legs by letting you move slowly.
- When you do a leg curl WITH a Theraband, you add force to make it more difficult.
- Isometric Bridges: Puts your legs to work while you bear weight.
- Single Leg Bridges: These bridges focus on one side of the body and make you work on your footing.
- Straight Leg Pull Down: Works your hamstrings and makes you stronger and more flexible.
Our advice is that you talk to your doctor, a physiotherapist or a professional fitness trainer or take some online zoom classes if you wish to start with isometric hamstring exercises after your injury. Better safe than sorry, right?