9 Exercise Progressions After a Hamstring Tear
After understanding the risk factors of hamstring injuries and following the rehab principles, it is time to incorporate the most effective hamstring exercises into your therapy. The following exercise images can be found here and as part of the L-protocol for hamstring tears.
Lying on your back, gently flex and extend your leg without pushing into pain. This exercises help mobilize the sciatic nerve and serves to maintain hamstring range of motion (ROM). It is an appropriate exercise to perform during the acute stage following injury.
2. Sprinter Eccentric Leg Curl
This is a great open kinetic chain exercise to use specific with runners, sprinters, or with any athlete that needs these skills in their sport. This exercises helps eccentrically strengthen the hamstrings during the swing phase, at the point where a hamstring injury is common.
3. Single-leg Romanian Deadlift (Divers)
A great exercise to work on eccentric hamstring control, single-leg balance and posterior chain activation. To perform it properly, ensure that you reach posteriorly with the back leg to really load the hamstrings on the stance leg. Keep a slight bend in your knee and avoid rotating or “opening” the hip by keeping your pelvis parallel to the floor at the bottom position.
4. Slide-board Leg Curl
Lying on your back with your feet on a slideboard or exercise ball, squeeze your glutes and keep your hips high as you flex and extend your knees. Focus on the eccentric portion of the exercise by using a 5:1 ratio of knee extension:flexion. If the concentric portion is too difficult, lower your hips to the ground during the knee flexion phase of the exercise.
Hold onto a table or railing for support. Slowly lower yourself into a splits position, focusing on the front leg to control your descent. Use your arms to bring your body back to the starting position. This is an aggressive exercise and should be done for fewer repetitions.
6. Hamstring Catapult
Another great open kinetic chain exercise that is great for athletes such as gymnasts, dancers and cheerleaders. This exercise stresses eccentric control over a greater range of hip motion needed during these sports.
7. Barbell Leg Curl
This version is a progression of the glute bridge and barbell hip thrust. It is performed through a greater range of motion, making it an ideal progression in the later stages of rehab before transitioning into sport specific drills.
8. Loaded Lunge Box Drop
As you begin to progress towards more sport specific and plyometric drills, this hamstring exercise is great as it begins to the eccentrically load the hamstrings during faster movements.
9. Nordic Hamstring Curls
The last exercise may not be very sport specific, but it requires a high degree of hamstring strength and control to perform. The Nordic curl is one of the more difficult hamstring exercises, along with its variations such as the Razor Curl.