Coaching, jumps, sprints & more
Everything about jumping and sprinting and how to improve your performance
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In a forthcoming issue of Athletics Weekly one of the UK's top physics - and one I have worked with - Stuart Butler writes about hamstrings and how to rehab them after injury, but more importantly prevent them from becoming injured in the first place. He provides 5 take home messages in this respect. Here's one - do take a look at AW for more on this subject and also check out the website for lots of great athletics content. As you may know, I pull together the Performance section.
I do include lots of hamstring pre-conditioning exercises in my training and touch-wood we've not had a hamstring strain for a long time... hope I've not jinxed it!
An exercise that Stuart recommends is the Nordic Hamstring Exercise... if you do this move, make sure you do so when you are fresh and build up the intensity and the strength required over time (don't sprint afterwards). The NHI requires load to be controlled as the hamstrings elongate eccentrically. Eccentric muscular actions have been identified as being crucial when combatting hamstring strain injuries.
Run Fast (often)
"The best training for running fast is running fast! But this also creates that tightrope which coaches and athletes must walk, and where the “art” of coaching comes into its own, together with systematic training planning. You need to listen to the athlete and consider all that is going on in their life - for example, their levels of fatigue and everyday stress, as these can all impinge on propensity for injury.
I’m a big fan of athletes reaching top speed but trying to minimise the effort required to get there; many hamstring injuries occur in the last third of the race, and maybe too much time is spent focussing on acceleration and not top speed running? There is some really interesting kinematic (forces) data showing an athlete’s top speed of 34kph and therefore being subject to 100% force and then a small drop in speed to 30kph reducing the reading to 77%. This implies that we really do need to reach top speed in training in order to best bullet-proof hamstrings. We must also consider that progression needs to be gentle and that a high-speed “spike” in training loading could be problematic." Stuart Butler