Improving Hamstring Strength

Written by Roger White on . Posted in Blog

Hamstring strength is important for all runners.  Sprinters are the most likely to pull/tear a hamstring during a maximal speed run.  Distance runners rarely run at their absolute maximum, but more likely their maximum for a given distance in some type of speed work.  It is possible to get overuse hamstring strains, but probably more important is the impact hamstring strength plays on your posture.

The hamstring group is a knee flexor (bends the knee back) and a hip extensor (extends the leg backwards).  This muscle group controls pelvic alignment.  Too much pull from the hamstrings can cause a tilt in the pelvis and can alter your posture which may lead to alignment issues and eventually injury.

I have found this to be a challenging exercise that requires only body weight and some space.  Don't be fooled, it is quite challenging!  The focus is the maintain a straight back and fully locked hips (pressed upwards) to maintain a straight line from ankle to neck.  Perform 10 repetitions on each leg and up to 3 sets on each leg.  Stop the set if form breaks and you are no longer able to maintain straight posture.030713164042 030713164107

IT Band Self Massage Solution

Written by Roger White on . Posted in Blog

IT Band Foam RollFor those who log many miles or are just really active, you are bound to have really tight IT Bands.  Eventually, if you let them get tight enough, you may have knee pain, hip flexor issues, and changed movement of the leg during running and other activities.  Tightness may come from the lateral (outside) quadriceps, or from the lateral hamstrings, or both.

I find great success in loosening up IT Bands within one session, and to the client, a new sense of mobility and looseness.  For those who can't get into to see me, using a foam roller or a PVC pipe from the hardware store is a way to provide some relief before and after workouts.

Perform the exercise as shown, rocking back and forth over the tight tissue.  For many, this might be very uncomfortable at first, but when the tissue loosens, you will feel nothing.  I have found it might take 5-10 days of foam rolling to show improvement in IT band tightness.

How to fix IT Band Syndrome

Written by Roger White on . Posted in Blog

IT Band syndrome  is a painful condition many runners may face during their training.  It can be so bad, runners are faced with mandatory complete rest.  Massage has been shown to speed up the recovery process and eliminate the pain altogether.

IT Band pain is common in athletes, often resulting in pain on the outside of the knee.   Often, the pain is so bad runners are forced to take time off and do nothing.  The IT band begins in the hip as the tensor fascia latae muscle (hip flexor)  and connects at three different muscles: the gluteus medius, gluteus minimus, and vastus lateralis. The muscle becomes a fibrous band of tissue as it progresses down the thigh, then crosses the knee joint, and inserts along the lateral (outside) portion of the patella (knee cap) and into the tibia (shin) bone on a bump known as Gerdy's Tubercle.

If you begin experiencing pain on the outside of the knee, see if the IT Band is tight and could be the reason for the pain.ITB

 

 

Solutions for shin splints

Written by Roger White on . Posted in Blog

shin-splints

Shin splints aren't really a single medical condition. Instead, they're just a symptom of an underlying problem. They might be caused by irritated and swollen muscles, often caused by overuse.  Stress fractures, which are tiny, hairline breaks in the lower leg bones may also occur.  Overpronation or ''flat feet" -- when the impact of a step causes the arch of your foot to collapse causes stretching of the muscles and tendons.  Runners might also get shin splints after increasing workout intensity, or changing the surface they run on -- like shifting from a dirt path to asphalt.

What Do Shin Splints Feel Like?

Shin splints cause an aching pain in the front of the lower leg. Some people feel it only during exercise; others, when they've stopped exercising. Othertimes, the pain is constant.  Depending on the exact cause, the pain may be located along either side of the shinbone or in the muscles. The area may be painful to the touch. Swollen muscles can sometimes irritate the nerves in the feet, causing them to feel weak or numb

Typical treatment often includes a combination of ice, rest, pain relievers, and strengthening exercises.   In my experience performing  massage on runners, I have found many cases can be treated through massage in a few sessions for those with serious pain levels.  Massage also appears to help if the pain is found on the lower inside of the shin area (versus the front, outside shin area).  If shin pain is found in only one leg, there is a chance there is a muscle imbalance of strength and flexibility somewhere else in the body.

 

When working this area, I spend a lot of time on the calf and foot muscles.  Once the muscle has been treated, focus on running technique should also help keep shin pain away and keep you on the road logging miles!

Runners Massage Studio - 2013