In my last blog post, I talked about the most common soccer injuries, and how I use a suspension system from Norway to help my clients overcome injury and get back to an active life by rebalancing their muscles. Today I'm going to talk specifically about how I apply suspension exercises to strengthen the hamstring, since this group of muscles (Semitendinosus, Semimembranosus, and Biceps Femoris) is so difficult and painful to heal from when injured.
It is common for soccer players to strain, pull or even tear their hamstring. While it might seem like these muscle injuries occur insidiously as just bad luck for the athlete, they are often a sign of underlying problems at the hips, pelvis and spine. Let me explain.
The human body innately protects the joints around our vital organs by stiffening up muscles (hamstrings, calves, etc.) further down the chain. These larger muscles serve as sort of like a natural crutch, until they simply can't take it anymore and become susceptible to injury. It is my job as a physical therapist to find and fix these hidden muscle imbalances.
Nordic exercises are ideal for both strengthening the hamstring and restabilizing the hips, pelvis and spine. In particular, the Nordic hamstring curl is one of the most effective and well known exercises. However, it is typically too challenging and painful for those who are recovering from a hamstring injury. That's where the Redcord suspension system comes in.
I use slings and bungee cords to assist my clients through each exercise. Similar to floating in a pool, this “zero-gravity” environment makes it possible to do hamstring exercises safely and effectively, even if you are rehabbing a hamstring injury or have never tried these exercises before.
In the videos below, I am demonstrating 4 variations of the hamstring curl. The sling around my hips (or torso) provides "bungee" assistance, so that I can precisely control the motion without interference of pain.
I have seen firsthand the benefits of Nordic exercises to:
- Strengthen the hamstrings
- Restore underlying joint stability
- Increase sprint speed
- Increase agility
- Improve balance
- Improve hamstring flexibility
If you are a soccer player and new to the Nordic hamstring curl, I highly recommend beginning on the Redcord suspension system before implementing it into your daily strengthening routine. Contact us at Activcore Druid Hills to get set up with someone who can show you the ropes (literally!).
Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are based on the opinion of the author, unless otherwise noted, and should not be taken as personal medical advice. The information provided is intended to help readers make their own informed health and wellness decisions.