If, like a lot of my clients, you are an active person and you partake in sports that involve running then the chances are you have experienced a Hamstring injury of some kind at some point. It might be a spasm, a minor strain or a grade 3 tear. Hamstring injuries are pretty devastating for running sports so what can you do to reduce your risk of experiencing one? This blog will set out to look at some of the evidence available regarding stretching and foam rolling and asks whether they are effective. Then we take a look at some of the evidence on strength training and finally, give an evidence-based strategy for reducing your chances of getting a Hamstring injury so that you can get the most out of your sporting activities.
We hear all the time about the importance of exercise in a healthy lifestyle. But there are so many different exercises and so many training styles how do you know what the best exercises are? This will be informed by a number of factors; your health history, your activity levels, your weight, your personal interests, your sport, your age, etc. Here I intend to give you a convincing argument for three exercises (and variations) that EVERYONE should include in their healthy lifestyle regardless of goal. But before I give you the exercises, let me establish some context.
If you have followed me for a while now you'll be well aware that I believe everyone should be doing some kind of resistance training on a regular basis. If you are unsure why, read this blog I wrote a while back (HERE). Not only do I believe it (and let me be clear that is is not a personal opinion based on emotion, it's an evidence-informed opinion) but just recently the the UK Health Authority declared that everyone should do at least two muscle strengthening workouts per week.
High intensity training or HIT, often referred to as HIIT which actually stands for High Intensity Interval Training has been presented as some kind of magic bullet for fat loss in recent years. I mean, I was even taught this when I first did my level 3 personal trainer diploma. The main reason we are told that HIIT burns more fat than other forms of exercise is because of something called Excess Post-Exercise Oxygen Consumption or EPOC for short. This is often referred to in more simple terms as ‘the afterburn effect’. The theory being that after a bout of very high intensity exercise you burn more Calories while you recover. Some sourced have claimed that you could burn an extra 1,000kcals over 24-hours. This is completely false. Let me explain more.
Endurance athletes tend not to do much in the way of strength training, preferring instead to do more of what they enjoy doing the most. That’s fair enough but there are some very specific and relevant adaptations to concurrent strength training for endurance athletes that really ought not to be ignored.