As a dedicated Fitness Professional, and long-time, enthusiastic sports and training student/practitioner, it is an on-going mystery as to why so many Hamstring injuries still remain as such a prevailing problem. As has been indicated previously in these blogs, strictly applied progressive strength, range and motion loads to the muscles and structures along the posterior chain (of which Hamstrings are an integral component) will produce inherent strength adaptations in this vitally important muscular/structural sequence.
It is of increasing concern, that the greatest emphasis in this area of gross sports related weakness seems to be more about injury treatment and rehabilitation than it is about prevention. (If this is not the case, current statistics and perceptions bely any such assertion). Modern training methods recognise the principal areas of note, but do not seem to apply systemic practices to alleviate/protect against these all too common interruptions to athletes in the performance of their chosen sports.
While it is conceded that there is no absolute guarantee against even one kind of soft tissue injury, absolute prevention is not the only focal area to be considered, as even if these injuries do occur, if relevant training adaptations have been of any benefit at all, then the period required to return to athletic performance should be diminished. That is to say, if a hamstring injury in earlier sporting eras kept an athlete out for a period of three to four weeks, then in this more knowledgeable time, training/medical understanding should be limiting this to one to two weeks. However, this is most definitely not the case, as clearly there has been no progress in this area. It seems that there are multiple Hamstring injuries to athletes on a weekly basis, not only in fierce competitive situations, but also on the training track. Once again, a clear indication that not only is not enough being done on the posterior chain, but it is not consistent enough, and does not carry with it correctly applied loads to the relevant inclusions along this vulnerable region. Furthermore, this responsibility lies within the scope of the strength & conditioning experts, as once the injury has occurred, medical/rehab personnel are powerless in limiting the extent of damage, and the recovery timeframe.
Notwithstanding all that has been said earlier in this piece, the most common error in preparing the posterior chain, is all too often a narrowly constructed and single minded specificity approach towards the Hamstrings, and even the posterior chain in isolation to other key physiological/anatomical factors. Due to the enormous reciprocal role of Hamstrings and the Lumbar spine, and by extension the co-operative intrinsic relationship of deep spinal inclusions and Transverse abdominis, essential Hamstring strength & conditioning is not complete without appropriate inclusion of primary, secondary and peripheral core adaptations, and how each individual athlete is able to respond and adapt to recently conceived multi-directional, tri-planar proprioceptive strength and fitness innovations.
There is, and has always been a deep-rooted reliance for exercise/training hopefuls to firstly seek-out the drive, or motivation to exercise. An objective that has resulted in motivation becoming a common and much debated topic. Many try to access this "Holy Grail" through the implementation of various strategies, which due to characteristics unique to each individual, although regrettable, are nonetheless intrinsically flawed.
a) Exercise novices, and even some claiming to be regulars, will often seek inspiration/motivation from their sporting heroes, or from one success story or another they have seen on television or read about in some glossy magazine. At best this is a short-term remedy, and is quite honestly a nonsense. Your strength and fitness training aspirations should not/must not hinge on the journeys and successes of others, especially since you cannot be aware of the full reality of that success.
b) It is not unusual for those aspiring to take on regular exercise to try and gain their motivation by concentrating their attention totally on what it is they hope to achieve. While setting goals can be quite useful, in many instances, the goals set are unrealistic in terms of the time and effort allocated for them to be realised. The best and most consistent strength and fitness training participants are those who are committed
to the entire training process, and who simply allow the desired adaptations to flow as a result.
c) Other exercise newcomers will recruit a friend with whom to exercise, in the hope this will provide them with the motivation they require. Although this is an often recommended plan, because each party is relying on the other to deliver the drive, something which can only be successfully generated from within each individual, and for that individual's benefit alone, this scheme is also unreliable. Experience has shown, when
predictably one falls by the wayside, the other soon follows.
Based on the above examples of "shifting responsibility", and also on the numbers who have attained both meaningful and long lasting results from motivation alone, it is clear motivation is widely overrated, and a commodity destined to deliver failure. Motivation is a very fickle and shallow impulse. You can never be sure you will have it when you need it, let alone when you want it.
Discipline is the only true initiator to exercise, and the definitive means to "getting the job done". It is the most effective way to establish that vital exercise pattern. The desire and application to succeed comes from within: You may not like it, it may be an outright, soul-destroying struggle, and it may be necessary to include some training modifications, but when you have finished, you will have actually done something. Unlike the vast majority of the population who merely dream of having "what it takes" to take-up and master the exercise challenge.
DISCIPLINE IS SINGULARLY THE BEST WAY TO ACHIEVE REAL RESULTS,
AND THE ULTIMATE PATH TO CONTINUED MOTIVATION!