This will sound a little like “What came first? The chicken or the egg?” But, it’s reality:
How do you avoid a hamstring injury? Don’t let yourself get a hamstring injury in the first place.
Riiiiight. That’s helpful, I’m sure. As it turns out the most significant risk factor for hamstring injury is a previous hamstring injury. In fact, this population is roughly twice as likely to tweak that muscle group.
Another important determining risk factor is having a hamstring : quadriceps strength ratio of <0.6.
So, to avoid that first hamstring injury, make sure you are addressing two major goals for the hammies:
1. Muscle health – sounds easier than it is… to maintain the health of the hamstrings, you will need to make sure the whole “kinetic chain” is in proper working order. Think SMR techniques (foam rolling), static stretching, whole body mobilizations, etc.
2. Muscle strength – this is the easy part! Squat, deadlift, RDL, GHR, split squat & lunge variations, etc, etc, etc.
As a side note, a female athlete I’ve been working with pulled a 315lb deadlift yesterday at a body weight of 135lbs (without a belt). She wasn’t really close to failure, but I shut her down simply because this was about 100lbs over her previous highest DL.
I mention her case because that deadlift represents 2.25 x her bodyweight and this is a huge indicator (for me) on prediction of injury… or in her case, lack of. She plays basketball and is essentially bulletproof. She doesn’t “do” injuries. She also has a 29″ standing vertical jump and at 5’6″ is only about an inch away from grabbing and hanging on a basketball rim!
Stay strong and you’ll stay healthly!