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Maintain Fitness For Hamstring Strains

Being injured doesn't have to mean training stops. This step by step aerobic fitness program is designed by Neal Reynolds, premiership football physiotherapist to be used when recovering from hamstring strains.

This is a progressive rehabilitation fitness program designed to be used in conjunction with a full hamstring strain rehab program consisting of healing, strengthening and stretching exercises. The athlete will only move onto the next stage if the current stage can comfortably be completed pain free. If at any time the exercises are painful then step back a stage or two.

Stage 1 - Acute stage

This is the painful stage immediately after injury. A couple of days rest isn't the end of the world but any longer and and arm bike is a handy way of raising the heart rate without putting any strain on the injured hamstring muscle. An arm bike or hand bike is a piece of equipment found in some gyms where the arms are used to pedal a stationary bike.

When daily activities such as walking up stairs, getting in and out of a car for example are pain free then you are ready to move onto the next stage of the hamstring rehab aerobic progressions.

Stage 2

Rowing machineUse a rowing machine if pain allows. Row at a steady pace and low resistance for 5 minutes upwards. A time of 20 minutes a day should be enough to help maintain fitness. You may find it easier to break this into 5 or 10 minutes intervals with a couple of minutes walk recovery to monitor the effect on the hamstring muscle.

Stage 3

  • Stationary cycling.

Stage 4

  • Arm only swimming.

Stage 5

  • Stepper.

Stage 6

  • Cross Trainer

Stage 7

  • Slow jogging – up to 2 x 10 minutes with a short rest in between.
  • Move on when the above is pain free and pain free the next day.

Stage 8

  • Slow jogging – up to 25mins continuous.
  • Move on when pain free and pain free the next day.

Stage 9

  • Half pace running.
  • 6 x 50m strides.
  • Move on when pain free and pain free the next day.

Stage 10

  • 100m shuttles at 30s (3 x 6mins) with short rest.
  • 100m shuttles at 27s (3 x 6mins) with short rest.
  • 100m shuttles at 24s (3 x 5 minutes) with longer rest.
  • 100m shuttles at 20s (3 x 4 mins) with longer rest as required.

Stage 11 – Final Stage

  • Sprints – 8 x 50m sprints (twice).
  • Ensure pain free during and after.