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Fitness/Injury/ bike conditioning Question

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 
Earlier this week got a partial tear in the muscle in the back of my thigh. Saw MD and thats what she said. Can feel a nice golf ball sized divot in back of leg.

Got it doing sprints at a rugby practice. About 5 feet away from the end of my 3rd sprint of the drill, relay type thing, something in my leg went sprong. And yes I was pretty warmed upped and stretched- 20 minute bike ride to get there, some stretching, some running stretching.. drill .. sprong.

My question is did I set myself up for this injury by just doing bike riding. Been doing 25km a day 5 days a week with a climb of about 800 vert ft in about an hour without too much of a head wind. Just started playing rugby again a week ago so really nothing in the way of running at all. Also haven't used any clips on my pedals so my leg doesn't work on the up stroke. So is it possible by building up certain muscles by biking when I went all out in a sprint it over taxed the muscle on the back of my thigh and hence suffered a tear. MD seems to think its pausible. I go to physio tomorrow.
post #2 of 10


have had similar situation, caused by just riding. you over-develop quad strength while causing imbalance between hamstrings and quads. (2 to 1 in favor of quads is a decent ratio.) i made a point of mixing in the occassional jog but also, really, hit the hams in the weightroom. use the hamstring curl machine. i make a point of doing this after every ride but STILL get tight hams. (some of that is age and sometimes not replenishing fluids, which'll lead to tightness and leave you prone to tears, strains.)
at this point, though, if it's a tear, STOP and see someone and get back into it slow. hams take a LOOOOOOONG time to fully heal. REALLY. do NOT force the issue. you'll regret it. i've been there.

go easy, keep the hammies strong. (kinda like the balancing act between your abs and lower back muscles. gets tricky if you're older and very active. must tend to these nuances of the body.)

i re-read your post. no clips? no way to engage the hamstrings fully - that full revolution, up and down, is crucial - w/o them, IMHO. when you get back on the bike, DO make a point of really feeling the hams at work when you're "coming up." your hams will thank you and you'll ride much more powerfully.

good luck.

did i say hams can take a LOOOOOOOOOONG time to heal? <FONT size="1">

[This message has been edited by ryan (edited June 28, 2001).]</FONT>
post #3 of 10
Also, after you've healed, you might want to try yoga...good for working all muscle groups and great for deep stretching.

post #4 of 10
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the great reply Ryan. I thought that might be the problem or at least part of it. I really should get so clips on my pedals so I use all of my leg. Any exercises at home I can do to build up the hamstrings?
Actually after my sprong I tried to stretch it out and get back into the practice. Is 10 minutes looong enough. LOL
post #5 of 10

one, i have chronically tight hammies(hereafter referred to as Hamlets). i stretch 'em all the time. and could still use more. it's easy to get lazy about it but you'll eventually pay, 'specially if you're active. i find that if you - i hope you can "see" this - move the foot from right to left mid-stretch(think toes going from 9 to 3 on a clock) you'll feel different parts of the hamlets being stretched. some people are tight higher up, near the butt, others more mid-ham. play with this; see where you feel the stretch. if you feel a twinge or uncomfortable pull in the knee, ease off.

actually, about all that'll really get my "stuff" now is deep-tissue massage, which gets me feeling like i have new legs.

as far as working them...

if you can somehow attach a stretchable cord to something stable, with one end secured to your ankle, and pull the cord so that you're bringing your achilles toward your butt, that's better'n nothing. a weak muscle is prone to tightening up. the opposing(quads) muscles will overpower them. it's ALMOST kinda like an atrophying effect.

also, don't suppose that only a totally extended leg (heel against the butt is a CONTRACTION movement) is the ideal stretch. you can hit the hamstrings without that. again, pay attention to the feel. a stretch is a stretch; you should feel tightness, not PAIN.

when i used to do a lot of distance running, pre-bike days, i had the opposite problem. strong hams, weaker quads.

in my opinion, you've GOT TO attach the feet to the pedals. like bindings and skis. without the attachment, one, there's an "empty spot" in the pedal stroke, and you'll overdo the quads at the expense of the hams.

the rugby: short bursts of speed along with constant motion really work the legs. stretch and a jacuzzi or hot bath, and fluid fluid fluid.
post #6 of 10
The absolute best exercise for hamstrings is one you can do at home if you get a stability ball. Unfortunately, it is EXTREMELY intense, and you will need to let the injury heal a bit before trying it.
BTW, I was pleased to discover that this exercise was also recommended for ski conditioning by Chip Richards, member of the U.S. Freestyling Ski Team.

Lie on your back, placing your heels on a stability ball. Separate your feet at about pelvic width apart. Feet and knees should be parallel. Contract your abdominal muscles so that your back muscles are supported.
S_L_O_W_L_Y lift each part of your spine off the floor, vertabra by vertabra, until you form a bridge, with most of you weight on your shoulders. Then.... Straighten both legs. Keep your legs straight, and descend from the bridge, one vertabra at a time. Try to feel as if you are connecting your abdominals to your spine.

Repeat the bridge, keeping the legs straight. When you get to the top, bend your knees. Descend with your knees bent. Don't try this until you have the ok from your PT. You will probably need to rest the muscle for awhile.
Good Luck!

Be Braver in your body, or your luck will leave you. DH Lawrence
post #7 of 10
Thread Starter 
How well would a wobble board work for strengthening and stretching the hamstrings? see www.fitter1.com

post #8 of 10
I will see Louis Stack {who is BTW an avid skier} owner of Fitter1 at IDEA next week. I'll ask him about hamstring exercises. There are also some killer abs you can do on it.

Be Braver in your body, or your luck will leave you. DH Lawrence
post #9 of 10
From the description of your injury you are going to need to get someone to massage it to break down the scar tissue. Look for someone who advertises 'sports massage' or 'deep tissue'. Unless you get the scar tissue rubbed out, you will have on going problems - not necessarily immediately, but can impact a few years on. Suggest you get this done before you start exercising it. An injury is always painful when being massaged. The therapist should keep rubbing it until the pain subsides, this is when the scar tissue has broken down. They should also try different angles/lines on the muscles to ensure they get all the scar tissue.

Your hamstring injury may have occurred because of a problem elsewhere. When you have a muscle inbalance, something has to give when under strain, and in this case was your hammie. For example, you could have an injury in the calf which isn't allowing the leg to fully extend so the hammie is trying to extend more to cover it. I'll ask my other half who is the expert in these areas, what he thinks, and let you know.

He has this theory that the whole nervous and muscle system is like a spider web. If you pull it in one corner, it will break at another point. Your body is a bit like this, so unless you find the cause of the problem, you can be forever fixing the 'symptons'. I'd say you are on the right track with an imbalance between the quads and hammies.
post #10 of 10
Thread Starter 
My visit to physio was good and the rate thats its healing it wasn't that bad of a tear. I can get back on the bike right away but will have hold off running for a while. Thanks for all the input.
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