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Thread: Hamstrings

  1. #1
    Senior Member rousseau's Avatar
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    Hamstrings

    Apologies that this isn't completely cycling related, but I'm frustrated, and have received very helpful advice on this forum before, so I thought I'd throw my problem out there.

    The facts:
    45-year-old
    Sedentary desk job in home office = many hours sitting
    Ride 6-8 hours per week (and enjoy it greatly)

    The situation:
    I spent 5 hours working on a railing for my front porch on Sunday, and my hamstrings are still killing me today, on Tuesday. I did a lot of squatting and bending over while cutting the wood (mitre saw positioned on the ground) and screwing spindles onto the rails. I've still got half the job to finish, but have decided I'm going to have to wait until this coming Saturday before resuming it, as past experience has taught me that I'll need at least three more days of rest before my hamstrings are in any shape to do any more work.

    I've noticed this before over the past few years. An afternoon spent weeding in the garden results in hamstring suffering for at least three days afterward. Which is frustrating and annoying, because it seems like I can't ever do more intensive physical labour-type work for more than one day at a time.

    Does anyone else have problematic hamstrings? What do you do? Is there some sort of regimen I should follow to keep them limber? And yes, I know I'm far too sedentary for my own good, but I am trying my best to get up from my desk every hour or so to run around and do some weight-lifting for about 10 minutes. Though some days get really busy and the good intentions, well...

    Any suggestions?
    The pleasure is momentary, the position ridiculous, and the expense damnable.

  2. #2
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    Your saddle may be too low. Or you need more miles.

    I've done stretching on doctor's recommendation for legs, shoulders, arms, etc. and I'm pretty well convinced that stretching is quackery.

  3. #3
    Senior Member rousseau's Avatar
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    Interesting thought on saddle height. I do recall mention somewhere on these boards of a lower saddle straining the quads more without putting the hamstrings under stress, meaning that the quads develop but the hamstrings don't. Is it possible this could carry over into daily life, such like my problem above?

    Another thought: Having a home office, I don't think I do enough walking. It's just sit and ride, sit and ride. I can't help but think that walking would be a good thing to increase, regardless. No?
    The pleasure is momentary, the position ridiculous, and the expense damnable.

  4. #4
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    If you see a doctor they'll probably diagnose it as tendinitis and prescribe ibuprofen and stretching.
    I've got a couple of sports medical books and that's all they say about it, so fair enough.

    It would seem to me that walking up hills, and cycling with a longer leg extension would be comparable, or superior, to stretching.
    I raised my saddle a few years ago and the pain went away. So you may be right.

  5. #5
    Senior Member Hairy Hands's Avatar
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    Your out of shape for that type work + your getting old and recovery takes more time. I have the same problems as I sit long hours flying a plane. I can cycle 20+ hrs at a time (long distance rider) but the minute I start cutting firewood or working in the garden every part of me gets sore.

    If you really want the hamstrings to feel better then you need to start doing squats and leg curls to strengthen them up.
    ~John~

  6. #6
    just another gosling Carbonfiberboy's Avatar
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    Hairy's got it. Hiking is great, anything that get you out doing some cross training. I've become interested in this woman's workout routines: www.bodyrock.tv
    Real doable and hardly any equipment. It's focused on women, but it's nice cross training for geezers like me. Use it or lose it.

  7. #7
    Faster than yesterday
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    I do recall mention somewhere on these boards of a lower saddle straining the quads more without putting the hamstrings under stress, meaning that the quads develop but the hamstrings don't. Is it possible this could carry over into daily life, such like my problem above?
    Well, you spend a lot of time sitting. At work, at home, and on the bike. Almost certainly tight hip flexors. Stretch them. Probably inactive glutes, from tight hip flexors. Do hip-ups, single-leg deadlifts, or something else glute-dominant. Probably tight and overactive hamstrings (synergistic dominance). Stretch them.

    Essentially, you're doing an isometric squat/deadlift while stooping to garden. The glutes are supposed to be active at the bottom of the ROM, and when they aren't, the hamstrings take up the slack.

    I've done stretching on doctor's recommendation for legs, shoulders, arms, etc. and I'm pretty well convinced that stretching is quackery.
    It ain't exactly quackery. The hamstring complex has been extensively studied at this point, and it does work for them (and that's significant). For other structures, though, it isn't always so clear. It you apply it indiscriminately, it doesn't work right. You should really only be stretching tight structures, which takes an actual functional assessment. Otherwise, stretching is ust a somewhat effective inhibitory technique.

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