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Hamstrings

Old 05-19-15, 11:43 AM
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Hamstrings

Every time I spend an afternoon working in the garden I get terrible hamstring soreness for three or four days afterward. It eventually goes away, and then the next time I do any bending over for any length of time, like when puttering around in the garden, it comes back. And it's the same thing: three or four days of pain.

What can I do?

I'm mostly sedentary. Desk job in home office. Otherwise, I ride my bike. Do a bit of walking. Is there some way of engaging the hamstrings day-to-day so that I can do an afternoon in the garden without paying for it afterwards?

Cycling content: They feel sore when I'm on the bike, but my riding isn't really impacted much by it.
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Old 05-19-15, 11:53 AM
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I used to have terrible hamstring issues. And the stretches I found all over the internet were the exact same ones that were given to me by a couple of different Physical The******s. You don't have to look hard to find what's out there.
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Old 05-19-15, 11:54 AM
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You may try to get into a routine of stretching your hamstrings. They tend to tighten up, and cycling doesn't help.
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Old 05-19-15, 11:56 AM
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- Stop spending afternoons working in the garden

- Mix yoga or a stretching routine into you daily activities, focus on your IT Band
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Old 05-19-15, 12:08 PM
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Stretching every day, eh? Sounds like a pain. But I suppose I'll have to do it.
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Old 05-19-15, 12:17 PM
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Ummmm are you clipped in.....using your big gears?
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Old 05-19-15, 12:20 PM
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Originally Posted by Darth Steele View Post
- Stop spending afternoons working in the garden
This. Go ride your bike instead.
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Old 05-19-15, 01:06 PM
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One reason they hurt soo bad after gardening is they are weak! Stretch and strengthen...

Same thing used to happen to me...
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Old 05-19-15, 01:12 PM
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Leg flexion and hip extension are hampered by weak hamstrings, so any activity involving those movements will lead to soreness. Stretching can help alleviate the soreness but the best way to make it go away for good is resistance training.
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Old 05-19-15, 01:52 PM
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Originally Posted by HtownTREK View Post
Ummmm are you clipped in.....using your big gears?
Yes, in fact I do tend to mash in the big gears. Why?
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Old 05-19-15, 01:59 PM
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knee pads let you work in the garden without the bending over
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Old 05-19-15, 02:37 PM
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Standing desk. Stretching.
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Old 05-19-15, 06:03 PM
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Originally Posted by rousseau View Post
Stretching every day, eh? Sounds like a pain. But I suppose I'll have to do it.
You could start with stretching every day, then once they're stretched out probably move it to once a week or once a month to maintain the flexibility.

Cycling has really not helped my hamstring flexibility, I'll say that. Not that it was great to begin with...
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Old 05-19-15, 06:34 PM
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good grief! what are you doing in the garden?
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Old 05-19-15, 06:41 PM
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To get any meaningful results you need to stretch everyday to achieve a sustained measurable increase in flexibility as you tighten back up as you resume your normal daily activities (sitting, cycling, sleeping). So until you can maintain that flexibility over a few days you really need to do it daily if you want results. A lot of what people perceive as 'weakness' is actually a result of poor flexibility from our lifestyle of sitting as you're literally working against your body to squat or kneel for garden work, it's past someone's functional range of motion. I honestly doubt it's the IT band as that's usually ends up with knee pain but instead the psoas (which is the one that shortens up the most with long hours of sitting) and the glutes. Cycling (or any single repetitive motion activity) is actually terrible for flexibility as it puts you in essentially a sitting position and asks you to do the same low flexibility motion for the next few hours. When I first started cycling I noticed I tightened a up a lot, the muscle got stronger and became harder to stretch out. I still don't have (but I haven't made it a priority) the flexibility I had before I started cycling.
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Old 05-19-15, 08:01 PM
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Yep, stretch every day. I do it about an hour after I get up. Only takes a few minutes. Don't do it right after getting up. A good stretch: seated with legs straight, try to wrap your fingers around the bottoms of your feet as far as they will go and pull up on your forefoot. If you can't reach your feet, grab your ankles and pull. A better stretch series here:
http://www.bikeforums.net/road-cycli...l#post15372967

Every once in a while I develop some little problem and really do stretch 3 X day.

Gardening is very good exercise.

It's possible your saddle is too low.

Pull back on your pedals at the bottom of the pedal stroke and continue that pull for a bit as the pedal starts up. That activates your hams.
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Old 05-20-15, 08:26 AM
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Originally Posted by Carbonfiberboy View Post
Yep, stretch every day. I do it about an hour after I get up. Only takes a few minutes. Don't do it right after getting up. A good stretch: seated with legs straight, try to wrap your fingers around the bottoms of your feet as far as they will go and pull up on your forefoot. If you can't reach your feet, grab your ankles and pull. A better stretch series here:
http://www.bikeforums.net/road-cycli...l#post15372967
I do that one just as I'm getting up.

Also, after my ride, I stretch my hamstrings.

GH
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Old 05-20-15, 11:37 AM
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Originally Posted by ColaJacket View Post
I do that one just as I'm getting up.

Also, after my ride, I stretch my hamstrings.

GH
Careful as you get older. A friend of mine spent 2 weeks on the couch after doing that upon arising. That was back before they realized that one needs to work a back injury, not rest it. Better to warm up a little first.
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Old 05-20-15, 12:00 PM
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Originally Posted by Carbonfiberboy View Post
Careful as you get older. A friend of mine spent 2 weeks on the couch after doing that upon arising. That was back before they realized that one needs to work a back injury, not rest it. Better to warm up a little first.
Well, I do go to the bathroom first, does that count as warming up?
The first set of stretches I learned at Taekwando
I do the both feet out, and grab.
Left foot out, right foot near groin and grab.
Right foot out, left foot near groin and grab.
Butterfly stretch (Bottom of Feet together, heels as close to groin as possible, grab feet, and lean down)
Do a bridge where my shoulders and feet are on the bed, but the butt is off the bed.

Second set of poses is some yoga poses that help my flexibility the other way.
On knees, bent over with head on bed as close as possible to knees. Think tuck position on bike.
On knees, but with head and arms out as far as they can stretch.
Legs straight back, holding my self up with my arms. I'm sure I picture my back as being more bent than it actually is.
Then an elbows and toes bridge.

I try to do all of these for about 30 seconds, with a little bit of time between them to relax and get ready for the next stretch.

For the hamstring stretch, I have a dresser that is about the same height as my groin. I basically put myself is a front kick or round kick position with one leg, and then lower my other leg until it gets uncomfortable, and hold it. I'll repeat, I do it until it is uncomfortable, not hurting. If it is hurting then you could injure yourself. Uncomfortable is stretching it.

GH
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Old 05-20-15, 12:23 PM
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Originally Posted by ColaJacket View Post
Well, I do go to the bathroom first, does that count as warming up?
The first set of stretches I learned at Taekwando
I do the both feet out, and grab.
Left foot out, right foot near groin and grab.
Right foot out, left foot near groin and grab.
Butterfly stretch (Bottom of Feet together, heels as close to groin as possible, grab feet, and lean down)
Do a bridge where my shoulders and feet are on the bed, but the butt is off the bed.

Second set of poses is some yoga poses that help my flexibility the other way.
On knees, bent over with head on bed as close as possible to knees. Think tuck position on bike.
On knees, but with head and arms out as far as they can stretch.
Legs straight back, holding my self up with my arms. I'm sure I picture my back as being more bent than it actually is.
Then an elbows and toes bridge.

I try to do all of these for about 30 seconds, with a little bit of time between them to relax and get ready for the next stretch.

For the hamstring stretch, I have a dresser that is about the same height as my groin. I basically put myself is a front kick or round kick position with one leg, and then lower my other leg until it gets uncomfortable, and hold it. I'll repeat, I do it until it is uncomfortable, not hurting. If it is hurting then you could injure yourself. Uncomfortable is stretching it.

GH
Nice. I should include those.
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Old 05-20-15, 06:59 PM
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Originally Posted by Carbonfiberboy View Post
Yep, stretch every day. I do it about an hour after I get up. Only takes a few minutes. Don't do it right after getting up. A good stretch: seated with legs straight, try to wrap your fingers around the bottoms of your feet as far as they will go and pull up on your forefoot. If you can't reach your feet, grab your ankles and pull. A better stretch series here:
http://www.bikeforums.net/road-cycli...l#post15372967
While I agree that one should warm up the muscles before stretching (be it jumping jacks, ice climbers, light jog in place or whatever to get a little perspiration) the stretches you listed in your post do nothing for the IT band per the thread title (and is mentioned in the post). Two is that the stretch cited is likely one of the least targeting stretches available to target the hamstrings as tight calves, glutes, pesoas, lower back or other muscle groups can severely limit how much the hamstrings get stretched out in that stretch. So while I hate the click inciting header this videos has, at least this issue he gets right.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IE7nALXgXz0

Likely one of the problems is the posterior pelvic tilt for any of us who sit most of the day. So working on each more individually will go a long way toward being functionally flexible. All these grabbing the foot or ankle stretches can be limited in their effectiveness if you can't rotate your pelvis forward freely as you can be limited by so many things in the chain. As we're talking everything from the foot flexion to shoulders becoming the limiters in that stretch.
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Old 05-20-15, 08:28 PM
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Originally Posted by makeitso5005 View Post
While I agree that one should warm up the muscles before stretching (be it jumping jacks, ice climbers, light jog in place or whatever to get a little perspiration) the stretches you listed in your post do nothing for the IT band per the thread title (and is mentioned in the post). Two is that the stretch cited is likely one of the least targeting stretches available to target the hamstrings as tight calves, glutes, pesoas, lower back or other muscle groups can severely limit how much the hamstrings get stretched out in that stretch. So while I hate the click inciting header this videos has, at least this issue he gets right.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IE7nALXgXz0

Likely one of the problems is the posterior pelvic tilt for any of us who sit most of the day. So working on each more individually will go a long way toward being functionally flexible. All these grabbing the foot or ankle stretches can be limited in their effectiveness if you can't rotate your pelvis forward freely as you can be limited by so many things in the chain. As we're talking everything from the foot flexion to shoulders becoming the limiters in that stretch.
You can't stretch an IT band.

The figure 4 stretch in my post is a good one for preventing IT band issues. Most PTs use it.

The seated calf, hamstring, and lower back stretch is how you get low. That's what you use to roll your pelvis forward. When you do that stretch, push your butt to the rear and flatten your back.

On very long rides, quickly run through the stretch series to which I link while you eat and drink at a rest stop. You'll feel much better.
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Old 05-20-15, 09:44 PM
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Stretching is an emotional aspect of fitness but one that has been extensively studied. Numerous studies have asked the question "does stretching before exercise prevent injury?" Some studies say yes and some say no; however, meta analyses (data from a large number of studies are combined and statistically analyzed) say:
1. Stretching before exercise does not prevent injury,
2. Stretching before exercise actually does allow the muscle to stretch more and this due to analgesia,
3. A muscle stretched before exercise is weaker (force measurements),
4. Any effect of stretching only lasts 15-30 minutes at most.

However, a regular program of stretching like yoga has been shown to prevent injury (only a few studies but all are consistent) and it does so because it strengthens the muscle. Stretching after exercise has also been shown to be beneficial.

Bottom line, stretching before exercise has no impact on injury prevention (not to be confused with warming up that does help prevent injury), a regular program of stretching does lower the risk of injury, and the best way to lower risk of injury is to strengthen the muscles involved (by any means).

Hamstring issues? Strengthen them.
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Old 05-20-15, 10:15 PM
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Originally Posted by Carbonfiberboy View Post
You can't stretch an IT band.

The figure 4 stretch in my post is a good one for preventing IT band issues. Most PTs use it.

The seated calf, hamstring, and lower back stretch is how you get low. That's what you use to roll your pelvis forward. When you do that stretch, push your butt to the rear and flatten your back.

On very long rides, quickly run through the stretch series to which I link while you eat and drink at a rest stop. You'll feel much better.
Any PT that uses the seated 4 stretch as an IT band relief stretch... isn't worth going to. It addresses none of the individual issues that would cause IT band irritation.

The thing you don't appear to understand is that if there's an imbalance anywhere between your foot and shoulders (would appear to be so by the OP original post) your seated hamstring stretch isn't very effective as you become limited by any one tight muscle group. A person then can just compensate or cheat and work around the problem group or just limit the entire stretch entirely by the one problem group. I can keep a posterior pelvic tilt and still easily reach my toes, does this make it an effective hamstring exercise? No, it doesn't. Overall it's just a poor general stretch to recommend to anyone trying to fix specific issues. Prolonged sitting and being in large drop shoes all day causes some fairly specific flexibility issues and there's much better exercises and stretches to address them rather than a figure 4 stretch.

To the OP: I wouldn't recommend any one stretch as a cure all as it's likely a series of muscles that need some stretching out, most will require you to get out of a sitting position and flex in more than one direction. There's tons of hip mobility tutorials on the net so find one you like and stick with it. Throw in some calf and hamstring/quad exercises as well to round it all out (as it is all in one system) and I'm sure you'll be happier for doing it. But just to give you an idea of how you might be able to self diagnose, try this. http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/post...alignment.html

Originally Posted by Gyrine View Post
Bottom line, stretching before exercise has no impact on injury prevention (not to be confused with warming up that does help prevent injury), a regular program of stretching does lower the risk of injury, and the best way to lower risk of injury is to strengthen the muscles involved (by any means).

Hamstring issues? Strengthen them.
Dynamic stretching before exercises can help with the release of tension running in the muscle/ligaments along with warming up the muscles for the full range of motion. You see athletes doing this at every level before events. Static stretching is poor before events, I'll agree with you on that. As for your conclusion of strengthening is the solution to all ails is just poor advice. You could have the strongest core and legs in the world but if you don't have the flexibility to get into an aero position and instead need to sit up on the tops all day, you'll never be as fast as those guys who can achieve the aero tuck without fighting against themselves. It's flexibility before strength - if you can't achieve the range of motion without impingement you're never going to do as well as you could and will injure yourself in the long run.

Last edited by makeitso5005; 06-03-15 at 11:37 PM. Reason: adding link
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