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  • Writer's picturePursuit of Motion

Why Couldn't the Pig Run? Hamstring Strain.

"Hamstring strain injury is one of the most common injuries in sports, and causes significant loss of training and competition time." - Liu, H., Garrett, W., Moorman, C., Yu, B. (2012)

Hamstring Symptoms

The hamstrings are a group of four muscles that cross your hip and your knee, and these muscles are commonly injured in sprinters, kickers, and athletes who perform high-speed movements.

The muscles involved are the long and short heads of the biceps femoris, semitendinosus, and semimembranosus muscles. Together, these muscles act to extend the hip and bend the knee.

Symptoms of hamstring strains include pain, tenderness, loss of motion, or decreased strength, and strains can be classified as grade 1 (mild) to grade 3 (severe).

Recovery and Exercises

Acute hamstring strains often result in significant recovery time, and approximately one-third of hamstring injuries will recur within the first 2 weeks of return to sport. This is why proper rehabilitation is key!

We have some exercises to help you with your acute hamstring strains, to get you back to doing what you love. As always, there should be no increase in pain with these exercises, and if you are experiencing any pain, send us a message so we can help you out!

Exercise 1:

The first exercise to try is called hamstring flossing, and this exercise is to create some mobility through the hamstrings. Start lying on your back and bring your knee towards your chest so that your hip and knee are bent to 90 degrees and loop your hands behind your thigh.

From here slowly straighten your knee until you feel a stretch in the back of your thigh. Hold the stretch at the top for 5 seconds and repeat this movement for 30 seconds.

This stretch should not cause any pain, and if it does then stop and give us a shout.

Exercise 2:

The next exercise is an isometric strengthening exercise to engage your hamstring muscles but not aggravate them.

Laying on your back, bend your knee and place your heel on the floor (toes should be up), with your other leg extended. Gently push your heel into the floor, as if you're trying to bend your knee, and hold this for 15-30 seconds to engage your hamstrings.

Be sure there is no pain while performing this exercise and repeat this 3 times on both legs. 


Research has shown a significant reduction in injury recurrence when individuals with an acute hamstring injury were treated using a progressive agility and trunk stabilization program. Movements in the frontal plane will not increase the length of the hamstring muscle-tendon unit as much as sagittal plane movements. The next exercises will address this!

Exercise 3:

Lay on your side with your injured leg on top, with your hips and knees slightly bent, and raise up into a side plank position from your knee.

Straighten your top leg and raise it towards the ceiling, thinking about raising from your heel (as opposed to raising from your toes). 

Exercise 4:

This next exercise will work on your agility, to help get you back to doing the activities you were doing before.

Grapevine steps, also known as crossover steps, are as simple as stepping to the side, crossing your other leg in front, stepping to the side again, and cross your other leg behind.

Repeat this with slow steps heading both directions, and then when you feel more comfortable try doing the grapevine steps a bit quicker. 

Let us know how these exercises go! Contact us if you are experiencing a hamstring strain and we can work with you to help reduce your pain and get you back to activity.


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