Understanding The Hamstring Muscle Basics, Easy As A B C

Routinely, parents,coaches,therapists are talking about the hamstrings,stiff, sore,strained,tore,ruptured what does all this mean? How can the athlete avoid injury and being side-lined when it matters most.. Anytime, All the time competition is involved. So let’s do a( moderately) quick A,B,C’s of the hamstring muscle.

The Hamstrings are made up of  three separate muscles that make up one group we commonly call Hamstrings :  the Biceps Femoris (the most laterally postioned), Semitendinosus,( the most centrally medial positioned) and Semimembranosus both centrally and internally medial, near the adductor muscles that are sometimes considered functionally as a hamstring because the Adductor Magus is involved in hip extension.

The Hamstring group  is a  long group of muscles that cross two joints of the hip and knee causing the muscle group to be prone to injury. According to Michael Boyle (one of my short list  favorite strength and conditioning trainers)  “The big key to understanding hamstring strains is realizing that the hamstrings are not the problem.”  Most often  it is reported that a hamstring strain will be the result of one  of the following issues

  • Poor progression ( not obeying the 10% rule in conditioning or sprinting)
  • Poor glute strength and or firing pattern issues .
  • Improper posterior chain warm up
  • Less actually common, but more commonly blamed over striding
  • Fatigued muscle
  • Past Hamstring injury, especially if you allow the athlete back to doing the activity before the injury is completely healed

Common Hamstring Injury signs & symptoms:

  • A sudden sharp pain in the Hamstring.
  • Pain when stretching the Hamstring.
  • Hamstring pain during a resisted muscle contraction
  • Abrupt sharp pain during explosive running or kicking motion


What to do if your athletes suddenly has a hamstring injury

1. Don’t ignore it assuming he’s young a few days rest will heal all that is ailing him.

2  Seek out a knowledgeable,sports health professional to assess your athletes injury and create a treatment protocol. Any professional telling you rest and ice will do the trick is one I would NEVER return to. You make the call.

3. Avoid masking the pain the first hours 48 hours with pain killers,allowing the body to naturally produce  anti-inflammatory agents to help with the healing.

4. Immediately apply  an ice pack to injured area ,no more that 20 minutes to every hour of application

5. Know that a hamstring injury can be treated and healed relatively quickly with the proper re-hab approach.

As I have said before, it is a good idea to find the right Sports Health Professional,Strength Trainer for starters, a head of time. When you need one , you will feel comfortable if (when) the time comes.


Until Next Time


  1. Hi Lorraine,

    Excellent article! You have done a wonderful job here of using graphics well and putting the priniples about hamstrings into a very clear and easy to understand form. This looks like great advice. Thanks for taking the time to put it all together in such an accessible way. I know many parents and coaches who read this will benefit from your advice here.

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