How to Prevent Hamstring Injuries in Yoga

Hamstring stretching in yoga is a very constant part of every class. We fold, bend and pull our toes closer to our nose with vinyasas, in standing poses, in seated poses, in many twists, and in many poses laying on our back.

Injuries, can occur, and we want to prevent these injuries whenever possible!

In our yoga classes we also do those poses that not only improve the length and breadth of the muscle, but the muscle strength. Strengthen the muscle in class for you, so it is stronger, more resilient, and less likely to incur. This is so important because hamstring injuries hurt, and take a long time to heal! This is why we vary our vinyasas at Hatha Yoga and Fitness with cobras and locusts and why we add some active range of motion exercises into the standing balances.

It’s all because a strong muscle is less likely to injure!

Creating Strength through Concentric Strengthening

And in the fitness world we call this creating strength: creating concentric strengthening.

Concentric exercises for the hamstrings primarily involve shortening the muscle as it contracts, which is the opposite of eccentric exercises that involve lengthening while contracting.

Thus, if you come into the fitness classes at Hatha you will find we do some concentric strengthening. Your other fitness activities can do this too!

sports actions and exercises focusing on the concentric strengthening of the hamstrings

1. Sprinting: Sprinting involves rapid and forceful knee flexion, which is a concentric movement for the hamstrings. This action is especially pronounced during the acceleration phase.
2. Cycling: When pedaling, particularly when pushing down on the pedals, the hamstrings contract concentrically to help flex the knee and extend the hip.
3. Jumping: Sports that involve jumping, such as basketball, volleyball, and track and field events (like the long jump or high jump), require powerful knee flexion and hip extension, both of which use the hamstrings concentrically.
4. Leg Curls: While not a sport action per se, leg curls are a common exercise in many athletic training programs. They specifically target the hamstring muscles through concentric contractions as you curl the weight toward your buttocks.
5. Stairs Climbing: Climbing stairs or hill running can also engage the hamstrings concentrically as you lift your body upward with each step.
6. Swimming: Certain swimming strokes like the butterfly and breaststroke involve kicking motions that can engage the hamstrings concentrically.

Other specific strengthening moves include kettlebell squats. Come to our Sculpt, or Barre Blend, or Strength classes you will do these moves! Incorporating these activities into your other fitness routines can effectively strengthen the hamstrings and keep your happy baby posing, very happy indeed!