hamstring injury is of course the curse of competitive sprinters
interestingly as with Fergus’s comment most occur at the top end of the so called hamstring eccentric” cycle just as the leg is transitioning back to the so called “concentric” phase – this fits rather nicely with his hypothesis!
Many sprint hamstring injuries also occur within 48h of heavy compressional exercise (max squats etc) and there appears to be somewhat of a link between mild lumbar impingment and incidence – again clearly the source of neural input to the hamstring – and meeting the huge demands of coordinated action – are the nerves originating from this lumbar chain.
We have dramatically reduced the incidence by two simple practices – no maximum sprinting within two days of heavy compressional training and the use of so called decompressive exercise – ranging from reverse hyperextensions with an emphasis on the lower phase “hang” and light traction using bands. One of our scientists has done MRI studies on this and not surprisingly found that intervertebral spacing is vastly reduced for around 24h following heavy compression and that thee simple exercises improve this recovery time. In a far less scientific manner we measure the heights of our athletes every morning at the same time – if they have shrunk by more than 1 cm (very common) we dont use heavy compression nor do maximal sprints on that day – and yes I know that sounds like witchcraft but we have had an 80% reduction in hamstring injury so we dont give a damn!
On the other side with rehab – many good thing have already been said above – around 6 weeks into rehab we use Ham-glutes in the following manner – hold a 10 kg plate to your chest and very slowly perform the first 1/4 of the ROM – pause and hold – have someone take the plate away and then complete the movement – try and explode upwards — but very slow motion downwards … as you improve increase the ROM with the weighted resistance – always work within you ROM in any day – listen to your hams – back off or increase as they suggest – this builds very strong activation patterns “eccentrically” and great explosive patterns concentrically
perservere and undertrain rather than overtrain in recovery – hamstrings can be the bane of an athletes life but can be successfully rehabbed!
make sure too that you have a healthy lumbar and pelvis!
best of luck