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This is Part 5 of a series in Hamstring Pulls.
UPDATE: The good news is Gerard Mach (or his daughter Maria Mach) tried to contact me via email after my last article on the Mach ABC Sprint drills. I replied back immediately, so there is hope one day Gerard Mach’s 1980 book Sprints and Hurdles might get re-published. That book is a great source of information for any coach.
Gerard Mach 1926-2015 (center) Photo Credits: Athletics Canada
You can read the history of Gerard Mach and his influence on the Canadian Coaching system in my 2007 article.
I discussed hamstring pulls in several past articles:
- How to Recover a Hamstring Pull: Eccentric Loading (Part 4)
- Hamstring Injuries, the Iliopsoas and Imbalances (Part 3)
- Controversial Hamstring Workout for Rehab (Part 2)
- Rehab for Hamstring Pulls and Strains (Part 1)
(This section is a pure copy/paste from Gerard Mach’s book Sprints and Hurdles. No copyright infringement intended.)
Injuries and Injury Prevention in Sprinting and Hurdle Events
Written by Gerard Mach
The most common and typical injuries in the sprinting events are hamstring pulls, shin splints and Achilles tendon problems. All injuries are basically the result of too intensive training programs or through training programs executed on too hard surfaces for too long a period of time.
The first symptom of tiredness by a sprinter will be a slight soreness of the hamstring muscle and the calf muscle.
A normal massage and easier training the days before competition should eliminate these small problems.
Negligence in the first phase might provide bigger problems later, because of the fact that the muscles are flexible. The muscle stress during work stiffens muscles and shifts more and more to the distal parts, going from the calf muscles down through to the Achilles tendons.
In this phase of injury, a daily special “sprint” massage should be performed to prevent a more serious injury. The training should be changed with less speed work and intensity. At that time, as well as with shin splints, the training should be directed to a training program where other muscle parts can be involved and the running program would be easier on softer ground (grass).
Training After a Hamstring Pull
Immediately after a hamstring injury, where some muscle fibers are torn or ruptured, an ice compress should be used to stop internal bleeding. The first day after the injury should be a passive rest. The second day’s activity will depend on the extent of the injury.
An assessment of the next competition must be made. For the sprinter, it is usually possible within two or three weeks to have a race at 200m. This must be done with a limited 30-40m acceleration and maintenance of speed.
For the 400m runners, a 400m race in 10 to 14 days, with a limited acceleration distance of 30m from the starting blocks is usually possible. A limited acceleration distance means the athlete must be under the maximum speed without the maximum stride length. Under those circumstances, to perform well, the athlete should be in good specialized training condition to maintain the limited speed over the 200 or 400m distance.
On the second day after a hamstring pull, the athlete is able to execute the following workout:
- One Leg Marching – power speed and strength endurance where the injured leg doesn’t work.
- One Leg Skipping – power speed and strength endurance where the injured leg doesn’t work.
- One Leg Exercise – power speed and strength endurance where the injured leg doesn’t work.
Exercises without extensions, jumps and bounding. Some medicine ball exercises in sitting and lying positions in which the hamstring muscles are not actively engaged. Some weight exercises – where the hamstring isn’t actively engaged.
After 3 – 4 Days:
– Both legs marching in power sped and strength endurance.
– Both legs skipping – in power speed and strength endurance form.
– Both legs A exercise – in power speed endurance.
– No extension – jumps or boundings
– Medicine ball exercises
– Weight exercises
– Running in tempo in interval for limited distances:
- 2 x 10m
- 4 x 10m
- 6 x 20m
- 6 x 20m
- 8 x 20m
- 10 x 20m
- etc. down to 2 x 20m
After 5 – 6 Days:
– All exercises like before plus tempo
- 2 x 30m
- 4 x 30m
- 6 x 30m
- 8 x 30m
- 10 x 30m
- etc. down to 2 x 30m
- acceleration repetition 6 x 20m
After 7 – 8 Days:
Workout like above and acceleration 20m and maintain limited speed 100 – 200 – 300m. Starts from starting blocks 20m.
After 9 – 10 Days:
Workout as above and starts from starting blocks 30m or 40m competition (30m acceleration)
The Following Days:
Normal training with the speed limitation.
From 6-8 days, massage of injured muscle may be started.
After good races at 200m the sprinter might compete again in the 100m.