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Question
Posted by: mani | 2005/12/06

Hamstring Injury

Hi Doc,
I recently injured my right hamstring while sprint exercising and the ultra scan revealed a 1st degree injury.
I've been to a phsio and explained the possible causes for such a injury.
I've become aware that my quads are stronger than my hams and that I should train these muscles with a 60: 40 ratio.
I'm also aware off all the weight training exercises regarding hamstring exercises.
My question is when training the hams, What Max weight limit should I use and regarding this ratio, if I use a 20kg for the quads What should the hamstring weight be??
Your help is beneficial to me.

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Our expert says:
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Hi Mani

It is difficult to say exactly, because even though this ratio does exist and we know that if you have weak hamstrings you can pick up injuries more easily, the ratio is dependent on quite a few other factors as well. For example, we usually assess the ratio doing something called an isokinetic test, where the strength is tested using a special machine that controls the speed of the muscle contraction. Now, in this case, we can very accurately measure the strength and therefore the ratio. the problem in the gym with the equipment here is that the speed is not controlled and so if you lift 10 kg very fast, it's the same load as lifting 15 very slowly, if you follow my logic, and so then the ratio is not as relevant anymore. So while you have recognised this need to work on the hamstrings, I think that what you need to do is experiment with weights. Because you are recovering from an injury, it's important that you work towards the weight you can lift. in otherwords, that injured muscle may have a limit at about 15 kg right now. If you train at 18, you will re-injure it, and so what you should do is get into the gym and start at about 8 kg, and then do your 10 reps, then add a few kg, so you are up to say 12 and do another 10 reps. Give yourself a lot of recovery time in between too. Work up until you feel a load that you can lift without pain, or where the strain starts getting a bit heavy towards repetition 8 or 9 of the 10, then reduce the weight by a kilogram or two and use that as your weight for future training.

Good luck

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