back fatigue and slow hamstring recovery

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back fatigue and slow hamstring recovery

Postby CSta » Jan 07, 2009 10:15

Thomas Kurz wrote:Slow recovery of hamstrings may be connected with lower back fatigue or disfunction.

I am interested in understanding why this occurs. Could you please provide an explanation or cite to a source, or both. Thanks.
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Re: back fatigue and slow hamstring recovery

Postby elskbrev » Jan 13, 2009 21:41

I just came across a little comment in Feb-09 copy of Runners World magazine, p. 58, near as I can quote: “When core is not stable, hamstrings have to work extra hard to stabilize the core, leaving them shorter, tighter.”

That, and your post, got me web-searching…

The most technical explanations I found were in an article for speed walkers at: , where author states “… As the core muscles fatigue, other underdeveloped muscles substitute for them. This substitution places great stress not only on the psoas but also on the hamstrings, illiotibials, quadriceps and adductors… “ and, “Most [psoas] problems are almost always a direct effect of weak core stability. As the core muscles fatigue, the [psoas] tends to act as a stabilizing muscle rather than a driving muscle.” Etc.

A solid core strength routine is outlined in an article at,6610,s1-4-20-15681-1-P,00.html , where a similar connection between core strength and leg power is made: (1) Boxer Ball Crunch; (2) Power Bridge (can be done on ball); (3) Hip Extension (using ball); (4) Plank; (5) Traverse Plank; (6) Scissors Kick (do only one leg at a time until sufficient strength is built up); (7) Catapult; (8) Boat Pose (a v-situp; don’t try it if you have not developed sufficient lower back strength with the other exercises first).

Granted, the above article doesn’t address specifics for a sport I have any interest in (never bike), but the first five (5) exercises listed closely resemble a routine taught me by a kinesiologist concerned for my core strength—especially lower back and hips--a couple years ago. In my case, nothing was out of alignment in my back, but correct balance of strengths was needed for stabilization after I threw my hip out and he corrected it. I have never had underlying, persistent back problems; quite the opposite, a very strong back, but not very limber, so there were/are things I have to work on.

Another article, regards sprinters' need for core strength:, “…A complication that can place extra strain on the hamstrings is that during sprinting the trunk must remain upright and stable. The stabilizing muscles of the stomach, low back and the gluteals should perform this role; however, if the core strength is not as good as it should be, the hamstrings will also have to stabilize the trunk, thus placing even more strain on them. The upshot? If you want to avoid hamstring strains from sprinting, you need both strong hamstrings and strong core muscles - namely the gluteals, low back and abdominals. Good core strength will also ensure that during each ground contact phase the pelvis remains level and lifted up, which allows greater power from the legs to be converted into horizontal speed. It will also reduce the risk of low-back injuries which are quite common in sprinters…”

All this is very interesting, if not technical enough to explain why tight prime movers and fatigued stabilizers spell trouble, but it does point to the value of total body fitness or balance of strengths for any sport.

Last edited by elskbrev on Feb 06, 2009 21:32, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: back fatigue and slow hamstring recovery

Postby CSta » Jan 14, 2009 10:26

Super! Thank you for doing that. I had performed a few searches but didn't find anything as on-point as you.

My tentative plan at this point is to drop one set of back extensions (30 reps) and one set of good mornings (15 reps), and to reduce the number of repetitions I do for front/back/side lunges from 30 per leg per exercise to 15. On that last point, in the "500 sit-up story" thread Kurz sets forth a repetition/weight progression for sit-ups. It goes something like, for 5-10 lbs, you can do up to 100 repetitions; for 15-20 lbs, you can do up to 30 repetitions; and for weight 25 lbs or greater repetitions must be further reduced. I believe the principle is, as load increases, volume must decrease. I was thinking last night that, my total number of lunges per leg is 90 (30+30+30) and I'm using weight of 15, 20, and 10 for front, back, and side lunges, respectively, so perhaps I'm doing too many repetitions for the weight (i.e., the load increased but the volume didn't decrease).

Also, on Monday while doing my hamstring curls, I caught myself relaxing my core and arching my back even though I wasn't having any trouble completing the repetitions. I began to wonder whether I do that during my lunges and squats. So, for future workouts I'm going to consciously flex my core when doing leg exercises.

Hopefully, all of the above will resolve the issue. If it doesn't, then I think I'm going to take Kurz's advice and see a chiropractor.

Thanks again.
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Joined: Sep 05, 2008 14:54
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