Happy Hamstrings

You may have heard of the hamstrings being mentioned in relation to football- and this is not surprising as they are the most common injury.  They are disruptive and costly to teams and frustrating for injured players. Hamstring injury is not just for footballers and can affect anyone, especially active people. If you injure your hamstring you may notice a painful pop in the back of your thigh, or it can just feel tight in the back of the leg when you’re running or bending down.

So how can I keep my hamstrings in good condition? 

If your hamstrings feel good right now, but you want to make them stronger & keep them happy– great!! You can skip ahead to the exercise plan. 

If your hamstrings feel a bit tight (especially if it’s only on one side) it shouldn’t be ignored as it may be a sign of a strain. Rest can help but it can also cause weakness which can lead to re-injury. It’s best to get proper advice- just ring us if you’re not sure!

Prevention is better than cure! Unfortunately, if you’ve strained your hamstrings before, you’re more likely to hurt them again- so avoiding injury in the first place is always the best option.

Make a plan

Have a training plan or routine which allows for recovery in between training.  

You’re more likely to injure your hamstrings while sprinting if you turn up to running or sports training with the tank half full because you did a heavy legs session the day before. Weekend warriors great effort but cramming your training into 2 days and then doing nothing for the other 5 isn’t a great plan. See if you can spread it out a bit throughout the week by cycling to work or fitting in a run at lunchtime.

Here we give a few simple exercises that will help you keep those hamstrings happy.

Nordic hamstring curls 

We love these! A simple exercise that gives you a great bang for your buck.

Add 3 sets of 6 of these to your plan once per week and you’ll notice the difference- and the burn!!

Start here using resistance bands or an exercise ball for support.

Then after 6-12 weeks of these ones (or when your legs feel strong doing the supported version) progress to the hardcore option! The slower you move and the longer you hold the position without dropping to the floor, the harder the exercise is. 

These exercises are tough so so only attempt them if your hammies are feeling strong!

Maximise More

To really maximise hammy power, it’s best to work the hamstrings at both the knee AND hip. The Nordic curls work the knee well, but there are a few different options to work the hip and for this one, we’re leaving Norway & heading south for the Romanian deadlift (RDL).

The RDL is a hinge exercise and works a combination of hamstrings, glutes, and back. These can be done with just body weight for a nice hamstring warm-up, or with a kettlebell or barbell.

The key with these is to keep your back straight, hold your knees in position & hinge forward from the hips.

Single-leg RDLs work more balance than hamstring strength, but are a great way to increase flexibility;

Split stance RDLs and double leg RDLs allow you to add weight and really work the hamstrings;

Sprinting– and we mean full-speed sprinting at 100%! 

Nordic curls and Romanian deadlifts are both great exercises to work on, the best formula is to combine them with sprint training. Sprinting is great for preventing hamstring injury and may even improve your running speed- so it’s a win-win!! This is most important if you play a sport that requires you to reach top speed at any point. 

We recommend doing a few short sprints twice per week on fresh legs, maybe fit it into the warm-up before football training or as intervals during a training run. 

Our suggestion is…

   – head down to your local football pitch or mark out roughly 50 & 100 metres on the road
   – do a warm-up of a few 100m laps at a gentle jog (50% of your maximum speed)
   – then do a few 100m laps at a slightly quicker pace (60% of your max speed)
   – then do a few 50m laps at a quicker pace again (70% of your max speed)

*You might want to stop here if you’ve not run in a while & repeat this session a few times over a few weeks before progressing*

If you’re feeling good and have lots of energy at this point…
   – repeat 4 x 50m laps where you build the pace until you’re running at top speed

The aim is to get a few 50m top-speed sprints in your legs twice per week and keep this up throughout the season/year.

Make it a habit & stave off those pesky injuries!! 

So there you have it- the easy-peasy guide to super happy hammies! 

Blog Post by Fiona Robertson 
BSc(Hons) Physiotherapy MCSP



What is boom and bust, and how can it be avoided?

We have mentioned the boom-bust mistake you could make if you’re a weekend warrior or were overly enthusiastic about your health-related new year’s resolutions. So what is boom-bust & what’s wrong with it??

When we say boom-bust we mean drastically changing your fitness routine, way of life, or habit from what you were doing previously, only for it to go wrong and you give it all up again- whether that’s because of lack of dedication or succumbing to injury. If this happens it probably means you took on too much, too soon & overwhelmed your system.

Significantly changing your lifestyle and exercise regime can be exciting but can easily lead to injury from overloading soft tissues or joints, especially if there’s not enough rest or recovery between sessions. This loading is scientifically investigated by researchers who call it the acute to chronic workload ratio- acute workload being what session (or sessions) you do today, and chronic workload being the summation of these sessions over a week or month. There’s a sweet spot in the ratio which means you can gradually increase your training with much less risk of injury, though if you go under or over this sweet spot then you’re either not gaining anything from your training, or you’re at high risk of injury (boom) which halts your training & leaves you feeling dejected (bust).

We’ll go into more detail on the acute to chronic workload ratio in another blog post, showing how you can use it to train smarter and aim to avoid injury.

For now, we’ll say try to change one thing at a time and keep the changes gradual, here are some examples of how you can achieve this:

  • Incorporate rest or recovery days between workout days; instead of doing a HIIT workout every morning swap two workouts per week for mobility, low-key yoga or meditation.
  • If you’re new to running then try following the NHS Couch to 5K programme, an awesome way to get into running without biting off more than you can chew.
  • Focus on active recovery- by this we mean taking the time to unwind & enjoy a hot bath, spending 10 minutes foam rolling or stretching any areas which have caught your attention, fitting in a power nap, or booking in that sports massage you’ve been meaning to have for the past year!
  • Listen to your body- if you’re dragging your knuckles because you’re tired and feeling run down then maybe today’s the day to swap the cliffpath run you’d been planning for an easy stroll or light stretch. If there are any bodily areas that consistently get your attention then it’s probably worth booking in with a physiotherapist who’s experienced in assessing these issues and checking it’s not becoming something concerning.
  • Keep a diary or log of what you’re planning to do, and then record what you’ve actually done. It’s easy to get carried away in the momentum & enthusiasm though if you’ve got a record of it, it will be easier to see where you’ve gone wrong and prevent it from happening again.

Hopefully, that’s given you some food for thought, be kind to yourself and your body and you never know what you’ll achieve!

Fiona at Commonwealth Games

Our superstar physio, Fiona Robertson had an awesome week supporting the Jersey athletes as a team physio at the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham!

Fiona said, “She loved every minute of the trip, from spectating an amazing array of sports to riding in the team car for the cycling road race, lots of amazing performances on show, Team Jersey rose to the occasion and did the island proud!”

Check out all the news from games on the Commonwealth Games Jersey’s website: https://www.cgaj.org/about-cgaj/latest-news/

*Thanks to Dave Ferguson Photography


Wimbledon week – exercises for Tennis players

The final week of Wimbledon and we’re still inspired by the amazing athleticism on show!🤩🎾

Watch here, Fiona’s videos and try 5 rounds of the exercises listed below for a quick but effective lower body regime that will work on the strength needed to get round the tennis court without injury 💪🏼⬇

🎾Copenhagens level 2: 5 repetitions on each side

🎾Overhead hurdle walkovers: 30 secs

🎾Diagonal walking lunges: 10 lunges

🎾Wall knee drives: 30 secs

🎾Rebounding calf raises off step: 10 repetitions

Fiona at the Jersey Muratti

Following on from Paul at the Muratti in Guernsey, Fiona was incredibly lucky to support the ladies’ football team for the Jersey Football Association first ladies Muratti in 6 years! ⚽🦸‍♀️

There were excellent results for both the women’s and the men’s teams at the Muratti but particularly for the ladies! Fiona was thrilled to be part of the team for the day!

How do I prevent injury when training for a running race?

The race calendar is approaching & we thought we’d share our top tips for preventing running injury as you increase your training…

  1. Strength training -we mean lifting weights in exercises like calf raises, squats and deadlifts- twice per week will improve your running economy and can reduce injury risk by up to 50%!
  2. If you’re suffering with a niggle, get in touch with a physio who can help you on the road to recovery to ensure you can get the most out of your training while dealing with the injury.
  3. It’s better to turn up to a race under-prepared on mileage & in good condition than really well trained but injured, you can always rely on a bit of race day adrenaline to pull you through those last few miles.
  4. It’s a good idea to include a plateau week every month where you don’t increase your weekly training load, which allows your body to adapt & recover a little.
  5. Don’t run too hard on your easy runs- as a rough rule of thumb do 80% of your runs around 20% of your maximal effort.
  6. Be realistic in training goals- big jumps in training load often lead to injury. So if you’ve never run before then make your first goal a 5k and allow time to build gradually towards the marathon.
  7. Remember that you don’t get stronger when you are running- you get stronger when you’re recovering so give as much effort to active recovery as you give to training. You might choose to get a sports massage, stretch, take a sea dip, hot bath, easy yoga, meditate, sauna… whatever works for you!!

Under 21’s football team Muratti in Guernsey

Paul jetted off with the U21’s football team in April to play in the Muratti on our neighboring island Guernsey. It was an epic day with a great win of 2-1! Well done to the lads at the Jersey Football Association – see them celebrating in this video!

An evening with Alex and the Menopause Forum

This April, Alex joined Trudi Roscouet and Dr. Rebecca Harling, the awesome and inspiring women behind The Menopause Forum.

The topic of Alex’s discussion was ” I wish I had known about this earlier….!” This is what 99% of women in their 50s and 60s and younger say to Alex when she sees them. Pelvic Health is particularly challenging because it’s so taboo. Did you know that it takes women on average 10 years to visit their GP for any pelvic health problems such as urinary incontinence or pelvic organ prolapse?

Alex gave an insightful talk with her expansive knowledge on such issues along with a pinch of humor that made the evening comfortable talking about these embarrassing and personal topics!

Read more about this on Alex’s blog – click here

Paul’s trip to Europe with the U.S Ski Team

Paul travelled to Germany, Slovenia & France with the U.S Ski & Snowboard team! It had been a long time for Paul to be able to return with the team since the pandemic, so he was super thrilled to be on the road again with them! Here’s what he said about the trip – “It was a fantastic time away with U.S team again. Always great to experience time on the road with elite sport and a group of athletes I’ve known for so long”