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How Baseball Players Can Prevent Hamstring Injuries

April 20, 2013 | Mo Skelton

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One of the most common injuries in baseball occurs when a player running the bases suddenly pulls up short and starts limping. The cause: a pulled hamstring. It seems like they come out of nowhere, but they are caused by factors hidden beneath the skin. (Learn more about hamstring injuries.)

The hamstrings play a critical role in sprinting, throwing and hitting. They are most frequently injured when athletes decelerate or try to control movement. Pitchers usually injure the hamstring on their plant leg, because it absorbs the explosive force from the throw.

Hamstring injuries are preventable if you take the correct action. You need to train your hamstrings eccentrically (i.e., during the lowering part of a movement), build glute strength and develop a strong core before the season starts.

Try incorporating two or three of the following exercises into your lower-body program. Switch them up each workout to continue challenging your hamstrings so you will be ready for the long baseball season.

Romanian Deadlifts

Go heavy, because this exercise strengthens the low back, glutes and hamstrings eccentrically. You can also perform them on a single leg.

Sets/Reps: 5x5 (3x6-10 for single-leg version)

Watch how to perform the RDL here.

Plyometric Bulgarian Split Squats

Instead of simply lowering up and down, hop into the air with your front leg. This improves explosive power and teaches your hamstrings to absorb and store energy.

Sets/Reps: 3x6 each leg

Watch how to perform the standard Bulgarian here.

Nordic Hamstring

This is an extremely challenging exercise. Lower slowly in control to challenge your eccentric strength, then drive off the ground to propel yourself to the starting position. Do this with your body weight, then add resistance as your strength increases.

Sets/Reps: 3x6 (start with 1x5 and progress to 10 reps)

Watch how to perform it here.

Physioball Russian Twists

A strong core is essential for preventing injury. This exercise will strengthen your abs and obliques, while isometrically working your hamstrings. For an additional challenge, hold a med ball or dumbbells.

Sets/Reps: 2-3x10-12 each direction

Watch how to perform it here.

Zercher Squats

This version of the Squat involves cradling the barbell across your elbows. It will strengthen your lower body, core, hamstrings and even your biceps. Put a pad in the crook of your elbows to prevent injury from heavy weight.

Sets/Reps: 4-5x5

Watch how to perform it here.

Sumo Deadlifts

Pure strength is the key to speed and power. This wide-leg version of the Deadlift strengthens the lateral hips, groin, glutes and hamstrings.

Sets/Reps: 5x3

Learn how to perform it here.

Yoga

For baseball players, mobility is extremely important for relieving stress on the hamstrings. Try the Bridge and Downward Dog poses.

Photo: latimes.com

Mo Skelton
- Mo Skelton is a physical therapist at McCurtain Memorial Hospital (Idabel, Okla.) and is the founder of F.A.S.T. Sports Performance. He also serves as...
Mo Skelton
- Mo Skelton is a physical therapist at McCurtain Memorial Hospital (Idabel, Okla.) and is the founder of F.A.S.T. Sports Performance. He also serves as...
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