Prevent Hamstring Strains and Tears

A hamstring tear or strain will cause time off from dancing and limit range of motion, which is especially challenging in dancers.  Recurring tears and strains are common, so here are tips for preventing hamstring tears and strains.
Always warm-up.  Warming-up before dancing or stretching is key to keeping your muscles flexible.  Dancers tend to sit in stretched out positions, but this can strain your muscles if they are cold.  Sitting for prolonged periods in a stretch (like splits) is not going to increase your range of motion, it’s more likely to result in a strain.  Wear warm-up clothes between rehearsals and remember that you may need to re-warm up if you’ve been sitting out too long.
Stretch properly.  Stretching before class can lengthen muscles, but studies show that it may reduce their strength immediately after stretching. If you need to stretch before class, active stretches are a better choice (see videos below).  L A R Physical Therapy is holding a stretching seminar to teach you the difference between active and passive stretching (more information is below).
Strengthen your hamstrings.  Keeping flexible is important, but so is strengthening.  Strong hamstrings will help in dance performance and build your stamina.  Bridging is a great exercise to strengthen hamstrings.
Balance your flexibility.  Most dancers are good at stretching their hamstrings, but are often tight in their rotators, hip flexors, quadriceps and calves.  It is important to stretch these other muscles as well.  Check out     L A R Physical Therapy’s videos for other stretches.
If you have any questions or would like to schedule an appointment to help recover from hamstring injury, call 410.381.1574, or email admin@larpt.com.
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