Painful hamstring cramps?

Discussion in 'Health and Fitness' started by Ferret, Jun 18, 2009.

  1. Ferret

    Ferret Valued Member

    I get very painful hamstring cramps when stretching my quads (standing on one foot, grabbing other foot type stretch). Almost to the point where I struggle to get my leg straight again! Is this caused by tight hamstrings?
    Would stretching them out every day help with cramps?

    Thanks :)
  2. Van Zandt

    Van Zandt Mr. High Kick

    Does it occur after exercise? If so, I've experienced the same sensation (usually after being sat in a cramped car for five hours driving back from a Taekwondo tournament). It is not a pleasant feeling.

    There are several factors that contribute to cramps, including injury, fatigue (repetitive use), exercising beyond what you can handle, dehydration, low mineral levels (calcium, magnesium, etc), and lack of sleep (mental fatigue has been shown to cause nerve endings to fire off spontaneously, and quite violently). I would recommend the following, in any order of importance:

    - Get adequate rest between workouts. Avoid exercising any muscle that is sore from a previous workout.
    - Have a balanced diet, getting the correct levels of vitamins & minerals.
    - Sleep 7-9 hours per night.
    - Drink plenty of fluids (at least 1 litre per hour of exercise).
    - Train within your limits.
    - Stretch your hamstrings before quads.
    - Don't neglect strength training for the hamstrings.
    - If pain is present following cramp, RICE it.
  3. Ferret

    Ferret Valued Member

    I've not noticed it occuring right after exercise, just either when i'm stretching in class, or the day after. Actually, pretty much any time I try to do that particular stretch!

    I will look into getting some more minerals, I had no idea they affected muscles!

    As for strength training for hamstrings, can you give me some examples of things I can do outside of training?

    And thank you once again!
  4. Van Zandt

    Van Zandt Mr. High Kick

    My guess then is that it's more to do with lack of strength in the hamstrings. The following exercises should help:

    [ame=""]YouTube - Deadlift Tutorial[/ame]

    [ame=""]YouTube - Good Mornings[/ame]

    [ame=""]YouTube - How to Use an Exercise Ball : Strengthening Your Hamstrings Using an Exercise Ball[/ame]

    For the time being avoid quad stretches that cause your hamstring to contract during the movement. A front split with the knee of the rear leg facing straight down into the floor is a good example. It also targets the hamstring of your front leg, and so saves time.
  5. righty

    righty Valued Member

    To stretch the quad you can also try the same thing as you are doing, but lie on your side on the floor. You aren't fighting against gravity that way and don't have to worry so much about balance. The trick is to stretch it using your arms only (not the strength in your hamstrings).

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