Isometric Iso-Integration Holds - Upper Hamstring


Any runner that has experienced chronic upper Hamstring pain (right up near the Glut) knows how frustrating and stubborn this injury can be…I saw quite a few in my time as a Sports Physio at the Australian Institute of Sport 20 years ago. Marathoners and sprinters are both affected but perhaps a little more the distance runners due to the repetitive nature of it; sprinters tend to get injuries in the belly of the Hamstring.


Usually there is a region right near the ‘sitting bones’ that is exquisitely tender, and of course deadlifts and squats can really aggravate it. I did write a bit more about the biomechanics of it in the gym in a previous newsletter here:


Tendon Compression: Upper Hamstring


Today let's focus on
  1. De-loading in Training, and
  2. Isometric Iso-Integration for pain relief.

Upper Hamstring De-loaded Training
A ton of research and clever thinking has gone into the careful management of how much load an athletes Hamstring (or a few other muscle groups for that matter, but especially the Hammie) goes through in a given month, week, and even training session - all under the heading of “Load Management”.

But let’s remember that the critical aggravator is actually eccentric load.  Concentric load is a lot gentler on muscle-tendon units. So here are few ideas for De-loading the Upper Hamstring tendons, that hopefully are being used nowadays in elite sports medicine units of football and rugby clubs:

  • minimise any uphill running
  • minimize deadlifting esp at any speed
  • do a ton of Glut Max strength work (see our video today!)
  • shorten stride length in any running training - focus on keeping the landing foot closer to the body, and generating a lifting action rather than pulling action - run light!

This type of running is, of course, a whole science and slow skill-development model that is not new. It’s known in some circles as “Pose Running”.

Isometric Iso-Integration
Ok so this is how you might load the grumpy tendon in the scientifically proven way to reduce its pain….no movement. Isometric HOLDS. Again please remember NO MOVEMENT.

There’s a few ways to do it (see the image below) but many of these i) target the lower Hamstrings, or ii) don’t give the Glut any real chance to activate, or iii) are quite non-functional in their essential movement or position (lets be honest - a bit like Knee Extensions for developing Quad).

Can you pick which are which in this image?




So why not do it in a truly functional position, with tubing at the hip to fire up that lazy Gluteus Maximus?? Remember low pain levels (0-3/10 and lessening as you do them), 10-15 sec HOLDS, and repeat 5-10x depending if you’re doing a warm-up, or going to fatigue.

Are you a passionate Functional Trainer? Come and join me at Australia’s Functional Training Institute Summit on November 17 - check out the topic here:

Lastly - a final call for Jakarta Rehab Training Essentials with me on November 5-7! Couple of spots left…

In training Excellence,

Ulrik