One thing yesterday appeared to cause aggravated pain in my hamstring/groin. I go sit in the grass in a park area near work during lunch. Often I will get up without my hands, hinging through my legs and transferring weight before I rise up.
I went to get up, and quickly noticed that my weight bears/transfers through the exact spot that’s hurt… because it hurt to do it.
Could this be a key contributing factor to my issue? If so, then simply not doing it anymore (or at least turning the other way to get up, or just using my hands to support like most people) would remedy that contributing factor.
It doesn’t heal the issue, obviously, but perhaps this is inhibiting healing.
I haven’t talked about this much but my arms have been kind of sore the last few days. I have some sort of lingering issue in my left deltoid, though I’m certain it’s overuse from everyday life and I’m actively working on not using or bracing on that arm so much.
But the overall soreness was real strange, given I had only done a moderate strength training workout on Monday and nothing else upper-body prior to last Friday. That is, until I remembered I had started using the elliptical a lot more, and that the arm handles require constant movement and work while exercising. Okay then, that would make your arms sore.
In last night’s brief session I made sure to hold the static handles on the front instead of the moving handles, and hopefully they’ll rest up soon. I also forewent my planned push workout, wanted anyway to focus on rehab strength exercises for my legs with the hamstring situation. I don’t have another upper body workout planned before Monday so hopefully that’s enough to heal things up.
Yesterday I researched some functional anatomy and stretching/fascia work, as now I’m thinking a combination of muscular imbalances and possibly impinged nerves are contributing to the hamstring and groin problem, both right now and cumulatively over time. I’m able to move without pain, except with certain movements.
The key anterior hip (front hip) muscles that can contribute to subsequent hamstring overwork, imbalances and pain are the (illi)psoas and iliacus. Obviously, the glutes in the rear are important as well, but it’s often tightness and inhibition of these deep superficial anterior hip muscles that lead to the glutes not sufficiently working and the hamstring etc therefore overworking and straining.
Having dealt with some degree of anterior pelvic tilt my entire life, I know for sure these anterior hip muscles are tight and overactive, and need to be extended. I admit I haven’t worked on these as much in recent months as I’ve ramped up training. And apparently I am paying the price as my hamstring begins to act up, a common ripple effect when you combine the tilt with added training volume.
There are four things you can do to actively combat this without pain:
- Leg Swings. I do these sometimes as a running warmup and cooldown, but doing them more regularly as a limber-up exercise will help release the anterior hip and hamstring complex, plus activate the glutes. Also, if the hamstring is in fact injured, it will help loosen up adhesions and scar tissue along the affected areas.
- The Psoas Stretch. This kneeling stretch (shown on right) isolates and extends the often tight and inhibited psoas muscle. Typically, you’d avoid static stretching ahead of any physical activity. But when it comes to tight overactive muscles like my anterior hip muscles, stretching them before a workout inhibits them and this can actually help engage the muscles that are being inhibited from these tight muscles being tight… like, in this case, my glutes. It also can help release the over-extension and tightness in my hamstrings and groin, while relieving them of the overwork that has caused my current issues.
- The Iliacus Stretch. This is similar to the Psoas Stretch. The difference is that the rear foot is elevated to accent the Psoas, while laying the foot and shin flat on the ground accents the iliacus. What you see in the image mixes both worlds.
- Fascia rolling with a ball. I use the Orb Extreme Mini (pictured right), a rippled massage ball the size of a tennis ball that’s much better at what people generally use a tennis/lacrosse ball for. I’ll sit or lay on top of it with the ball under whatever muscle group I want to massage, sometimes moving along it to roll out the muscle. This helps loosen and release fascial adhesions along harder to reach muscles, much better than foam rolling. I’ll sometimes sit on this to help massage my hamstring, and I hadn’t used it much until just recently.
So I went to work with these four approaches last night and this morning, and while my hamstring needs time either way, all of the above have certainly helped me feel better than I otherwise had.
In particular, one crazy Let’s-Runner on their Message Board once claimed his hamstring problem went away in three days with nothing more than leg swings. I don’t know about that, but I’ve certainly felt better doing those throughout the day.
I’m still not convinced this weekend’s going to be a wash, and that I won’t just have to shut everything down for a few days. But I’m also still not convinced that somehow my aggressive recovery (this plus nutrition and vitamins plus rest and good sleep) won’t quickly turn things around in three days. I’ve had quick recoveries before, and even my prior hamstring injury from 2019 was healed enough to run again after a bit over a week of rest. But I totally realize how these issues can compound into serious problems if you don’t recover and rest enough.
Now, I don’t plan to run today or tomorrow, and as mentioned Saturday is a total rest day. I’ll even scale back my walking routes on work breaks today to minimize any need to jog across a street or similar.
At the gym tonight, I’m going to forego aerobic cross training for a full slate of dynamic and static recovery stretches and some easy rehab exercises. Barring a miraculous recovery, tomorrow will be more of the same even if I’m feeling better.
As mentioned, I have to decide by Friday evening if I’m going to cancel my weekend trip (after which I could not get a refund). To some degree, I would definitely scale back my planned long run either way, whether the outright volume or to make it a long Galloway-style run-walk session. I’d at least want to be able to walk a while without any issues. I’ll see how today and tomorrow feel.