Hamstring Strains and Pelvic Positioning During Running

I have seen a string of hamstrings pains in runners lately, so I thought I would make a post regarding how faulty running mechanics can increase the risk of hamstring strains.  There are many other causes of hamstring strains that I have not listed in this post.  Here, I just want to stick to pelvic positioning.

Keep in mind that the hamstrings are under the greatest tension at approximately the point of terminal swing, or a fraction of a second before the leg hits the ground [1,2,].  Also keep in mind that lack of hamstring flexibility has not been shown to be a risk factor [3,4].

The bulk of this post is in the video below, so please watch it.  There is a point to the video and that is, if I told you that a “delayed swing leg, poor abdominal stabilization or restriction in the anterior of the femoracetabular hip capsule on the train leg causes the ischial tuberosity to move posterior via an anterior pelvic tilt which increases hamstring tension in the leading leg”….you probably wouldn’t get it, or would have to think about it.  Instead, just watch the video – it’s easier to understand.

Running mechanics are so important, as pointed out in this recent 2013 study published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine. They followed a 26 y.o. footballer (aka “soccer player”) who had no less than 5 hamstrings strains in one season that kept taking him out of action. He had 4 MRI’s and lots of therapy on the hamstring. It wasn’t until they took a comprehensive approach – looking at his biomechanics, going through a lot of abdominal stabilization training and other factors that he returned to the sport without the hamstring tearing again. Lesson to be learned: treating the injured hamstring in isolation from the rest of the body did nothing!


1 Heiderscheit et al., Identifying the time of occurrence of a hamstring strain injury during treadmill running: a case study. Clinical Biomechanics 20 (2005) 1072–1078
2 Thelen, D.G., Chumanov, E.S., Hoerth, D.M., Best, T.M., Swanson, S.C., Li, L., Young, M., Heiderscheit, B.C., 2005. Hamstring muscle kinematics during treadmill sprinting. Med. Sci. Sports Exerc. 37, 108–114.
3 Gabbe BJ, Bennell KL, Finch CF, Wajswelner H, and Orchard JW, Predictors of hamstring injury at the elite level of Australian football. Scand J Med Sci Sports 16: 7–13, 2006.
4 Gabbe BJ, Finch CF, Bennell KL, and Wajswelner H. Risk factors for hamstring injuries in community level Australian football. Br J Sports Med 39: 106–110, 2005.