Adjusting Weights Volume During Injury

In Speed Trap Charlie tells how Ben in 1987/88 pre-season, unable to sprint due to a hamstring injury, continued with an extensive weight training program.

Charlie, how was the volume of Ben’s weight training program adjusted to allow for lack of sprint training stimulus.

Forum, how should a weights program be adjusted during such a period of injury?And more generally, what can be prescribed to allow an athlete to come back from injury as close to 100% fitness as possible?

Weights? Maintain Tempo Volume (permitting)? Upper Body Circuits? Abs. ? Thoughts?

I think we could learn a lot from this discussion. Charlie touched on this briefly at the NC seminar. I don’t think people realize how bad Ben’s hamstring injury was. I certainly didn’t. According to Charlie, not only could Ben not sprint, he couldn’t drive his car or barely walk up stairs. That’s how bad it was. So Ben had to maintain fitness and power with virtually no lower body training. I think if we can learn how to deal with that kind of extreme situation, less serious injuries will seem much easier to work around.

The coach & athlete have a variety of solutions to solve this problem. Different routes include working on problem areas, continuing to build your strengths, and focus on core development. As we have stated in the past, pool work is generally an effective modality that simulates energy system demands placed on the body during sprinting. Also, if an athlete is overfat/weight, a coach can introduce more circuit type work to cut into this. Weights should be kept up to focus on keeping maximal strength as well as maintaining freshness of the CNS.

Forgot to mention the use of EMS during this time off.

I am wondering if one could perform upper body hypertrophy work during an injury for later strength gains ?

Prehaps some of the other senior members may be able to chime in on this. It is a very important issue as injury will affect an athlete at least once in his/her career and it is very important to be able to come back strong.
Many athletes waste time when they are out through injury and a whole years training can go down the tubes. :frowning:

Why go into hypertrophy unless it is needed? What about maximal or power work?

^ bump

Charlie/ Dcw, great if you could share any thoughts on the above.

A number of points …

It obviously depends on the type and degree of injury - but assuming a severe HS injury I would argue for the need to avoid driving.
Some well known UK soccer players have been given specially designed car seats and changed to automatic transmissions to prevent periods of static contraction that might inflict stress on the HS muslces and leave them mmore fatiqued and susceptibile to injury.

I would agree - why use hyper? - I would use a strength approach as the increased weight would not be benefical as a return to running resumes.

Perhaps if possible use movements that may demand isometric strength?

It’s something I have spent a little time thinking about and used briefly the last time I strained my HS.

Take the Standing Upright Row - in order to hold a steady position the core and legs must be strong and stable and the isometric strength being used here could be of some benefit to the HS ???

(Of course use good hydrotherapy protocols after to minimise inflamation --)

Interesting you should mention UpRows - I was thinking of Bent Over Barbell Rows for the exact same purpose. Depending on degree of injury, though, may be too much…


I did use those later, but with a heavy weight the stress can be little too much on the HS, especially lifting for strength, but with a light weight might be good, again the key factor i would imagine would be recovery and ice.

The first thing to do is ice that hammy non-stop for 5 days not the usual 2-3. Icing for 30 minutes on and 45 minutes off for the first 2 days and then for the next 3 days do the same thing except deep-friction massage yourself after every 3rd icing to prevent a bigger adhesion on the muscle. The reason you deep-friction massage after every third icing is; First you don’t feel the pain of the massage, Secondly you prevent a bigger adhesion (knot) then necessary by breaking down the scartissue when the muscle is cold and realigning it properly (i.e. lengthwise on the hamstring muscle meaning you push your two big fingers sideways across the hamstring, if you were standing up this would be on the horizontal plane, but do the massage lying/sitting down). After that you allow the muscle to heal some more and then apply deep-friction 1 week later one more time and this time ice your hamstring afterwards not before. When conducting deep-friction massage, don’t go over 2 minutes. Then the normal application of heat. Ask a physiotherapist about deep-friction massage for more info. This technique helped me recover in one third faster the time.

Finally see a top-notch physiotherapist, who will start with ultrasound as well as EMS for the first two weeks and then after as recommended. Then probably get the injured person to do a couple of hamstring curls on a swiss ball with the person’s own bodyweight with his back on the ground; moreover, 3 sets of 10-20 reps, gradually increasing reps the stronger the person becomes. After that, whatever the physiotherapist suggests, possibly hamstring curls on a machine.

Important note: Try to walk as least as possible in the first two weeks. I pulled/partially-ruptured each hamstring for various reasons and my recovery on each one took about 4-6 weeks, with me being a 100% after 6 weeks. I would not recommend any type of lifting involving the hamstrings as stabilizers because we do not know how much damage this will do to the hamstrings. Play it safe. Start light jogging after 4 weeks and then every week gradually increase the intensity. This is one of the worst possible injuries for a sprinter, remember Jackie Joyner Kersee. Depending on what phase your in, you might consider this a transition phase and focus on a Transition Phase with Regeneration.

If your not close to a transition phase, then work on strength/power for the upper body; for example, bench press, dips with no weight until after the 4th week, powerdips, pullups, latpullups or pulldowns, hyperextensions, seated calve press. All the exercises mentioned above put no stress on the hamstrings and all these exercises can be done after the first 10-14 days. Again do not lift 45lb plates and such, get a friend to do put on the plates for you in weeks 2-3, after that use your discretion on how much weight you can lift from a rack and walkover and then put the weight on the machine.

And yes you can take advice from somebody who pulled both hammys. The reason I pulled the first hammy is because I did Romanian Deadlifts on a bench for the first time (with a 135lbs) the day before as well as heavy Squats and hamstring curls. The second time I pulled a hammy is when I sprinted after a baseball game and 3 hours before my game, I did a jumpsquats in the water. I wasn’t to bright in those days.

i too have pulled a hammie, whilst sprinting on a beach. i heard it snap too. had to walk home, a 5min walk, turned into 1/2hr. iced. used a gentle pulsing tens machine. then, each and every day after, i tried to run. 1st day, more like hopping everywhere, nearlly cried from pain everytime. by a week, i could run with still a big limp. still icing after each session. was trying to do, 10 50m efforts. after 1mnth, i was running 95% speed again. went to physio after wk 3-4, said could feel very small amount of scar tissue. after 6wks, they could find no evidence of scare tissue whatsoever. never had any problems since with hammies. no weak spot. Just dont let that scar tissue to form.