Hill sprints & lower hamstring injuries

Hill sprints are said to be less likely to result in hamstring injury due to the feet landing below the centre of gravity and the fact that speed is lower than when sprinting on a flat surface.
However, from personal experience, I have suffered several lower hamstring injuries when doing hill sprints so now avoid them for this reason. I’m curious to know if anyone here has experienced or witnessed in other athletes, lower hamstring injuries when doing hill sprints?

I know what you mean. I know whenever I do a lot of hills/sled work my biceps femoris tendon gets a little inflamed, but when I progress to more top speed work it goes away.

Is your pain also near the biceps femoris tendon? (lower outer portion of the hamstring)

Yes that’s where it is. I’ve had 3 strains at the lower biceps femoris near the musculotendinous junction. I thought that perhaps the first 2 were caused by wearing long spikes when I was sprinting up a grass hill, but then I strained the other biceps femoris (near the tendon again) when I was sprinting up a hill in running flats.

It would be prudent for the two of you to post video of your hill sprints. Indeed it is rare for a hamstring issue to result when sprinting hills due to the quadricep dominant stress of sprinting up an incline. Similar to a short acceleration on the flat, the knee of the support leg is substantially bent when GCT is made and by the time the support knee is extended the plum line from the hips is well in front of the point of GCT. Of course the degree of the slope must be taken into account.

Now, on the flat, one of the biomechanical causes of distal hamstring stress is low hip height during GCT. In this case, GCT is made farther in front of the hips and the braking forces increase around the distal hamstring. While the hill would mitigate the breaking forces, they would still be a factor so it is possible that you’re “sitting” at the hips on the hill and/or over striding.

Thanks, James. Unfortunately I don’t have any video footage and due to my previous hamstring injuries, I’m reluctant to sprint up a hill again. It might be important to mention that each time I strained my biceps femoris, it was toward the top of the hill when I was probably fatigued and perhaps overstriding to compensate.
On another note, I’ve had multiple adductor strains on both legs when doing accelerations and block starts. Do you think that this is an unusual occurrence too?

The amount of possible causes will certainly be reduced following a video analysis. As for your multiple adductor strains in both legs during accels and block starts- also not a high occurrence which similarly begs for mechanical analysis as well as brings your warm up and overall programming into question.

Yes, I’ve had a few over the years with ham issues from hills and not over anything particularly steep either. In my experience, when posture is improved (just as you would want for any athlete running on a flat surface) and the athletes are cued not to push into the hill but to push up (lift themselves) over the hill that generally corrects overstriding/braking and reduces ground contact time and takes the stress off of the hams. Because of the incline they have to lean anyways so it’s not really an issue, that I’ve seen, of needing them to work especially hard to try to hit some ideal acceleration position as the hill creates that for the athlete.

Neospeed, I am not sure running hills are said to be less likely to result in hamstring injuries. I understand that if you are running slower the likely hood is reduced. But… isn’t the main issue pre existing scar tissue combined with lots of tightness? this in turn will erode a person’s technical abilities? Do you remember how running hills felt when you are at your all time best? This feeling can be useful for someone who trains without others watching. Did you know that almost every single professional athlete minus Tim and Marion that came to us ( Charlie, I was making the burgers and meals and playing house wife;) did so to " fix" a hamstring injury. And how were these potential " career" ending injuries addressed? Therapy by someone who could remove scar tissue from the effected area ( you seem to know where you have the issues) and the combine this with a re do of proper mechanical drills , leading into running over 10 meters, and progressions over longer distances. Treat your hamstrings for extreme tightness, use contrast baths, the pool and if you have EMS available on something like Active REcovery, you may be able to make some strides to get to the point of at least doing different. Does any of this make sense to you?