How sore should my hamstring be during rehab?

Pulled it last spring, did a fairly quick rehab (about a month/month-and-half) of assorted bodyweight exercises and recovered enough to PR about 3 months after the pull.

Pulled it again late this spring and it really affected my performance. It was about two weeks before my last meet and I decided to just keep training and competing. I guess that made it worse.

I wasn’t experiencing pain or soreness except when sprinting- and, even then, the feeling was more of an intense tightness with only some pain thrown in.

Now I’m rehabbing it again (for the past 3 weeks), doing the bodyweight exercises and some lightweight eccentric hamstring curls. I’ve recently added in 10m runs from a standing start. During this period, I’ve been feeling a lot of soreness and tightness all day. So it actually feels worse now than it did when I wasn’t rehabbing it. I don’t recall this sort of pain last spring.

Am I overworking it or is this a natural thing?

From my experience everything depends on where the injury happened (area of the muscles and severity of the injury)
With programme in place, 2nd degree might take around three months. First degree might take from couple to a several weeks depends on the area.

My thoughts are from what you have posted above that your gluteus are not firing enough, consequently hip extension comes from using your hams.
So you’ll be quite sore. You have to manage it, soreness after session is OK, talking here about reasonable one not the one that you cannot walk.

Thanks. I guess I’m somewhere between first and second degree, if a first degree strain is defined as one that affects only a few fibers/can be localized with one finger. The pain covers a nice little patch of muscle towards the outside of the biceps femoris, about halfway between the glute and the knee.

I don’t actually limp, I don’t think, and there’s no visible bruising.

Right now I’m doing the bodyweight exercises daily and the eccentric curls and sprints every other day.

Sounds as if you never had adequate soft tissue work done following the first incident. This would offer one explanation for the number of recurrences in addition to the feeling of tightness.

While some might debate the principle, it is only logical to me to go with the idea that any scar tissue that forms will do so asynchronously with respect to the directionality of skeletal muscle fiber. In this way, competent soft tissue work may facilitate the proper alignment of the tissues and mitigate the future structural stress that might occur resultant of asynchronously formed tissue that places increased load around the injury sight.

As from the mis-regulation of loading (which is no doubt a major factor), it is my strong belief that lack of soft tissue work is a major player with respect to the recurrence of soft tissue injury.

Just another thought.
Look at your mechanics, talking here about what’s your foot is doing while touching ground, during force application and when it is leaving the ground. Without video footage is hard to assess I am only assuming that one of the reasons as to why it might happened in the first place is that your foot changing position during force application, heel is turning in, at the same time there is huge change in load around hams. It just a thought.
James pointed out tissue work which is essential.

Belly of the muscle shouldn’t take too long to recover as there is plenty of circulation and muscles fibre around injured area.
Just a quick question. What’s your mobility around hip joint?

My mobility there could be better, but it’s not awful. One of my goals for this season is to spend quite a bit more time on mobility.
I’ll post videos of my mechanics (a) now, and (b) when I was running fast (couple of months after first incident).

The misregulation of loading was probably the direct cause of the re-injury. Way too much intense work in the competition season, and especially way too much heavy lifting. It didn’t just result in injury either: there was also a ton of CNS burnout. Everything just dropped to zero at a certain point.

I don’t know who I would trust to help me with soft tissue work here

You can do cross friction massage yourself. If you’re not sure how to check YouTube for some videos

About 3 weeks ago, with injured hamstring:


Last spring, about 2.5-3 months after hamstring pull. I’m the white guy in all white.

These probably aren’t terribly helpful because of the low quality of the videos.

Robin: looking it up now.

Do you have any videos from the front and back view?
Training one is good too.

I don’t think I have any like that, no. I’ll get some when I start running again…which is hopefully in two weeks.


Scar tissue grabs healthy tissue if the tissue has not been properly looked after.
The progression of training as you heal is very important.
You might need to back up a bit, get some cross sectional massage ( apparently it’s very painful) and then progress the runs.
I will give you the link for the blog I wrote from Gerard’s book that Charlie based his rehab on.

Much debate about hamstring rehab

The following page has been copied from Gerard Mach’s book on Sprints and Hurdles( no longer in print) from 1980 when Gerard was the Head Coach of the CTFA . Charlie was strongly influenced by Gerard and gave him a great deal of credit for his success as both an athlete and coach.
While I have not included Charlie’s ideas in this article I wanted to share this as I want people to see where some of Charlie’s ideas came from.
Further information regarding Gerard can be read in " Speed Trap" available in the store and Amazon but Charlie also talks about Gerard’s influence in his Training Manual I am currently scanning to be made available on Amazon as well as this site.
Post September 1988 Seoul Korea athletes and teams were reluctant to work with Charlie. The Vermeil brother’s ( Dick and Al ) recommendations brought many veteran professional athlete’s seeking Charlie’s extensive experience dealing with consequences of overtraining with specific attention to repeat hamstring injuries. Charlie taught his clients that careful and methodical treatment will allow even the most severe tear to heal in a 10 day period. Charlie also enforced the idea that scar tissue needs to be properly managed as to prevent related injuries pulling from the original scar tissue.
I have tried with no success to contact Gerard. His contribution to athletics in Canada and the world has been significant.
Angela Coon
Injuries and Injury Prevention in Sprinting and Hurdle Events
The most common and typical injuries in the sprinting events are hamstring pulls, shin splints and Achilles tendon problems. All injuries are basically the result of too intensive training programs or through training programs executed on too hard surfaces for too long a period of time.
The first symptom of tiredness by a sprinter will be a slight soreness of the hamstring muscle and the calf muscle.
A normal massage and easier training the days before competition should eliminate these small problems.
Negligence in the first phase might provide bigger problems later, because of the fact that the muscles are flexible. The muscle stress during work stiffens muscles and shifts more and more to the distal parts, going from the calf muscles down through to the Achilles tendons.
In this phase of injury, a daily special “sprint” massage should be performed to prevent a more serious injury. The training should be changed with less speed work and intensity. At that time, as well as with shin splints, the training should be directed to a training program where other muscle parts can be involved and the running program would be easier on softer ground (grass).
Training After a Hamstring Pull
Immediately after a hamstring injury, where some muscle fibres are torn or ruptured, an ice compress should be used to stop internal bleeding. The first day after the injury should be a passive rest. The second day’s activity will depend on the extent of the injury.
An assessment of the next competition must be made. For the sprinter, it is usually possible within two or three weeks to have a race at 200m. This must be done with a limited 30-40m acceleration and maintenance of speed.
For the 400m runners, a 400m race in 10 to 14 days, with a limited acceleration distance of 30m from the starting blocks is usually possible. A limited acceleration distance means the athlete must be under the maximum speed without the maximum stride length. Under those circumstances, to perform well, the athlete should be in good specialized training condition to maintain the limited speed over the 200 or 400m distance.
On the second day after a hamstring pull, the athlete is able to execute the following workout:
One Leg Marching – power speed and strength endurance where the injured leg doesn’t work.
One Leg Skipping – power speed and strength endurance where the injured leg doesn’t work.
One Leg Exercise – power speed and strength endurance where the injured leg doesn’t work.
Exercises without extensions, jumps and bounding. Some medicine ball exercises in sitting and lying positions in which the hamstring muscles are not actively engaged. Some weight exercises – where the hamstring isn’t actively engaged.
After 3 – 4 Days:

  • Both legs marching in power sped and strength endurance.
  • Both legs skipping – in power speed and strength endurance form.
  • Both legs A exercise – in power speed endurance.
  • No extention – jumps or boundings
  • Medicine ball exercises
  • Weight exercises
  • Running in tempo in interval for limited distances:
    2 x 10m
    4 x 10m
    6 x 20m
    6 x 20m
    8 x 20m
    10 x 20m
    etc. down to 2 x 20m
    After 5 – 6 Days:
  • All exercises like before plus tempo
    2 x 30m
    4 x 30m
    6 x 30m
    8 x 30m
    10 x 30m
    etc. down to 2 x 30m
    acceleration repetition 6 x 20m
    After 7 – 8 Days:
    Workout like above and acceleration 20m and maintain limited speed 100 – 200 – 300m. Starts from starting blocks 20m.
    After 9 – 10 Days:
    Workout as above and starts from starting blocks 30m or 40m competition (30m acceleration)
    The Following Days:
    Normal training with the speed limitation. From 6-8 days, massage of injured muscle may be started.
    After good races at 200m the sprinter might compete again in the 100m.

Thanks, Ange. I’ve been doing the marching plus the acceleration progressions. Very tight this morning when I was doing those accelerations and I think I’m going to lay off more rehab work today and tomorrow, except for some self massage.

One of the things I have learned in the past decade stylee is the importance of improving your general chemistry. Are you healing fast? If not why? How do you know if you are a fast healer? What sort of things influence your ability to heal and recover?
In part eating well is important.
One of the concepts I have learned has been " is your digestion broken"?
Eating crap , aging and taking over the counter pills like anti inflams or any medications damage your ability to properly and effectively digest food well.
So it’s not all about eating well.
First you might have to heal your digestion.
It’s in part about understanding how you digest and uptake the food and nutrients you are consuming.
Tightness is in part a function of inflammation. I would research inflammation and understand this more if you have not already.
Over training causes inflammation. Stress causes inflammation.
Water can reduce inflammation . Drinking water, soaking in water, using temperature changes in water. Water heals and drinking water removes waste in the body which causes inflammation.
I used to watch Ben eat and his diet was typical for someone living in the islands. Lots of organ meat, boiled veggies , fish , beans and rice and peas. He grew up eating complex carbs like yams and sweet potatoes. I am not saying this diet works for everyone but it’s text book good eating for wellness, longevity and living well.