Hamstring Cramps? Strengthen the Glutes!
We train a number of endurance athletes here at Efficient Exercise, and if there’s a single strength-deficient commonality within this community it’s this: a weak posterior chain relative to quadriceps strength. That is to say, the glutes, hamstrings and erector spinae musculature are not shouldering their proper proportion of the overall bodily load burden, whether that “load sharing” occurs during a single, maximal effort lift, or (and more specifically to the endurance community), during the repetitive pounding/force absorption experienced due to logging training and/or competition miles. This overall strength imbalance can eventually manifest as joint pain (especially around the hip, knee, ankle and lower back) and/or muscle pulls, strains and cramping in the musculature of the posterior chain. See this case report abstract (Strengthening and Neuromuscular Reeducation of the Gluteus Maximus in a Triathlete With Exercise-Associated Cramping of the Hamstrings), from The Journal of Orthopaetic & Sports Physical Therapy.
The antidote, of course, is smartly programmed strength training, the kind of which each and every Efficient Exercise client receives.