Hamstring Injuries in Athletes

Hamstring Injuries in Athletes

Hamstring Injuries in Athletes

Jack came in last week and brought with him the ‘Nordbord’ or hamstring testing apparatus. This was specifically designed to assess athletes’ isometric hamstring strength vs their eccentric strength.
The test involves kneeling on a pad with your heels through 2 straps that are connected to pressure senses that collect data to a computer.

You are first asked to do an isometric contraction (contracting your hamstrings without lengthening or shortening the muscle). Then you are asked to complete an eccentric load which involves keeping your knees and ankles grounded by the straps and your body falling buy ambien 10 mg forward as slowly and as far as you can before letting go. The computer then generates a comparison between your isometric control and your eccentric control.
Ideally your eccentric strength should be better than your isometric strength and knowing this information is vital for preventing hamstring tears which are all too common in many sports! From the data a specific exercise plan can be prescribed.

Thanks for sharing with us Jack! Good luck with testing all of the athletes!

Check out this article on the QUT researchers that came up with the idea of the NordBord

http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2014-09/quot-rht092814.php ” title=”Nordboard” target=”_blank”


Pelvic Floor: Part One

Pelvic Floor: Part One

Don’t Forget Your Pelvic Floor!

If you or someone you care for experiences bladder or bowel control problems, you’re certainly not alone. In fact, over 4.8 million Australians experience bladder or bowel control problems.
Urinary incontinence affects up to 13% men and 37% of women in Australia alone and 70% of these people do not seek advice or treatment.

The most common risk factors of developing urinary incontinence are:
-Pregnancy (pre and post natal)
-Urinary tract infections
-Surgeries such as prostatectomy and hysterectomy
-Reduced mobility due to neurological or musculo-skeletal conditions
-Health conditions such as heart disease/diabetes/stroke

Incontinence of any level is nothing to be embarrassed about, this is a real problem and it is very important to seek help and advice.

Your pelvic floor is a secondary control of your bladder. The urethra sphincter (muscle that controls amount of urine expelled from the bladder) is stretched during childbirth and so we rely heavily on the pelvic floor to take the rest of the slack. Strengthening your pelvic floor is a must pre and post pregnancy.

We are lucky enough to have access to Real-time Ultrasound and use this as a tool to assess your ability to activate your pelvic floor. From here we are able to prescribe the right exercises for you and we can teach you how to improve your pelvic floor for prevention or treatment of urinary incontinence.

Next week we will post more information on how to go about improving your pelvic floor and what not to do! So stay tuned!

Don’t forget to ask one of our Physiotherapists or Exercise Physiologists about a Pelvic Floor assessment.

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Article by Beth Chiuchiarelli, Exercise Phsiologist at MD Health

Eccentric Based Strengthening

Eccentric Based Strengthening

Eccentric Based Strengthening – proven to increase flexibility and reduce lower limb injury according to recent studies!

Stretching may be a thing  of the past according to a recent review  that looks at the effects of eccentric  (lengthening the muscle under load) training for increased strength,  flexibility and overall reduced risk of lower limb injuries.

There are many factors that contribute to lower limb injuries some of which are poor neuromuscular control, reduced strength, poor joint range of motion and reduced flexibility.

In the past stretching was believed to be an important part of injury rehabilitation and that it could reduce the time until return to sport and it has been an encouraged activity during a warm up and cool down for many sports for years.

Most current studies suggest that stretching is ineffective at reducing injury risk, post exercise muscle soreness and improving performance. In actual fact, stretching has been shown to be a cause of injury if done during a warm up. Stretching reduces  the contractile ability of the muscle and therefore decreases the stability of the joint.

So… If poor flexibility and range of motion are risk factors of lower limb injuries how can we improve this without stretching?

According to a review of 6 studies of the lower limb it showed consistent evidence that eccentric training increases range of motion with joint stability.

What is eccentric training?

eccentric-concentric1 bicep

All movements that we do with our body have a concentric (muscle shortening) phase and eccentric (muscle lengthening) phase.  For example when completing a bicep curl the concentric phase is lifting the weight towards to shoulder (muscle is shortening whilst contracting) and the eccentric phase is straightening the elbow again (muscle is lengthening whilst contracting).

Sarcomerogenesis is the most likely reason why a muscle can improve in flexibility after eccentric training. It is where there is a prolonged shift in the muscle length-tension curve and the muscle adapts to the mild damage that is caused by eccentric training. This then improves the generation of torque a muscle can provide as well as reduce the chance of injury in an extended joint position.

Next time you decide to push yourself into a painful stretch think about whether this could be detrimental to your muscles and joints. Ask how we can help you complete some eccentrically loaded exercises to improve your flexibility.

Written by Beth Chiuchiarelli – Exercise Physiologist

Work Out Tip – How Many Sets/Reps Should I Complete

Work Out Tip – How Many Sets/Reps Should I Complete

The number of sets and reps that you do for each exercise is highly dependent on what you are wanting to achieve out of your training program.

Someone who plays a high intensity, power based team sport such as netball or basketball would ideally want to increase their strength and then progress to improve their power and speed. However, perhaps you enjoy hiking or running marathons where endurance based program is more suited to allow you to continue at a constant speed for longer.

Here is a description of each fitness goal to allow you to select the correct sets and reps for your gym program:

• Endurance- Ability to maintain a certain activity at a constant speed for longer
• Hypertrophy – Increasing the size of a muscle
• Strength – Ability to move a certain amount of weight
• Power – Ability to more a certain amount of weight quickly

The following table demonstrates the required number of sets and reps needed to focus on each specific goal:

Fitness goal Sets Repetitions Rest between sets
Endurance 3 15-20 30 sec
Hypertrophy 3-4 8-12 1 min
Strength 4-5 6-8 2 min
Power/Speed 5-6 6-8 2-4 minutes

Make sure you read our previous article ‘What weight should I choose’ http://www.mdhealth.com.au/weight-using/ and you will be able to apply this general rule of weight selection:

“If the last 2 reps of each set are hard to complete without losing technique you have the correct weight however, if it was too easy to complete or you could not complete all of the repetitions your weight is too light or too heavy!”

Written by Beth Chiuchiarelli
Exercise Physiologist at MD Health

Common Exercise Technique Mistakes: Chin Ups

Common Exercise Technique Mistakes: Chin Ups

Common Exercise Technique Mistakes: Chin Ups

The Chin up is a fantastic upper body exercise using your own body weight as the resistance. If you have never tried a chin up before prepare for hard work! It is not easy!
It requires the use of various muscle groups from the shoulders, arms, back and core
You need some strength and stability of the shoulder girdle to complete a chin up correctly. Without stability of the shoulder joint and strength of the surrounding muscles it is impossible to complete a chin up correctly.
To get the benefit of a chin up it is extremely important to be able to maintain control and good posture throughout the movement.

Common Errors in the Chin Up

1. Using momentum – Swinging your legs to give you more lift upwards assists your upper body however doesn’t allow for improvements in strength and stability – slow controlled movements will activate more muscle fibres and in turn improve your upper body strength.

2. Shoulders positioned forward – you must keep your shoulders back and chest lifted.

3. Legs should be positioned straight below the torso not swinging forward.



If you can only do 1 chin up correctly – practice this until you can complete 2 chin ups and so forth
Don’t continue a poor chin up you will not improve and may cause yourself a shoulder injury.

Five Technique Tips for the Beginner:

1. Have your palms facing you when holding onto the bar – this will incorporate your bicep muscles and is an easier form of the chin up

2. Firstly trial eccentric chin ups – jump up so you holding yourself on the bar then slowly lower yourself down until your elbows are full extended.

3. Activate your glutes (buttocks muscles) and core muscles this will help to keep your spine in a neutral position and to prevent your legs from swinging forwards.

4. Slowly lift  yourself towards the bar continuing to maintain this posture then slowly lower yourself until you have reached near to full elbow extension.

5. Repeat as many as you can with this posture! If you cannot maintain technique.  REST!

Chin Up

Can’t do a chin up? – TRY THIS FIRST!

Eccentric chin ups!

1. Instead of lifting yourself towards the bar try to jump up and hold yourself then as slow as you can lower yourself to the ground.

  • Remember to maintain good posture (chest lifted slightly, shoulder back and down )
  • Only lower yourself to the point at which you lose your technique. Continue with this until you can lower yourself all the way down.
  • Once you can do the above correctly – try a full chin up !

Check out this video demonstration – http://https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vJuaVxs-J2s

Written by Beth Chiuchiarelli
Exercise Physiologist at MD Health

Exercise Myths Busted

Exercise Myths Busted

Exercise Myths Busted

Are Squats Bad for My Knees?

Should I Squat?

Yes! A squat is a very functional movement that we use on a daily basis. If you think about it we do a squat every time we go to the toilet, sit on a chair or get in or out of bed.

Squatting is a safe way to position your body in order to lift something heavy so that your lower back is not taking the full load and your hips, knees and ankles help to divide the load over your centre of gravity.

Why Do My Knees Hurt When I Squat?

Squats should not hurt your knees if you are doing it correctly.

Here is Beth demonstrating bad technique vs good technique

Can you see the difference?

Squat Technique example 2

Technique is the key!- Squatting is great for your knees as it incorporates your gluteal muscles (buttocks) as well as your accutane online quadriceps muscles (knees). If these muscles work together they can provide a lot of support to your hips and knees. Your knees will love you for squatting, but it must be done properly!

So Remember…

1. Feet should be hip width apart
2. Back should be straight, not curved forward
3. Stick your bottom back so your knees do not go over your toes
4. Bend at the knees and hips
5. Dig your heels into the floor to then stand back up by straightening your knees and bringing your hips forward

Post a picture or YOUR squat and we can help correct your technique! Email it to admin@mdhealth.com.au

Ask us if you need help with your squats! Or see our videos for help!

Click the link to watch:

The Perfect Squat for Beginners

The Perfect Squat – Intermediate & Advanced

Article written by Beth Chiuachiarelli
Exercise Physiologist at MD Health