Exercise and medical experts have been telling us to train our hamstrings – make sure they are strong. Why? Because muscles on the opposite side of the body – the quads (the hamstring’s competition) – are technically the largest group of muscles in the body (cite Daniel’s article). Many trainers and bodybuilders mistakenly believe that the hamstrings — being much smaller in size — MUST be built up in order to create muscular balance between the two.
This is a contrary idea, but DAG rules recognize hamstring exercises as being a redundant strengthening of a muscle that is already flexed all day while sitting – an activity even the most active people do on a regular basis. Sitting is a “flex” of the hamstring muscles. And that constant flex gets more embedded in our body over time. They get tighter and tighter without you having to do anything in the gym.
Want proof? I like to use the most simple, logical way of looking at things instead of boring you with studies. So, here are two visuals of why hamstrings are always tightening, and why your body decides to use the hamstring more than the quads during activities. One is visual and the other one you can feel.
For the visual example, flex your bicep until you feel it contract. You don’t have to do it hard, simply feel the contraction. Your bicep should be flexed and facing the sky. Then, rotate your flexed arm 180 degrees so that your bicep is now pointing at the ground. Looks like your hamstring flexed in a chair, doesn’t it? We don’t think about sitting as an exercise. BUT, hopefully it is self evident that flexing a bicep all day would make a bicep tighter just like flexing a hamstring all day would lead to hamstring tightness.
The second is an observation after sitting a long time. After sitting for awhile, how does your hamstrings feel when you get up? Tight or loose? I have personally have NEVER felt loose or relaxed after sitting for any period.. This tightness leads to chronic problems with tears and pain. In fact, hamstrings are one of the most common injuries in sports. Yet, how do we approach rehabbing them? MORE STRENGTH! It creates a continuous cycle many of you cannot break, and DAG would love to see avoided by everyone. Once you experience our unique methodology, you will see that proper hamstring strength and tone can be achieved with a simple stretch here, a strengthening of a muscle group there, and proper training the DAG way.
No more hamstring injuries is achievable.
The muscles called the calves or gastrocs, along with the Achilles tendon, are another source of chronic pain and problems. The causes are similar to those associated with hamstrings. The way we use and train our calves affects the way our bodies develop. We move and maintain balance based on the sensory information that travels from our feet to our heads. The calf muscles are the first large muscle group that stabilizes the body at the ankle as we hit the ground during athletic movement.
We keep hearing from doctors and physical therapists that our calves are tight, resulting in Achilles tendon pain. In actuality (and unrecognized by those same doctors and physical therapists), ALL Achilles pain is caused by muscle imbalances – the outside of the calves are tighter than the inside. If you have Achilles pain or tightness in your calves, it is due to these muscle imbalances and bad movement patterns, not because you are injured, deteriorating, or have loose ligaments or tendons. DAG methods will teach you how to run and jump using the calves the way they were supposed to load and bound, so you can take your game to another level — and take your pain off the grid.