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Foam Rollers and Football

Written on August 24, 2007 at 10:14 am, by Eric Cressey

Q: Hey Eric, I’ve been a member of T-Nation for about three years now. I really enjoy your articles. And one caught my attention abouta year ago. The foam roller article. I bought one, asked my PT about it and he didnt know much so i kind of threw it aside. Well to make a long story short. I play high school football, its my senior year. I’ve been playing and training for seven years now. My ultimate goal of course is to get a scholarship to play some college ball.

However the day before practice I pulled my hamstring doing sprints down the beach. I’ve been going to PT and seen about three doctors. Its not that serious of a pull id say a mild grade 2. I’ve been feeling alot of pressure from my coaches to get back on the field and have tried to comeback twice. Whenever i put any pressure on the thing it just tighens right up. But running on it seems to be fine. There is a pretty good size knot on the lower part of my left hamstring right above the back of the knee. So tonight i read your article again and busted out the foam roller.

After the first 10 minutes of the hamstring it felt 100 times better. I’ve done it three times in the past three hours. I got a big game on friday that I have to play in and I’m doing as much as i possibly can to get this thing healthy. I know you guys dont diagnos over the internet or anything like that i just wanted to tell you thank you for the info on the foam roller. I’m gonna use this thing everyday before and after practice/games and hopefully i can get back to 100% as soon as possible. Thanks again for all the great info!

A: I’m glad to hear that the roller worked out for you.

Just remember that work you do with the roller is just treating the symptoms (scar tissue). You have to get to the bottom of why your hamstrings are so knotted up if you want to fix the problem rather than just take one step forward and one step back.

In most cases, the hamstrings get locked up because they’re overactive – because the glutes aren’t doing their job as hip extensors. It’s one reason why after hamstrings go, you also see groin pulls (adductor magnus is a synergist to the glutes in hip extension) and piriformis strains (piriformis is a synergist in lateral rotation).

Check out our Magnificent Mobility DVD; it would be a good investment. It’s worked for a lot of guys w/their hamstrings problems, and provided that the right exercises are selected, you should see some great improvements.

Eric Cressey

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