Upon joining the gym I was offered the normal Personal Trainer developed program. I replied that I did Taekwon-Do so a program to develop strong and explosive moves was what I required. As people
normally do, I jumped into the program head first. One exercise she asked me to perform was
explosive squats on the Smiths machine. For those of you not familiar with this machine it is essentially a barbell that is supported each side to assist people doing squats. This exercise was not a normal squat in action as she wanted me to bend my knees and then fire my body up straightening my legs and then finishing the move on the balls of my feet. I actually enjoyed performing this exercise, funnily enough. From memory I did light weights but 3 sets of 20 reps. Within a few weeks my quads were building strength and size. My kicks were feeling stronger as the quads supported the non-kicking leg much better than before. After a month of doing the program I was at training on a cold winters night.
We had warmed up and then started performing patterns in front of the rest of the class. I sat down
and watched my students until it was my turn to get up and perform. I performed a pattern that had
some lovely reverse turning kicks in them. The first two performed are mid (stomach level) section and the last two are high section (head height). Things were going great and I was glad to be able to show my students my new form supported by my weight training. I got to the right high reverse turning kick and it felt awesome. The kick was straight and high, higher than I had ever performed before. At the top of the kick though, things went terribly wrong. My left leg which was supporting the kick hyperflexed and then a pain so excruciating shot up my left hamstring. It felt as if someone had shot me in the leg! I went down in a heap, screaming in pain. I drove home that night in absolute agony. After the issue with the right hamstring I had learnt not to let the injury heal naturally, and I booked into the physio straight away. I had torn my hamstring right in the middle. He referred to it as a grade two tear. I entered into the rehab phase. Three sessions a week for four weeks which included stretching and strengthening exercises. I needed a quick recover y as I was shortly to head over to Auckland, New Zealand for three days training and then back it up with another three days training in Sydney the following weekend. The leg recovered quickly and well enough that I was able to perform jumping kicks in New Zealand and that drew praise from one of the Kiwi guys who is a renowned jumper. This injury taught me another important lesson. The Personal Trainer had prescribed the explosive squats for me in an effort to build strength in my legs. Unfortunately, in the opposing muscles the hamstrings weren't strengthened to an equal degree causing a mismatch
in the explosive strength and power of the quads. If you are going to build one area of the body, ensure that you consider the matching or opposing muscles to prevent injury.
I'm busy working on my blog posts. Watch this space!