Rehabbing a strained hamstring can be tricky. Our body’s ability to adapt can be a double-edged sword. Our muscles work together in tandem. When part of the hamstring is weakened by injury, with slight adjustments in form, other muscle systems can pick up the slack. With this collaboration, it can be hard to know whether the injured area is actually being strengthened. It becomes difficult to answer the question – how hard is the muscle really working?
EMG Shows How Hard Muscles are Working
This is where EMG comes in. EMG devices, like the Resility Bluetooth Muscle Activity Sensor, can measure how hard a muscle is working. It can also alert you with a chime or a vibration when the muscle’s activity reaches a certain level. This is just one example using EMG to rehab a strained hamstring.
EMG in Action
What You Will Need:
- Two resistance bands, one yellow (light resistance) and one either green or red (heavier resistance)
- A doorway
- A chair
- Resility’s Muscle Activity Sensor
Step 1: Position Resility’s Sensors
Take the sensors and place them on the healthy hamstring. Be sure to put them in the area that corresponds with the injury on the other hamstring.
Step 2: Set Up the Exercise On Your Healthy Leg
Take the heavier resistance band, tie a knot at one end, and close it in the door. Place the chair a few feet from the door, sit down, and loop the other end of the band around the foot of your healthy leg.
Step 3: Perform the Exercise and Get Your Readings.
Open the app and tap on the Monitor Muscle Activity function. Keep the threshold setting on the maximum setting. Tap the smallest circle in the middle of the screen to start taking readings.
Next, with a smooth motion, pull your foot towards you, repeating for two sets of 15. When finished, stop recording the session by tapping the green square on the screen, then view your muscle activity. Take note of the peak readings.
Step 4: Choose a Threshold Goal and Exercise Your Injured Hamstring
Depending on the stage of rehab, calculate a threshold goal that is a percentage of the peak performance of your healthy leg. For instance, if you want to exercise your leg up to the point where it’s doing 50 percent of the work of the healthy hamstring, divide the peak performance number by two.
Attach the sensors to the injured area, and start a new session in the app, set the threshold according to your goal. Repeat, doing the same exercise with the yellow band. Throughout, watch the readout to see how close you get to your threshold goal. If you push past the threshold it, you will hear the alarm.
Step 5: Repeat Steps 1-4 In the Next Session and Increase Threshold
Of course, the threshold setting could also be used to push your muscle to new limits instead of limiting the amount it works. Most importantly, all rehab must be completed slowly. Resility’s Muscle Activity Sensor can be used to ensure a gradual—and effective—rehabilitation process.
The data Resility’s app provides opens up a new world of info that you can use to get your hamstring back on track. For instance, if you experience pain again, you can use your EMG device to test how much this has affected your strength. Limping? How much strain is limping really relieving? Adhere the sensors and find out. To this end, when your hamstring is “all better,” you can test to see exactly how much “better”.
And imagine the other injuries that could be rehabbed with Resility’s app. A strained back, neck, or calf muscle can reach peak performance with patience. The complex rehab of a rotator cuff? Totally debunked using this app. Additionally, your healthy muscles can help you reach your strength goals. With any Apple or Android phone and Resility’s app and sensors, muscle strength has gone from mysterious to quantifiable. The possibilities are endless.
About the Author
Adam Carpenter is a lifelong athlete and writer with a passion for physical therapy and training. He was an NCAA Division I jumper and has used what he has learned to coach other high caliber athletes. He has an enduring devotion to helping people of all ages get the most out of their bodies and therefore their lives.
Note: All content found on the Resility Health Website, including text, images, audio, or other formats were created for informational purposes only. The content is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare providers with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.