What Are They & What Do They Do?
The hamstrings are 4 muscles (the biceps femoris long head, biceps femoris short head, semitendinosus, & semimembranosus) in the back of the thigh
These 4 muscles are responsible for flexing/bending the knee, extending/straightening the hip, & stabilizing both the knee & the pelvis during movement.
Why Are Strong Hamstrings Important?
1) Injury Prevention
As mentioned, the hamstrings are important joint stabilisers & ensure alignment of the hips. Weak hammies increases injury risk - of both the hammies themselves & of other structures & musculature
2) Sports Performance
The hamstrings are crucial for sports performance. They push your body forward as you run by extending your hips & are also critical for deceleration & change of direction. If you run or play a sport that demands these things from you, strong hammies are non-negotiable!
3) Everyday Life
Whether it’s getting up from a chair, climbing stairs, or bending down to pick something up from the floor, strong hamstrings make it a lot easier to perform every day tasks without dramas.
How Do You Strengthen Your Hamstrings?
There's no shortage of resistance training exercises that you can use to build the size & strength of your hammies.
Your hamstrings will be called upon during movements such as squats, lunges, & leg presses, but if you wanted to target them a little more specifically, I'd recommend choosing some of the following exercises:
- 45 Degree Hip Extension
- Hip Thrusts
- Seated Leg Curl Machine
- Lying Leg Curl machine
- Foam roller leg curls
- Nordic hamstring curls
To maximise hamstring strength, it's important to train the muscles at both lengthened & shortened ranges. Therefore when it comes to your training program, I'd suggest including exercises that challenge the hamstrings in both positions (e.g. RDL's for a lengthened range challenge, & lying leg curls for a shortened range challenge).
Christian Lawal Personal Training.
Personal training in Tunbridge Wells, Tonbridge & Sevenoaks.