The hamstrings are an incredibly important group of muscles that play a vital role in everyday life. Located on the back of the thigh and composed of three major muscles—the biceps femoris, semitendinosus, and semimembranosus—the hamstrings are responsible for extending the hip, flexing the knee, and rotating the lower leg. Not only do they help with daily activities like walking and running, but they also assist in jumping and sports-related movements such as kicking.
Strong hamstrings can be beneficial both athletically and functionally by providing stability to your hips, knees, and ankles while helping to prevent injury. If you’re looking to build strength in your hamstrings there are a few exercises you can do.
The Romanian Deadlift is a great exercise to target the hamstrings, glutes, and lower back. Start by standing with your feet hip-width apart and holding a pair of dumbbells, barbell, or bands with an overhand grip. Keeping your core engaged and your back neutral, push your hips back and slowly hinge while lowering the weights towards the floor. As you reach parallel to the floor, engage your hamstrings and drive through the hips with your glutes as you stand up. This should be done in a slow and controlled manner for optimal results.
"Strong hamstrings can be beneficial both athletically and functionally by providing stability to your hips, knees, and ankles while helping to prevent injury."
A lying cable hamstring curl is another great exercise to increase hamstring strength. Attach both anklets to the cable machine and lie flat on your stomach. With your feet slightly wider than hip-width apart, curl the weights up towards your buttocks by contracting your hamstrings. Make sure to keep your glutes and core engaged while doing this exercise.
Another great hamstring dominant exercise is the Nordic Hamstring Curls. Start by kneeling on a mat with your feet secured under a pad. Tilt forward at your hips, keeping your torso straight and core engaged as you slowly lower your body until your torso is parallel to the floor. As you lower yourself, engage your hamstrings and glutes while pressing your heels into the pad to help pull your body back up. Make sure to brace and catch yourself as you lower towards the ground. Use a band for assistance when necessary!
Incorporating these exercises into your routine can help you build strong, powerful hamstrings that will improve both performance and everyday life activities! Now get out there and start strengthening those hamstrings!
Still not totally sure how to strengthen your hamstrings or perform the recommended exercises? Personal Training may be a great option to get you started. Learn more here.