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Bulletproof your Hamstrings

Bulletproof your Hamstrings

Our Hamstring muscles are a major component of the ‘back end’ of our lower limbs. They consist of 2 muscles on the inside (Semitendinosus and Semimembranosus) and 1 muscle on the outside consisting of 2 bellies (Biceps Femoris long and short heads). All muscle groups are 2 joint muscles, meaning they course over 2 joints being the hip and the knee.

Generally, the role of the hamstrings is to flex (bend) the knee and extend (straighten) the hip, but they also play a major role in the gait cycle, walking and running. Their role here is to absorb momentum, offering protection to the knee and hip joints, but also to provide a braking mechanism to the forward moving lower leg. To function correctly, they work in conjunction with all lower limb muscles. For this reason, hamstrings respond well to functional strengthening exercises, that involves all muscle groups working simultaneously and specific to what we are trying to train.

Isolated hamstring strengthening, such as curls, are a great form of pure hamstring strengthening, but we should also apply functional strength programs. These programs generally involve the foot being grounded, which promotes co-contraction of the lower limb muscles, co-ordination of joint movement and improved balance, which in turn reduces the likelihood of injury to the hamstrings and their adjacent joints and muscle. Functional strength programs for the lower limb and hamstrings should be multi-directional and vary in speed and load.

Below are a few simple exercises that can be applied during a training session or day to day to help bullet proof your hamstrings:

  • Arabesque training
  • Single or double leg hip thrust (bridging heel down)
  • Side step running or monster running with exercise band around lower legs
  • Single or double leg deadlifts
  • Explosive scissor jumps
  • Low hurdle hops
  • Squat/box jumps (forward and sideways)
  • Stirring the pot with gym ball
  • Skipping (with/without rope)
  • Running with hurdles
  • Sprint training: 5m x3, 10 m x 3, 15m x 4, 20m x 3, 30m x 2 (increasing acceleration/deceleration during progressions)

For hamstring issues or more information/idea’s, give us a call at Mallee Physio on 50325888 or book online