The hamstrings are an important muscle group that are often neglected during workouts and injury prevention programs. Here are a few reasons why you should give your hamstrings some love:
- They are key for acceleration and deceleration during jogging, running, or sprints.
- They stabilize the structure of the knee joint and help prevent injury to one of the most commonly torn ligaments, the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL).
- They are essential for performing functional tasks such as squatting, lifting a box, and ascending stairs.
Below are 5 exercises to help strengthen your hamstrings without having to go to the gym. Choose 3 per day and perform each exercise for 3 sets of 10.
A. Negative Glute Ham Raises – You will need a partner for this to anchor your feet to the ground. If you have any shoulder injuries or concerns with weight-bearing on your arms, please consult your doctor or physical therapist before attempting and perform the alternative hamstring exercises.
B. Reverse Lunge – be sure to maintain full contact of the foot in front. When moving into the upright position, concentrate on pushing through the heel of the front foot to target more of the hamstrings. If balance is an issue, feel free to have a sturdy surface nearby to rest your hand on but do not rely on it as an aid for completing the lunge exercise.
C. Hamstring Curls – make sure whatever furniture your feet are resting on is stable. Don’t progress to the more challenging variations if you should feel any pain during the exercise.
D. Hamstring Lifts – perform on a firm surface and engage your core – this ensures you stay balanced and corrects for improper form.
E. Flutter Kicks (on stomach) – keep your trunk on the ground, do not arch your back as you lift your legs up.