In focus: Hamstrings in Action – Part 1

This week’s In focus is led by Mr Simon Tate from Faster Health.Hamstring tears

Mike has asked me to talk about the hamstrings and how best to train them. I have had to split this into parts because I have far too much content for one day!

Ok so first up, where are they and what do they do?

Well they are a group of 3 muscles (semitendinosus, semimembranosus, biceps femoris) that run down the back of your thigh crossing both the hip and knee joint*. Their job is to extend both the hip and knee (not always at the same time) and they play a key roll in locomotion. Without them you’d be pretty rubbish so they are something you really could do with looking after!

If we take a look at the following video, you will see when they fire into action…

Hamstring Activity during the Gait Cycle

As you can see, the hamstring lights up as the leg comes through and the hamstring lengthens. This lengthening then causes the hamstring to contract, pulling the leg back and helping you move forward.

Hopefully that made sense, it is the abridged version.

Onto the training side of things, whilst there are some useful traditional exercises that will give you an overall level of conditioning, I do think its better to train your muscles in the way you want them to work.

So what are you looking to train them for? This matters because training needs to be fit for purpose. Today we will look at good old muscle building…

Aesthetics – If you fall under the umbrella of guy wanting ripped hamstrings, I’d been doing some heavy concentric and slow eccentric work. Exercises as follows:

 

Hamstring Curl

These come in various disguises, the one shown is a cable curl but this could equally be a seated machine or bent over number. If you haven’t used one of these before, it’s pretty simple, the aim is to pull your heel towards your backside! To make it a little harder and get the hamstring working more eccentrically, lower the weight to the count of 4 seconds and pull it up for the count of one. 12 repetitions and 4 sets:

Strength for hamstringsHamstring strength exercise

 

 

 

 

 

Bent Leg Deadlift

I have given you the deadlift, this you can tweak to varying depths but I’d always recommend a slight knee bend to take the pressure off the lower back. So from standing holding a bar just over shoulder width apart, lower yourself pivoting via the hips. As you start to bend, bend your knees slightly and try keep the natural curvature of the spine as you lower the bar towards the ground. Again if you’re looking to build muscle, lower to the count of 4 and up for the count of one. 12 repetitions and 4 sets:

Bent leg deadlift hamstring strengthBent Knee Dead lift hamstring strength

 

 

 

 

 

Nordic Hamstring Curl

Ok so you could do with a partner for this one to hold onto your calves unless you have something to hook your feet under.

You start kneeling and upright and, keeping as straight as possible, lower yourself slowly towards the ground using your hamstrings to decelerate your fall. Please remember to use your hands at the bottom to catch yourself and press up explosively to the start and repeat. Again 4 sets and 12 repetitions with a lowering to the count of 4:

Nordic Hamstring Eccentric Hamstring Strength

 

 

 

 

 

Nordic Hamstring Eccentric Hamstring Strength

 

 

 

 

 

Nordic Hamstring Eccentric Hamstring Strength

 

 

 

 

 

Here ends today’s lesson, next time I will be covering hamstrings for sport and running and then a general section for my third and final piece.

*The short head of the bicep femoris only crosses the knee joint and not the hip.

Si Tate is our resident specialist Strength and Conditioning coach. He has a vast wealth of knowledge and has helped return many of our clients back to full fitness. For more up to date evidence based information sign up to our social media pages below.

Technique Physiotherapy and Sports Medicine FacebookTechnique Physiotherapy and Sports Medicine Twitter

 

Instagram

Book an Appointment

Pass This Post On

Share on facebook
Facebook
Share on google
Google+
Share on twitter
Twitter
Share on linkedin
LinkedIn

Book an Appointment

Don’t Stop Here

More To Explore

5 Benefits of Physiotherapy for Athletes

Here are five great benefits of using physio that athletes, whatever their level should know about. 1. Enhance Physical Strength Training can take a toll on the body, straining the muscles, joints, bones, and ligaments. Physiotherapy will be able to help increase the strength in your body. 2. Help To De-Stress Your Body Physiotherapy can be used to destress your

Opening a Clinic After Covid

We are finally open! It’s been a tough few months but we see a little light at the end of the tunnel. We are still offering online appointment for anybody not able to travel, however for those of you that feel you need a face to face appointment we are now opening our clinics for 1:1 appointments. There will be

Changing Times

These are changing times for all of us, Co-Vid 19 has literally stopped the world. As a small business we are going through the most challenging time of all and we are desperately trying to keep our head above water. Our clinics have shut, however we have not!! We believe with the entire nation working from home we are not