I recently read a great blog by Jason Ferruggia about the benefits of strengthening the hamstring muscles. He discusses the priority that needs to be set to strengthen the hamstring muscles. Contrary to popular belief, the hamstrings are a key to lowering your risk for injury. Weak hamstrings can directly effect knee injuries. By targeting hamstrings and using specific exercises and techniques we are able to strengthen our hamstrings and in turn decrease our risk for a serious knee or even back injury.
Okay. So now you know that you need to strengthen your hamstrings.
Here is a great list of the top six hamstring exercises using a multitude of different equipment or even no equipment at all! Add these to your current workout or simply complete 3 hamstring exercises at least 3 times per week.
All exercises are performed for one minute and repeated twice with a 20 second rest between sets.
1. Rear Leg Pulses
Keeping the front leg straight, lift back leg until it is parallel with ground. Once parallel, move leg in a pulsing motion, slightly bringing leg up and then down. REPEAT ON OTHER LEG.
2. Ball Leg Curls
Lying flat on the ground, place feet on an exercise ball, lift butt into air, and bring legs towards back until knees are bent to a 90 degree angle. Return to start. If you do not have an exercise ball, this can be replaced with any type of ball or even a towel or t-shirt on a hard surface.
3. Rear Leg Extensions
On all fours, bend knee to chest and then completely extend leg to the rear. REPEAT ON OTHER LEG.
4. Manual Hamstring Curl
This exercise can be done using weights as anchors or any ledge for instance the bottom of a counter or the bottom of a chair or couch. Anything that can anchor your feet works! After anchoring feet, lay flat on stomach. Next, push up with hands and use hamstrings to return to kneeling position.
5. One-Legged Dead Lift
This exercise can be completed with no weight, a kettelbell, a dumbbell, or any weighted object that can be held in one hand. Keeping your front leg straight and maintaining a flat back, bend forward at the hips until chest and back leg are parallel to the ground. Allow weight to hang towards the floor. Return to starting position. REPEAT ON OTHER LEG.
6. One-Legged Elevated Bridges
Lay with one foot on a chair or other sturdy surface. Keep chair leg slightly bent and elevate and extend opposite leg. Slowly lift butt and back off of ground until just your shoulders are balancing your body. Return to start. REPEAT ON OTHER LEG.
These intense hamstring exercises should keep you busy and injury free! Get Exercising! EARN YOUR BODY.