How To Perform A Hamstring Exercise Correctly And Avoid Injury

March 24, 2009 by  
Filed under Body Exercises

When working out, it is desirable to get a good balance for all muscles of the body and the hamstring is no exception. An under-developed hamstring can lead to a very painful injury if the surrounding muscles are well or over developed. In this instance the hamstring can be strained which can have severe implications for an athlete or someone whose job depends on their physical fitness.

The hamstring runs along the back of the leg from the knee reaching the buttocks. Most commonly, the hamstring is injured when the quad muscles are over developed pulling it out of position.

Other than injury to the hamstring itself, the hamstring must be developed to avoid pain in the lower back. This happens when the hamstrings are tightened and have a pulling effect on the pelvis, putting strain on the lower back. This is more likely to happen with those in a sedentary job making it even more essential to perform hamstring stretches in their workout.

The most effective time to perform hamstring stretches is after a warm up rather than before as the blood is plentiful throughout the muscles.

The Hamstring Stretch

Lying down on the back, raise the right leg fully at a 90 degree angle to the ground with the knee bent. Make sure the left leg is bent with the foot full on the ground. Then try to straighten the right leg as much as possible

You may find that the leg cannot be positioned completely vertical. Everyone has varying levels of flexibility, so make sure you do not strain the muscle. You will still be sufficiently stretching the muscle and you should feel the pull. You might want to give support to your thigh using your hand.

Once your leg is raised as straight as you can. Hold it there for about 15 seconds. Try for 5 repetitions on each leg.

Strengthening The Hamstring

This exercise will require the use of machine, you will find this in the gym for the purpose of a leg curl.

Exercise 1 – Leg Curl (Standing)

When at the machine stand so that the padded roller is at one side and behind you. Then you must curl you leg up and backwards, you will then lift the roller using your heel. Do this twice then on to the other leg.

Exercise 2 – Leg Curl (Lying)

With your stomach flat to the bench, both of your legs will curl up backwards with your heels lifting the roller..

Exercise 3 – Free leg Curl (Standing)

This is a good beginner exercise for those who have not worked out in a while or for older people with less muscle volume.

Stand straight and support you hands on the tall chair provided, or it may be a high counter.

With the knees aligned raise the right foot up from the floor with the heel pointing to the thigh, keep that position for 5 seconds. 5 repetitions then repeat the sequence with the left leg.

Exercise 4 – The Dead-lift

With the knees bent, lift the barbell off the floor to level with the thigh, keep the arms straight down and the spine neutral. Slowly and keep the knees bent, lower the barbell back to the floor. This exercise will strengthen the hamstring as well as the quad muscles.

Exercise and strengthening the muscles is essential for maintaining a healthy body. However, always consult your doctor when embarking on a new exercise regime. Original articles