Leg is your lower half of your body. The major muscles between knee and pelvis are quadriceps and hamstring. Quadriceps or “quads” being the visible muscle, it gets most attention and is easier to monitor. But hamstring on the other hand is not visible and we seem to care less about it. For optimal knee and joint health, the strength of quads and hamstring should be in ratio 3:2. This means you just cannot work hamstring less and hope for healthy knees. Some of the best hamstring workouts are given in the post below. Be sure to at least give them a try.
Hamstring is your 3 headed muscle formed of biceps femoris, semimembranosus and semitendinosus. Though it is most neglected muscle in body, it definitely separates pro from beginner, and big girls from cardio bunnies.
Function of Hamstring
There are number of functions of hamstring, the major being stabilizing knees and many more.
- Hip extension
- Knee flexion
- Posterior tilt of pelvis
Though these might not seem like much, these are major component for running, sprinting, or even moving. Stabilizing the knees is the most important function of the hamstring. If you want better health and functioning of your joints, hip and hamstrings are the areas to work on. Hip joint acts as the linking muscle of upper body and lower body, while hamstring links hip muscles to knees.
This is why, proper care and exercise selection is important to train hamstring properly targeting all the areas of the muscle.
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Few of Best Hamstring Workouts
Following few are among the best exercises that you can do for overall development of the hamstring muscles.
Romanian Deadlift (Stiff Legged Deadlift)
There might not be any other exercise as romanian deadlift that can give you promising results even with baby weights. It is by far the best exercise for your hamstring as you don’t need ton of weights and are secure from hurting yourself. A deadlift when done with stiff shin without any movement and maximum hip flexion, you have romanian deadlift.
- Load a barbell with appropriate weight.
- Begin with deadlift position.
- Pull the bar upward as in deadlift.
- With legs stiff with very slight bend at knees, lower the bar down hinging at the hip.
- Until you feel control able stretch, lower the bar, then raise it back up.
- Don’t lockout as deadlift at top, finish the movement just before the lockout.
Glute Ham Raises
Another great exercise that doesn’t even need weight to perform is glute ham raises. All you need is your hamstring strength and upper body weight. This exercise particularly targets your glutes and hamstring muscles to totally different level. This exercise focuses on knee flexion. It tests your knee strength.
- Settle on the machine, if you don’t have machine, you can do it on the floor by anchoring your feet.
- Keep your core tight and have a neutral back, don’t over arch.
- Slowly lower yourself while you feel stretch on your hamstring.
- While you are down, contract your hamstring and raise yourself up.
- Perform slow controlled reps.
Lying Leg Curl
One of the common legs workout machine that you can frequently see on many gym is leg curl machine. Lying leg curl, as name suggests is curling movement of you legs in lying position. It also focuses on knee flexion. It is easier to perform and one of the best exercise that you can do for your hamstring.
- Lie down on the machine facing downwards.
- Keep your knee just below the resting pas of machine.
- Curl the weight towards your hip by contracting your hamstring.
- Perform slow controlled reps.
Seated Leg Curl
Seated curl is similar to lying leg curl, the only difference is that you stay in the seated position. Similar to the leg extension machine, there is leg curl machine. The goal is to contract the muscle.
- Be seated on the machine and choose appropriate weight.
- With legs straight on the pads, start to squeeze your hamstring and contract it hard.
- Hold the contraction and return to the original position.
People often workout just to increase the weight in the bar. Be wise and choose weight accordingly. With hamstring, even lightest of the weight can give you soreness if you have proper mind muscle connection. Few of the best hamstring workouts are discussed in the post. These few hamstring workouts will definitely reward you with nicer looking hamstring.