The hamstrings are the muscles that run down the back of your legs that quite frankly don’t get the love that they should. The hamstrings aren’t necessarily eye catching but they need some love. The hamstrings are a big muscle group that helps with everyday activities such as running, hiking, squatting, and simply walking. On top of that the hamstrings are beneficial in preventing injuries when giving them some attention to build up their strength. For that reason here are some hamstring exercises that should be incorporated into any workout.
The first thing you probably thought of was the hamstring curl machine. While there are many benefits to that, not so fast. Performing hamstring curls on the floor with a towel or sliding discs will build your hamstrings and core. To do the hamstring curl with a disc, lie flat on your back with your heels on the discs. Then pull your heels towards your butt while bridging your hips. Once your knees reach 90 degrees bring your heels back to the starting position until your back flat on the ground. This can also be done with the TRX!
The romanian deadlift or RDL can be done with dumbbells, barbells, or kettlebells. To perform the RDL begin by standing upright with your weights and shift your weight into your heels. Then slowly reach your weight to the floor. This will engage the hamstrings. Remember to bend from your hips as you are lowering the weights towards the floor. Once you feel your range of motion is met, slowly bring yourself back up to the starting position and repeat.
Single Leg RDL
The single leg RDL encompasses all of the aspects of the traditional RDL. However, this will bring further isolation to the hamstrings. This will also bring in balance which believe it or not is a component to injuries. The greater your balance, the less chance of falls and injuries. So give the single leg RDL a shot. Just note to grab a lighter weight when performing the single leg RDL.
Get out there and show your hamstrings some love.
Written by GUADS staff member Patrick with contributions from www.fitnesstrainer.com.