Hamstring Exercises For Killer Strength
Killer hamstring exercises.
The hamstrings group is made up of 3 muscles found at the back of the thighs originating from the hip and inserting at the medial side of the tibia and on the fibula. Their anatomical function is knee flexion but also aiding in hip extension. Moreover, they assist in foot internal and external rotation and help in stabilising the knee and hip joint. In this article, we will talk about hamstring exercises for killer strength.
In relation to sports, the hamstrings main function is to decelerate the rate at which the lower leg extends at the knee when there is quick lengthening of the hamstring such as sprinting, kicking or sliding in a tackle. In such movements, the hamstring is not working concentrically to produce force but absorbing the force eccentrically to decelerate that action. This is when the hamstrings become susceptible to injury. In fact, hamstring injuries are most common between the time when the foot hits the ground until that same foot takes off from the ground again. Another example would be kicking. In this case, the hamstring needs to work eccentrically in opposition to the quadricep muscles to decelerate the rate at which the hamstrings are lengthening when the lower leg is kicking out. Furthermore, the hamstring muscle group assists in hip extension although the main muscles being used here are the glutes.
This shows that having strong hamstrings is crucial to make us better athletes and prevent injuries. We should focus on making the hamstrings eccentrically strong first and then, produce concentric work. Start by working bilaterally and then move into unilateral work. Most times, in sports, you will be working unilaterally. Aim at doing anything between 3-4 sets of 6 to 10 repetitions after your main compound exercises so as not to fatigue beforehand. This depends on the exercise is bilateral or unilateral and eccentric or concentric. Below, are a few exercises that are crucial for hamstring strength and resilience.
THE VIDEO: 4 Hamstring Exercises for Killer Strength and Conditioning (Don’t Skip Leg Day)
Romanian Deadlift (RDL)
The Romanian deadlift is one of the fundamental exercises for hip hinging and works the posterior chain including the hamstrings, glutes and lower back. Keep a slight bend in your knees and aim to reach the bar to below the knee while keeping it close to your shins and pushing your hips back. Go slow on the decent to work on eccentric strength and explode on your way up.
Single Leg RDL / Split Stance RDL
The single leg RDL works on unilateral strength, balance and coordination while helping us to get used to being on a single base. You will need to engage your core and proprioceptors for a solid base of support. In the split stance RDL, both feet are on the ground but the load is mainly on the front leg while the back leg is there for support. This allows for a heavier load than in a traditional single leg RDL. The traditional single leg RDL engages more of the glutes while also using the hamstrings due to balance while the split stance RDL puts more stress on the hamstring.
Glute Bridge Sliders
This is another hamstring specific exercise while keeping the hips fixed and off the floor as much as possible. Start in a glute bridge position and slide your feet out away from your hips to work the hamstrings eccentrically. Once strong in that position, include the concentric part by bringing your heels back towards your hips. You can further progress this by doing the same 2 exercises unilaterally and then quickly alternating.
Nordic curls completely isolate your hamstrings since the aim is to keep your hips in a fixed position while moving at the knee with your ankles held in position. Start by working on the eccentric portion. Go down to the floor by extending at the knee as slow as possible and then work on incorporating the concentric part as you get stronger.
Give the above hamstring exercises a go to strengthen your hamstrings both eccentrically and concentrically and make them bulletproof.