Many athletes overlook hamstring training, figuring that strong quadriceps alone will allow them to run faster, jump higher and be more agile. The truth is, strong hamstrings are the answer. They transfer power between the knees and hips, allowing you to control your athletic performance.
Stronger hamstrings are also essential for minimizing injuries such as strains and tears, which if you are an athlete or follow pro sports, you know are all too common.
Here are some hamstring exercises that give you the most bang for your buck.
1. Romanian Deadlifts
Without a doubt, these are the king of hamstring movements. They allow you to work your hamstrings in the best way possible, as a hip-extensor supporting the series of muscles in your lower back.
- Improved flexibility and mobility in your lower back, hamstrings, and hips.
- Help with your hip hinge, an esssential move if you are an athlete.
- A better hamstring workout compared to other movements, such as conventional or Stiff-Leg Deadlifts.
2. Glute-Hamstring Raises
This is another great movement for strong hamstrings. This study found that Glute-Hamstring Raises are one of the most effective exercises for hamstring activation.
- Absolutely no strain on your lower back—great for those with lower back issues.
- May prevent ACL injuries because they help with muscle imbalances.
- Increases sprint speed.
These are great movement for helping balance your lower backside and frontside muscles. Remember, the posterior chain (lower backside muscles) has the greatest overall effect on your athletic performance.
- Improved mobility.
- Help with explosive power and strength.
- Less chance of injury than with regular Squats.
- Keeping your technique in check.
4. Single-Leg Stiff-Leg Deadlifts
It's easy to focus on bilateral movements and forget you have two hamstrings. Single Leg Stiff-Leg Deadlifts help you make sure that each leg individually has strong hamstrings. If you have any imbalances or weaknesses, rest assured this exercise will expose them.
- Improved ankle, hip and knee stability.
- Strengthened "Jump Muscles."
- No need for spotter.
- Improved, challenged balance and coordination.
- Increased hamstring flexibility and mobility.
- Help with strength imbalances.
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