When you're running on the track, strong hamstrings are a must, especially when you need to shift into high gear. That's why Tyler Peacock, strength and conditioning coach for perennial power Florida State University, trains the hamstrings by lengthening and contracting, something the muscles do when you run.
"We perform aggressive strengthening exercises for the hamstring, because as you get stronger you'll be less injury prone," Peacock explains. "You can train harder on a day to day basis, which in the end will aid you to become faster."
Peacock recommends the Glute Ham Raise and the Reverse Hyper, both of which the Seminoles perform once a week, year-round. Complete three sets of eight reps with a 30 second rest, and eventually work up to three sets of 10 to 12 reps.
Glute Ham Raise
Position yourself on glute/ham machine with legs locked in place
Raise torso upward until chest is parallel to floor
Drive knees into foam pad until they are at 90-degree angle and body is upright
Lower back down in control; pause for one second and repeat
Coaching Point: Don't use momentum to swing yourself up and down. Instead, you want a controlled movement.
Position torso face down on high box, table or Reverse Hyper Machine with waist at edge of surface
Allow legs to hang toward ground and grip sides of surface or machine's handles
Keeping legs straight, raise them until body forms straight line; pause
Lower legs with control; repeat
Coaching Point: When you get to the top of the movement, make sure to pause for a second so you get a good contraction of the lower back, glutes and hamstrings.
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