I’m continuing my series of generally what has been identified as weak muscles. Today’s post will focus on a muscle group that you will want strong, but I believe is weaker than it should be due to the difficulty to train the muscle group unless you have equipment available to you.
Working our quads can be pretty simple: burpees, air squats, lunges, etc. But the ‘reverse curl’ motion of bringing your heel towards your bum is a little tougher to do without equipment made just for this type of movement.
Today I’ll be dealing with the muscle group called hamstrings. I call this a group because the hamstrings are comprised of 3 muscles:
- biceps femoris
Basically these 3 muscles perform both knee flexion and are involved in hip extension and rotation of the femur, knee, and tibia.
Having weak hamstrings can result in knee injuries or issues like back pain. If you are involved in any activity that requires sudden stops, sudden acceleration or changing directions quickly you could be at great risk for knee injuries if your hamstrings are weak.
Let’s look at some exercises that we can do to strengthen the hamstrings:
- Physioball Hamstring Curl: You will need an exercise ball to perform this. Laying on your back and put your feet up on the ball keeping them shoulder width apart and straight up. Your feet should be positioned on the centre/far side of the ball, and your legs will be straight. To start, lift your hips off of the ground like you are performing a bridge. Staying in the bridge position bring your knees into your chest. This requires the ball to move in towards you. Then, slowly straighten your legs back to the starting position. Maintain the bridge position the whole time. Do this for 3 sets of 10 – 12 reps.
- Single leg bridge: Starting in the bridge position, using your nondominant leg, straighten your leg pointing upwards. Bring the leg back down and do the same with the other leg. Do 10 -12 reps on both legs for 3 sets. If you cannot complete 10 – 12 reps on the nondominant leg do not do more on the dominant leg. This will continue the muscle imbalance.
- Bridge Walkout: Starting in a bridge position, walk your feet forwards on your heels to an almost straight position and then back towards your bum and keep repeating. Do this slowly and controlled. Do this until you start to lose proper technique then take a 1 minute rest and repeat. Try for 3 sets.
That’s it. 3 exercises you can do at home to help with back issues and knee issues. Feel free to modify some of these by adding pauses in at the difficult parts, slowing the temple to 1/4 speed.
Often times injuries we have are not caused by what we think. Work on those weak muscles you have and you may find your athletic performance has increased and your injuries have diminished.
Yours in health,