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Best Hamstring Exercises for Rehab and Prevention

August 10, 2017

The hamstrings are a group of 3 muscles on the back of your thigh that originate from your buttocks region and attach past your knee joint. Their main function is to bend the knee joint or extend the hip backwards. This is important in many activities like walking, running, jumping and sprinting.

The hamstrings are one of the most commonly injured muscles in sport. Most of us who have played team sports have experienced a ‘pulled’ hamstring at one point or another. Injuries can range from mild strains, to full muscle tears.

Even if you haven’t injured your hamstrings, they are an important muscle to work on strengthening, whether it’s part of your gym routine, or as a way to improve your sport performance. Specific exercises aimed at strengthening weak areas if your body reduce the risk of injuring yourself while also increasing performance.

If you have a hamstring problem it’s important you get checked up by your physiotherapist before performing any of the below exercises.

1.      Bridging

This one is for the glutes - strengthening your glutes ill take the excess pressure off your hamstrings. Lie on your back with your knees bent. Press your heels into the floor in order to feel your hamstrings activating and lift your hips and buttocks up off of the ground. Make sure your back and pelvis is in a neutral position (don’t arch your back) with the core relatively active. Hold for 1 seconds then slowly lower yourself back to the starting position. To make this exercise harder, try starting with both feet resting on a bench in front of you!

2.      Single leg bridge

This is a progression of the double leg bridge. The only difference here is that you lift one leg off the ground before starting. Use only one leg to push your hips up; You should feel a lot more glutes activity with this one.

3.      Nordic curls

This one requires a buddy. Kneel with your ankles fixed by your partner. Slowly try to fall forwards, controlling the descent with your hamstring muscles. Use your hands to push yourself back up to starting position.

 

These are just some of the exercises that have been scientifically proven to strengthen the hamstrings and reduce injury incidence. For example, the Nordic Curls have shown in one study to reduce injury by up to 65%!

 

There are several variations of each of these exercises and many more different ones to choose from. If you’re not sure which exercise is best for you, give us a call at 01 441 0100