If you're like most people, you probably don't think about your hamstrings until they start to hurt. And by then, it's often too late—you've already pulled a hamstring and are sidelined from your favorite activities.
If you are someone who likes to stay active, then you know the importance of keeping your muscles stretched and loose. However, many people tend to focus on the muscles in their upper body and neglect the muscles in their lower body – which can lead to injury.
In this article, we will discuss three hamstring strengthening exercises that will help prevent injury. We will also provide some stretching tips to help keep your hamstrings stretched and healthy!
Hamstring Anatomy, the back of your thigh
The hamstring muscles are located on the back of your thigh. They attach your thigh bone to your lower leg bones. There are three hamstring muscles- the semimembranosus, the semitendinosus, and the biceps femoris.
These muscles help you extend your leg backward and bend your knee. The hamstring muscles also play a role in balance and movement. They are responsible for bending your knee and helping you extend your hip.
The hamstrings are often injured because they are used in activities that require quick movement, such as sprinting or jumping. This type of movement puts a lot of stress on the muscles and can lead to strains or tears.
Causes of a hamstring injury
One or more of these muscles is overloaded during a hamstring strain. There are a few things that can cause hamstring injuries, such as:
When the muscle is stretched beyond its limits, it can tear. This often happens when people try to touch their toes without warming up first.
If the hamstrings are weak, they are more likely to be injured. This is why it’s important to do exercises that will strengthen the muscles.
If you make a sudden movement, such as sprinting or jumping, the muscle can be strained or torn.
Prevention Tips: How can you prevent a hamstring injury?
There are a few things that you can do to prevent hamstring injuries, such as:
Warm up before exercise
It’s important to warm up the muscles before you put them through any type of strenuous activity. A simple way to do this is to walk for a few minutes before you start your workout.
Stretching helps to lengthen the muscle and increase flexibility. It’s important to hold each stretch for at least 30 seconds.
As we mentioned before, exercises that strengthen the hamstrings can help prevent injuries.
If you follow these prevention tips, you will be on your way to having strong and healthy hamstrings!
3 Hamstring Strengthening Exercises
You can do this exercise with a resistance band or weight machine at the gym. If you are using a resistance band, loop it around your ankles and lie on your back with your legs straight.
Bend your knees and curl your legs up towards your butt, then return to the starting position.
Start by lying on your back with your feet flat on the ground and your knees bent. Squeeze your glutes and raise your hips off the ground, making sure to keep your back straight.
Hold this position for a few seconds, then lower your hips back to the starting position.
Swiss Ball Hamstring Curl
Start by lying on your back with your heels on top of a Swiss ball. Press your hips and glutes off the ground, then use your feet to roll the ball towards your butt. Reverse the motion and return the ball to the starting position.
Stretching Tips for your Hamstrings
In addition to strengthening exercises, it’s also important to stretch the hamstrings. This will help increase flexibility and reduce the risk of injury.
Start by lying on your back with one leg straight and the other bent at the knee. Place a towel around your foot and gently pull your leg towards you. Hold this position for 30 seconds, then repeat with the other leg.
Seated Hamstring Stretch
Start by sitting on the ground with your legs straight in front of you. Reach for your toes and hold this position for 30 seconds.
You can also place a towel around your feet and gently pull your legs towards you.
Standing Hamstring Stretch
Start by standing up straight with your feet hip-width apart. Bend forward at the waist and reach for your toes. Hold this position for 30 seconds.
By stretching your hamstrings on a regular basis, you can help prevent injury and keep your muscles healthy!
Hamstring strains are one of the most common injuries in sports, so it’s important to take steps to prevent them. These hamstring strengthening exercises will help you stay strong and limber, and our stretching tips will keep your muscles loose.
Add these exercises and stretches to your routine today, and you’ll be on your way to preventing hamstring injuries.