EXERCISES YOU SHOULD BE DOING...
Our hamstrings are a vital yet often overlooked group of muscles in your body. Your hamstrings are a collective group composed of 3 muscles that insert at the back of the knee and originate at the pelvis. They provide us with multiple functions including adduction of the leg, extension of the hip, and flexion of the knee.
Hamstrings are a crucial role in the running stride and are heavily involved in ones overall knee stability. Often times for high velocity runners hamstrings are the most important "speed muscles" in your body. Suffering from lower back pain? Tight hamstrings could also be a contributing factor!
It is important for overall functional proper body movement mechanics that we prime our hamstrings for success through methodologies of stretching and strengthening.
Here is our trainer tip for our favorite hamstring stretch followed by our favorite hamstring strengthening drills... be sure to incorporate both of these into your weekly routine!
1.) STRETCH: "Pyramid Pose" staggered stance front leg is the leg we are stretching- tip at the hip with an almost fully extended knee, keeping a neutral spine as your tip think about bringing your chest towards the floor until you feel a good stretch.
2.) STRENGTHEN: "Single Leg Deadlifts" These are our trainer favorite as they can be done unweighted or assisted to start and gradually as we understand form we can load the movement with a kettlebell. We rate these as one of the best posterior chain movements for our body. The single leg deadlift requires strong core stability, balance, and coordination while serving our body with essential unilateral movement pattern that is applicable to our everyday lives. It also improves mobility through the hips and legs for better movement and posture. The glutes, hamstrings, and adductor are dynamically strengthened while synergistically working together to perform extension at the hips! These complimenting muscle groups during the single leg deadlift force the lower back extensors to function as stabilizers which in turns isometrically strengthens them. HOW TO...- plant your working foot into the ground-lift the unloaded leg behind you slightly above the ground-straighten your back leg, dorsiflex your foot, pushing through your heel-MAINTAIN A FLAT BACK WITH SQUARED HIPS AND SHOULDERS!-slowly hinge at the hips-bend the working side knee for a deeper hinge-pause at the bottom for a second to work on coordination and balance-slowly stand back up with feet together with a slight pause in between reps
3.) PARTNER STRENGTH DRILL: "Hamstring Fall Ins" Hamstring fall ins are a more advanced drill directly targeting activation of the muscle groups of your hamstrings and your glutes. With a partner holding your ankles while in a kneeling position slowly lower your body towards the ground. In the beginning your may use your hands to catch you very quickly yet as your hamstrings get stronger the goal is to only need your hands to catch you when you are just above to hit the ground. Think tension over time with this drill, the slower these are performed the more activation our muscles are requiring. Take your time with progressions on this drill and keep your reps to 10 or less for optimal function.
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