The King of Hamstrings Exercises
In the past, I have been asked many times what is the best exercise for building up my hamstrings. My answer was always the same: “You will see.” Well, here it is!
I don’t think there are any other exercises that work your hamstrings so well. They’re not just some weak muscles; they play a vital role in maintaining proper posture and running form.
But how do you build them up?
That’s where this exercise comes in handy. It works your hamstrings like nothing else. You simply lie down on a mat with your legs straight out in front of you, then grab one end of a rope tied around the back of your knees and pull yourself up until your thighs are parallel to the floor. Then slowly lower yourself back to the starting position while keeping tight control over all movement.
It doesn’t matter if you’ve never done this before or you haven’t had much experience doing anything involving your hamstrings. If you do it right, your calves will thank me later!
So how do you do it right?
Well, obviously you need to pull yourself up until your thighs are at the proper angle. But there’s another rule you should follow: Once you’re in that fully-extended position, you should be really close to being upright. In other words, don’t straighten out so much that your back is parallel to the floor.
The reason for this is simple: You don’t want to put unnecessary stress on your lower back. It’s true that the weight of your legs will keep your lower back from completely rounding out, but you still need to be careful. If you’re a little uncertain as to how to position yourself, then just keep your back at a slight forward angle. This will eliminate any worries about straining something in your lower back.
Sources & references used in this article:
“Task-oriented” exercise improves hamstring strength and spastic reflexes in chronic stroke patients by GV Smith, KHC Silver, AP Goldberg, RF Macko – Stroke, 1999 – Am Heart Assoc
Early versus late start of isokinetic hamstring-strengthening exercise after anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction with patellar tendon graft by U Sekir, H Gur, B Akova – The American journal of sports …, 2010 – journals.sagepub.com
Effects of closed versus open kinetic chain knee extensor resistance training on knee laxity and leg function in patients during the 8-to 14-week post-operative period … by MC Perry, MC Morrissey, JB King, D Morrissey… – Knee surgery, sports …, 2005 – Springer
Early versus late start of open kinetic chain quadriceps exercises after ACL reconstruction with patellar tendon or hamstring grafts: a prospective randomized outcome … by A Heijne, S Werner – Knee Surgery, Sports Traumatology, Arthroscopy, 2007 – Springer
The effectiveness of proprioceptive-based exercise for osteoarthritis of the knee: a systematic review and meta-analysis by TO Smith, JJ King, CB Hing – Rheumatology international, 2012 – Springer
The effectiveness of nordic hamstring exercises in reducing hamstring injuries in competitive soccer players: A critically appraised topic by JW Cuchna, L Welsch, T Meier… – … Journal of Athletic …, 2017 – journals.humankinetics.com
Treatment of knee osteoarthritis in relation to hamstring and quadriceps strength by AR Hafez, AH Al-Johani, AR Zakaria… – Journal of physical …, 2013 – jstage.jst.go.jp
Acquisition and maintenance of exercise skills under normalized conditions by adults with moderate and severe mental retardation by D King, FC Mace – Mental Retardation, 1990 – search.proquest.com
The role of passive muscle stiffness in symptoms of exercise-induced muscle damage by MP McHugh, DAJ Connolly, RG Eston… – … American Journal of …, 1999 – journals.sagepub.com