Hamstring exercises should be a staple in every person’s training program. However, you don’t have to feel limited to the traditional standing hamstrings stretch and leg curls. In this article you’ll find unique hamstrings exercises including various warm-up hamstrings exercises, progressive hamstrings strengthening, and outside-the-box hamstrings exercises.
I am not a fan of static hamstrings stretching prior to working out. There is evidence to support dynamic stretching and dynamic warm-ups are more beneficial prior to working out compared to static stretching. Working the hamstrings eccentrically followed by concentrically should be the theme in a warm-up. For someone that can’t handle a standing or half-kneeling hamstrings warm-up, this is one of my go-to hamstrings exercises to warm-up the hamstrings. Try out 2 sets of 6-10 reps and don’t rush it!
Dynamic Hamstrings Warm-up
This video demonstrates a collection of dynamic hamstrings exercises to adequately warm-up the hamstrings, improve hip flexibility, and promote proximal stability. “Proximal stability promotes distal mobility.” Neuromuscular control of the lumbopelvic region is absolutely imperative for lower extremity mechanics, especially for optimal hamstrings function during sporting activities. Improving performance of the proprioceptive system at differing joint angles and body positions is key. This can be accomplished through technique-based exercises, balance drills, and plyometric exercises. A neuromuscular control program “aims to stimulate the proprioceptive pathways and the processing of such information, with planned and unplanned movements, and, through repetition and practice, alter the neuromuscular response and allow adaptive changes to occur.”
Progressive Hamstrings Strengthening
Want to start adding more hamstrings exercises but you don’t know where to start?! Follow the levels in this video! Demonstrated in the video are levels 1-7 for progressively strengthening the hamstrings only using furniture sliders.
1️⃣Concentric hamstring curl-ins
2️⃣Concentric hamstring curl-ins➕bridge
3️⃣Concentric hamstring curl-ins ➕bridge➕eccentric curl-out
4️⃣Single leg hamstring curl-in➕bridge➕straight leg raise
5️⃣Single leg hamstring curl-in➕bridge➕straight leg raise➕curl-out
6️⃣Standing hamstring dominant eccentric Reverse slider lunge
7️⃣ Reverse slider lunge➕eccentric hamstring curl-out
Don’t have sliders? No worries, just grab a towel/pillow sheet/or any piece of clothing and perform these same movements on wood/tile floor. The versatility of this progressive hamstring strengthening program is what makes it so feasible for anyone to perform anywhere!
Multi-planar Hamstrings Exercises
When it comes to addressing the hamstrings, most people are great with sagittal plane focused movements including hip/knee flexion and extension. However, the hamstrings are not oriented just in the sagittal plane! This is due to different insertion points of the individual hamstring muscles.
The hamstrings is a muscle group that consists of the biceps femoris long and short head, semimembranosus, and semitendinosus. All of the hamstrings muscles except the biceps femoris short head originate on the ischial tuberosity, but they insert on different locations near the knee. Due to the different insertion points, the hamstrings not only contribute to sagittal plane movement, but also transverse plane rotational movements.
Adding rotational movements to eccentric biased hamstring exercises is essential to fully address the hamstrings. Two traditional hamstring exercises you can add rotation to are 1️⃣RDLs 2️⃣ Airplanes
Video 1️⃣ RDLs ➡️ make it easier by providing a target, such as foam rollers.
Video 2️⃣ Airplanes ➡️ cue the person to reach for the inside/outside of the foot that is on the ground to help groove the rotation.
Hamstrings Exercise Playlist HERE!
Check out this exercise playlist I put together featuring all of the hamstrings exercises in this article. Feel free to share it! This is a playlist I created on PrehabX. Click here to sign up free for ten days to create your very own playlist and share them with anyone.