Why should you train your Hamstrings?
The hamstrings are a key component of leg musculature. As such, they are useful in building large, aesthetically pleasing thighs. Having strong hamstrings is also incredibly important for overall health and athletic performance. Read on to find GymNation's best hamstring workouts!
The hamstrings are a group of muscles that run along the back of the thigh. They are comprised of:
- The biceps femoris
- The semitendinosus
- The semimembranosus
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All three originate towards the centre of the buttocks, though they all have slightly different functions. Individually, the biceps femoris flexes the knee, laterally rotates the knee and hip, extends the hip and posteriorly tilts the pelvis, whilst the semitendinosus and semimembranosus perform these tasks with the difference that they medially rotate the knee and hip.
Primarily, a good level of hamstring strength will aid in injury prevention. They are key to knee stability, postural health, and correct hip and torso positioning. Injury to all of these areas, plus the hamstrings themselves, becomes more likely when they are underdeveloped.
Secondly, strong hamstrings are necessary for athletic performance. As a whole, they are responsible for knee flexion and hip extension – they bend the knee and straighten the hips. This means that they are involved in most athletic movements. Paired with the glutes, they aid in running fast, as they push the body forwards using extension at the hip joint. Increased hamstring strength, and healthy hamstrings in general, will also help with deceleration ability, likely due to their role in torso orientation and control over the body’s centre of mass. Most lifts will utilise the hamstrings in some way – compound movements involving hip hinges, like squats and deadlifts, will use them as prime movers.
Finally, knee flexion, hip extension and healthy posture are of course necessary for healthy function through everyday life. Every time you stand still, stand up, sit down, walk, or stoop over to pick anything up, you are relying on your hamstrings being able to help you. Without them, mobility and functionality will be severely impaired. Search for "Gyms in the UAE" and put your fitness first!
Deadlifts are amongst the biggest hitting exercises going. They are heavy, taxing, and use and built up a great deal of muscle mass at often maximal loads. Anybody looking to get big and strong should include them in their regular routines.
Main muscles worked:
- Back, lower and upper
- Traps and shoulders
Hamstring curls are a great isolation exercise. The hamstrings are very similar to the biceps of the upper arm, in both their physiognomy and function. Hamstring curls can be thought of like bicep curls – they work through wide ranges of motion at relatively high volumes to thicken the muscle and improve contractile strength.
Main muscles worked:
Nordic hamstring curls
Nordic hamstring curls are the hamstring curl’s big brother. They are tough, will generally require a partner to help out, and will build hamstring power and size incredibly efficiently. They make use of an incredibly hard eccentric phase to build strength and stability.
Main muscles used:
- Lower back
The hamstrings are far less visible than the hefty quadriceps that they sit behind. They are hidden at the back of the upper legs, between the knees and the glutes. However, though unobtrusive, they are incredibly important.
They are made up of three muscles that connect to the pelvis and the back of the knee through incredibly stable, solid, strong tendons.
These muscles work to extend the hips and flex the knees. This makes them vital in everyday movements like walking, running and cycling, and fundamental to many large, compound lifts like squats and deadlifts. They also play a key role in protection from injury as they hold the upper legs steady and keep them stable.
Personal Trainer, GymNation Abu Dhabi