In this fitness round-up, Protima Tiwary discusses ways to prevent injury by making your hamstrings stronger.
You’ve seen it a million times on television- your favourite sportsman has put up a great performance, and suddenly there is a call for a time out because he’s injured the back of his leg. News of his hamstring tear makes the front page headlines, and you can’t help wonder how an athlete of that level has suffered a hamstring tear. If it happens to them, it can happen to you too.
Hamstrings are the neglected muscles of the leg that we almost always miss out on. Seeing our quads pumped at the end of a workout is enough to give us the satisfaction that we’ve smashed a heavy leg session. What we often fail to see is something that lies behind (quite literally) – the supporting group of muscles that helps improve performance and strength of your leg muscles.
The hamstrings—a collection of three muscles extending from your sit bones to the backs of your knees—are one of the most frequently injured muscles in sports. This is mainly due to inadequate training. If you’re a sportsman or an athlete, treat this post as a reminder to train your hamstrings! Here are 5 exercises that you can bookmark for your reference.
You can perform these with a barbell or even dumbbells. Here’s how you do it-
- Hold the weight in front of you while standing straight.
- Slowly hinge your hips and bend, lowering the weight in front of you while keeping your legs straight.
- As you lean forward to bend, you will feel a stretch in your hamstrings. In simpler terms, imagine your dumbbell/barbell to be tracing the outline of your legs as you bend forward and down, without touching your legs.
- Go as low as your legs permit you to go without bending.
- Pull back up
- Put the barbell on you back, as if to squat
- Push your hips back, and bend forward, parallel to the ground
- Make sure your back is straight while you are parallel to the ground
- When you bend, look straight down at the floor and do not look up or straight ahead.
- Stand with one leg on the ground, the other on a bench. Keep your shoulders back, core engaged and look straight ahead.
- Slowly lower yourself straight down by bending the leg that you’re standing on, while maintaining balance. Make sure your core is engaged.
- Rise up using the power in your quads and glutes
- You can hold a dumbbell in order to add more resistance.
- Lie down on your stomach, and bend your legs at the knees
- Fix a dumbbell weight in between your legs, and ensure you have a solid grip on it with your feet
- Bring the dumbbell towards your glutes, and then lower them slowly back to the floor.
- Lie on your back, bend your knees and rest your feet close to your glutes. Place your palms on the floor, preferably extended to each side.
- Engage your core and extend your legs overhead, and pull your toes toward your face.
- Continue for 30 seconds.