Not-So-Gross Anatomy: Hamstring Movements


Do you sit at work/school/bar?

Do you drive a car?

Do you rest in a chair?

Do you sleep in a fetal position? 

Yes to any of the above will result in tighter hamstrings over time. We need this muscle group (and all actually) to function in an optimum fashion when called upon. Effectively training this group calls upon training the muscle group eccentrically and concentrically through both the hip and knee.

Translation: if you are just doing seated leg curls, you are doing it wrong.

Mobility work and rolling is essential:

Now there is a multitude of ways to loosen up but I am a big fan of rolling and integrated patterns to help get the body ready for activity.

(Videos have been shot at the best place to workout in Northern Virginia - The Energy Club)

The foam roller allows us to seek out and destroy any of those hot spots that are lingering around in our body.

The cossack squat is a great movement in and of itself, but I love using it for mobility to loosen up the hips, the knees, ankles and fire up the lower body

I like to use the dowel/PVC/broomstick to use some leverage in some movement patterns. The dowel fold over provides some leverage in opening up the posterior chain prior to moving some weight around.


Strength Training the Hamstrings:

Again, I am coming primarily from an integrated point of view. Time is valuable and being able to get more accomplished in less time is incredibly valuable to many of my clients. If you remember yesterday and know how the biceps femoris, the semitendinosus, and the semimembranosus move - then we need activity that runs across the hip and knee. 

Kettlebell Swings - this is a great hinge movement and a staple for hamstring work @ b3

Single leg deadlift work (ipsilateral shown) is a great way to train the hinge unilaterally. Your stabilizing muscles definitely get the memo that something is happening.

I love me some deadlifts. Sumo/traditional/kettlebell/pause/snatch-grip/clean-grip all have a place near and dear to my heart - like pizza.

Stability ball hip press gives an alternate way to add velocity to a hip extension while allowing the knees to remain flexed throughout. A unique and effective way to say hello to the hammies!

Swimmer kicks allow a great opportunity to fire the hamstrings without needing an external load. It is also a great move to help clean up compensation patterns.

Oh, the love/hate relationship I have with suspension training. So humbling but soooo effective. Hamstring curls on the TRX are an eye-opener.

At the end of the day, training the hamstring group in isolation is not so easy to do. The glutes, the errectors, the gastrocs all have something to say about it. Not to mention the adductors and quads. But building strong hamstrings are essential for posture, balance, and anything powerful!

Thanks for reading this entry! Until next time....

Don Bahneman

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