Stretch, Strengthen, Warm Up: Nurturing your Hamstrings
We hear it all too often, someone we know or a professional sports person has 'done their hammy'. This sort of injury can take weeks or even months to recover from.
The poor hamstring muscle gets so easily forgotten, that is until we injure it, then we realise how essential it is. With winter sports season starting, the last thing you want is a hamstring injury. There are three simple things you need to do to nurture your hamstrings; warming up, strengthening and stretching.
The hamstring is a long strap like muscle, it can easily tear if it's forced to perform when cold. Start with a short, slow jog or brisk walk, this will get your heart pumping blood to the muscles. Secondly, get your hips mobilised with some deep, body weight squats. Lastly, perform some glute bridges, focus on pushing through your heels and squeezing your glutes at the top, consider adding a resistance band around your knees to increase the intensity. Sometimes, our glutes don't do their job correctly and the hamstring takes on some of the load. Glute bridges is a great way to warm up the hamstrings but also start firing up your glutes.
Even if we feel like our hamstrings are tight, its more than likely that they are also weak. It's easy for our body to become quad dominant, so when we do go for a short burst like jumping or sprinting our hamstrings don't cope. My favourite three exercises to work both your hamstrings and glutes are: Romanian deadlifts, also consider doing single leg RDLs to combat any weakness in one leg. Split squats, this is where you lunge with your back leg raises. Drop lunges, this is where you lunge with your front leg on a step which allows for a bigger range of motion.
We hear it all too often, someone we know or a professional sports person has 'done their hammy'
Flexibility is often forgotten, but it is so crucial for optimal muscle performance. Flexibility increases your range of motion, this means your muscle is capable of performing to its full potential within a bigger movement span. Improving your range of motion will also lead to bigger strength gains within the muscle. Make sure you're ending every workout or sporting game with a good stretch session, not only will it reduce muscle soreness but it will speed up your recovery time.
In closing, please don't forget the humble hamstring. You won't realise how much you need it until it's gone. Lastly, if none of the above reasons motivate you this might, stronger hamstrings will help lift up your glutes, making your butt more perky and defined. All hail the bubble butt.
Sarah Hanna is a local personal trainer who is available for coaching sessions, she also runs classes at Ryde park with MF Fitness. For more information on classes or one on one personal training services.
Sarah Hanna Fitness
M: 0405 417 388