Minimize injury risk and improve your power with these hamstring exercises.
The hamstrings are an important 2-joint muscle that acts at both the hip and knee during running. Since they are a powerful hip extensor, they play a major role in propelling the body forward with each stride. They also bend the knee following toe-off to prepare the leg for the recovery phase.
Strong hamstrings are able to create more force, which contributes to your ability to run faster. In addition, stronger hamstrings—and all of your leg muscles for that matter—are able to store and utilize elastic energy better, which improves your running economy. If not strong enough, or if too much demand is placed on this muscle group, runners can experience hamstring strains, tears, muscle cramps, and marked tightness. To minimize your risk for sustaining an injury, here are three exercises to strengthen different functions of your hamstrings.
Exercise 1 – Romanian Deadlift
The Romanian Deadlift strengthens the hamstrings to extend the hip, in other words, to bring the knee/thigh back following the foot strike. The groin (adductors), gluteals and low back are also strengthened in this exercise. This strength is important for running posture, power, and endurance for maintaining effective form.
Many runners have tight hamstrings and may find it difficult to achieve the optimal position required in the Romanian Deadlift. If this is the…