Hamstring Strengthening Exercise

by Dana Ranahan from Body Works Sports Physiotherapy

Why do I Need to strengthen my hamstring muscles?

The hamstring muscles are located at the back of your thighs. They are important muscles to strengthen to help improve day to day function. Hamstring muscles are also critical for walking and running as well as stop and start sports, such as soccer, field hockey, and tennis.

The hamstring muscles assist with load transfer when we transfer our body weight onto one leg, as well as for push off/kick back for walking or running. The hamstrings help to provide power and quickness to your movements and are needed for activities like sprint work. They are also important in helping to decelerate us from speed, and to allow better control for quick stopping motions.

Hamstring weakness can result in a range of problems and interfere with daily tasks. If you hamstrings are weak, you are at risk of inuring your lower back, hips or knees. Sometimes weakness here can lead to muscle strains or ligament injuries at the knee.

There are numerous ways to strengthen the hamstring. This exercise is aimed to help improve hip extension control and load transfer for walking, hiking, and running sports – to name a few.

Hamstring Strengthening Exercise:

  • Use a piece of Thera band and knot it together, secured to the leg of a counter or table. You can make the theraband single strap tension or doubled over, depending upon the strength of your exercise band. Attach the band to the ankle of the leg you want to strengthen.
  • Step backwards carefully so that there’s a bit of tension on the exercise band, but you can still manage to keep your weight even.
  • Stand on one leg and first work on bringing the leg with the band around the ankle straight back in space, which helps us with extending our hip.
  • This is challenging for the standing leg, so you will need to work to control your pelvis. Maintain a neutral position for the pelvis and spine.
  • Avoid any twisting at your hips or pelvis (maintain it neutral) and avoid arching your back.

The first component of the exercise is straight pullbacks, working on stability on the standing leg and spine, as well as strength on the band leg.

Usually I would aim to do about 10 repetitions if you can. Repeat for 2-3 sets. If you start to get tired, please stop sooner when fatigued and perhaps complete 2-3 sets of 8 repetitions initially.

It is important to do both legs, as you will find that it is a workout for the support/standing leg to hold while the other leg is pulling the band.

For more more information on Hamstring exercises, please contact us directly to book an appointment with one of our skilled Physiotherapists. For more information on hamstring injuries, you can visit the resources on our website by clicking here.