Training Your Hamstrings – Exercise Options

Here are a few options for hamstring strain rehab!

The hamstrings are a group of muscles that run down the back of your thigh, and training them is essential for overall health and fitness. In this blog post, we’ll explore why training your hamstrings is important.

hamstring muscle anatomy biceps femoris
hamstring muscle anatomy semitendinosus
hamstring muscle anatomy semimembranosus

Training your hamstrings can help reduce your risk of injury during sprinting. Working on high speed and rate of force development exercises for the hamstrings can contribute to their job in sprinting. Eccentric hamstring exercises and, of course, sprinting itself, can help with reducing injuries during high speed running.

If you are looking to add sprinting into your running or training routine, gradual progressions are necessary to learn the skill of sprinting and to introduce your body to the high level stress of an all-out activity.

Here is a proposed model of returning to sprinting during rehab from a hamstring muscle strain that could be used to introduce small bouts of sprinting.

Image from reference 1.

If you’re an athlete, training your hamstrings can help to improve your performance. Strong hamstrings are essential for activities such as running, jumping, and changing direction quickly. By improving your hamstring strength and flexibility, you’ll be able to perform these movements more effectively and with greater power.

Our hamstring muscles play a protective role for our ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) as well by preventing the anterior translation of our tibia during cutting, landing, deceleration and change of direction movements.

Since our hamstrings have 3 different muscles in the group and they cross at the knee joint and the hip joint, multiple exercises are needed to target all the functions of the hamstrings.

  • Isometric holds to challenge the tendinous connective tissue
  • Eccentric loading to increase muscle fascicle length and strength in these ranges
  • Heavy loading for concentric force production

Types of exercises:

  • Knee dominant exercises where the knee is bending (nordics, hamstring curls)
  • Hip dominant exercises where the hip is bending (deadlifts, RDLs, good mornings, bridges)

If you are looking for a full program for hamstring strain recovery and rehab, check out the Hamstring Injury Program – it takes you from acute through to sprinting, with video demonstrations and explanations.

1. Hickey, Jack T., et al. “Hamstring strain injury rehabilitation.” Journal of athletic training 57.2 (2022): 125-135.
2. Paton, Bruce M., et al. “London International Consensus and Delphi study on hamstring injuries part 3: rehabilitation, running and return to sport.” British journal of sports medicine57.5 (2023): 278-291.

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