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Tug of War: Your Hamstring Muscles

Tug of War: Your Hamstring Muscles



Where are my hamstrings?
What do my hamstrings do?
How do I get strong hamstrings?
How do I stretch my hamstrings?


Where are my hamstrings?
Your hamstrings are the muscles behind the thigh. This big muscle stretches all the way from your butt to the back of your knee. back to top

What do my hamstrings do?
In a never-ending tug of war, the hamstrings straighten the knee, while the quadriceps (on the front of your thighs) bend it. You couldn't even walk if you didn't have hamstring muscles. Runners and other athletes tend to develop very strong hamstrings. But most of us forget about those muscles on the back of our thighs and end up with weak hamstrings. Strong quads and weak hams is a recipe for injury—that's why athletes spend a lot of time strengthening and stretching their hamstrings. back to top

How do I get strong hamstrings?
The hamstrings, quads, and the muscles of your buttocks (glutes) work as a team. Quad and glute exercises such as lunges and squats also target the hamstrings. If you want to focus on the hamstrings alone, add an exercise that involves bending only the knee, not the hip and the knee. The most common one is called a hamstring curl. These can be done on a machine at the gym. Girls who don't have access to weight-training machines can get great results with elastic rubber tubing (sold at sporting goods stores). It doesn't take up any space and comes in cool, neon colors! Try a resistance training exercise for your hamstrings called the hamstring curl. back to top

How do I stretch my hamstrings?
After you finish your strength training routine, be sure to stretch your muscles. Stretching helps your muscles get rid of the lactic acid that builds up and makes you feel sore a day or two after your workout. Hamstrings tend to be tight so it is especially important to include this hamstring stretch in your workout. back to top

 
 
 
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