The human body, once developed, has at least 650 muscles. Thanks to all of them, it is possible to perform different activities, among which some of them are very physically demanding. Within this large group of muscles we find the hamstrings. These are fundamental to the functioning of the body.
In this article we will see three important points: what are the hamstrings, what are the most common injuries they present and, most importantly, what can be done to strengthen this area of the body.
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What are the hamstrings?
When we talk about hamstrings we refer to the group of muscles with insertion in the pelvis, tibia, femur and fibula. These in turn are classified into 3 groups: true, internal and lateral. In order to be considered within the hamstrings, the muscle must be located on the outside of the leg up to the knee
These are the 3 that fit this description:
- Biceps femoris
Thanks to these muscles it is possible to perform any movement with the knees, as well as those involving the thighs
Common hamstring injuries
Like any muscle in the body, the hamstrings also suffer injuries. These are interrelated and their classification depends on the severity of the injury. Among the most common, the following stand out
- Strain. It is also called pull. It happens when the leg is stretched more than it should
- Partial tear. It is a slight tear. Even so, when it occurs the pain is of great intensity.
- Complete rupture. The muscle suffers a total rupture. The pain is even more intense than in the previous case
In most traumatic injuries, immediate medical attention is required. This will allow to eliminate the symptoms, as well as to define the treatment to follow to correct the problem completely.
If after taking some measures, such as immobilizing the affected area or applying ice, the pain does not diminish, it is better to see a doctor. In the case of athletes, each team should have defined measures to protect them, according to the study Review of hamstring injury in sport: risk factors and strategies for prevention.
How to stretch and strengthen the hamstrings?
The best way to take care of a hamstring injury is to prevent it. To do so, exercises have been designed to strengthen this area of the body. In this way, it is much easier to avoid these injuries. The Clínica Universidad de Navarra, CUN, highlights the following.
Russian skipping is a simple activity to perform. The only thing you need is to have a free space to practice it, at least 50 meters. Now, you must follow the following steps.
- Relax the body. For the activity to work, it is important to be relaxed
- Walking. The exercise consists of taking one step after another, but without bending your knees. You must add speed, taking into consideration your capacity.
- Repeat the process. When you reach the goal, you must go back repeating the exercise. In total, each session will be 4 trips out and 4 trips back.
- Complete the exercise. After a break of no more than 5 minutes, you should start the next session. The activity ends when you have done 4 complete sessions.
The isometric bridge is also an activity in which only a small space is required. A square of 3 meters on each side is sufficient. As the exercise is performed on the floor, it must be conditioned for greater comfort. Then, the following steps are taken.
- Lie on your back. This is the starting position. Just bend your knees to begin.
- Raise the pelvis. It is necessary to raise the pelvis as much as possible. Keep your hands straight on the floor.
- Lowering. Now lower the pelvis slowly. It is important not to lower it completely. When the buttocks are close to touching the floor, raise the pelvis again.
- Repeat. This process should be done at least 20 times. However, if the resistance of the body does not allow to achieve it at the beginning, you can try to do only 10.
- Complete the exercise. In order for the activity to be effective, several sessions should be done. Maximum 4. And the rest time should not exceed half a minute.
The Romanian dead weight is ideal because it is one of the most complete exercises to strengthen various muscles of the body. To perform it you need a barbell, dumbbells or something similar. The space needed is very small. These are the steps to follow.
- Starting position. Start in a vertical position with the weight in your hands
- Lowering. You can only bend your knees a little while lowering. The first step is to bring the weight to your thighs.
- Lower further. Now, without bending your knees any further and keeping your back straight, you should try to go down as far as your body will allow.
- Togo up. The movement is performed in reverse. This is an exercise to be performed slowly
- Repeat. It is enough to do the movement up and down 10 times.
- Finish the exercise. After the first session, rest for 60 seconds and then start the process again. Repeat completely at least 4 times.
Supine hip raises
This exercise allows you to strengthen both the hamstrings and the hips. It has some similarity to the isometric bridge. Here are the steps to follow.
- Starting position. Lie on the floor, face up. Feet, hands and buttocks are supported.
- Start. Now the pelvis area is lifted until it reaches the height of the knees.
- Lower. After waiting about 10 seconds, lower the pelvis.
- Repeat. This should be done at least 10 times per session.
- Finish the exercise. To finish, 4 sessions are performed
The hamstring muscles are necessary for proper use of the legs and knees. It is therefore very important to always strengthen them.