Tuesday, 27 May 2014

3 easy hamstring exercises (no gym or equipment needed!)

For the past few months I have been back in physio for issues with my knee and hip (thanks to my inherited flat feet). But like many aches and pains, the cause of the issue isn’t where I am feeling the pain, nor is it those muscles that are weak. 

For me, the muscle areas that I am most weak in are my hip flexors, glutes and hamstrings. When I was told this, it did make a lot of sense, but how could I have weak hamstrings?! I do kick boxing once a week, the odd bit of pilates and a few lunges and squats every now and again. 

But my physio explained that in all the exercise I do, I don’t actually work the hamstrings that well. Cue me now incorporating hamstring exercises into my routine!!!

I want to share with you three easy to do but effective hamstring exercises! I have only been doing these a few weeks but I am already noticing the benefits. I also used to lean quite far forward (I am now guessing that was due to my weak hamstring muscles and my quads over compensating) but my standing posture is already a lot better! 

If you are like me, and hate the gym, these can be done anywhere!

NOTE: I am not a physio, PT or doctor, so please be throw caution to the wind if you want to do these!   

Hamstring Curl
This simple exercise is like what you would do at the gym… but without the gym equipment. When I first started to do these I felt a bit thick...there was no way on earth this was going to improve my hamstring muscles. Oh how I was proved wrong. The next day the backs of my legs seriously ached.

So easy to do– simply stand up straight and bend your leg at the knee, curling it towards your bum. I like to steady myself with a chair and I sometimes pop on ankle weights to increase resistance if I am feeling brave

Split lunge (from height)
This does also work your glutes, quads and calves so a perfect all rounder, but trust me, you definitely feel it in your hamstrings. This exercise comes courtesy of the Boy who made me do these and now I regularly do them as part of my routine now.

With one foot in front of you and one on a bench behind, bend the front knee and lower into a deep lunge position.  Rise back up, lower, repeat! This really tests your balance too! Be careful to make sure that your knee doesn’t go over your foot.

This is such a simple move and you have the option to hold dumbbells to make it harder. Again one that the Boy showed me. 

Stand with your feet shoulder width apart. At the hip, bend into a 90* right angle position to the floor, aiming to put your fingertips on the floor. With control, raise back up to the starting position keeping your back straight (not hunch or curl).

I have tried to start off with a set of 10-20 reps, then increase this over time by doing a few sets of each. Add ankle weights to up the intensity if you can!

Happy hamstrings! 

X x X 

with all exercises please be careful!!! Seek medical advice and expert help if you are having issues with any body part or pain!!! You only have one body, take care of it! 

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