Happy Hammies

Dodge hamstring woes with multi-muscle exercises. – By Dr. Jordan Metzl

Hammies

The combination of muscles that make up the hamstrings bends your knees, extends your hips, and rotates your thighs. When those muscles are weak or tight, it disrupts the muscular balance of your body. To prevent a pulled hammie, target your glutes, hip flexors, quads, core, and hamstrings. These muscles work together and need to be equally strong and flexible.

Do these exercises twice a week.

Dumbbell Step-up:  Holding dumbbells, place your right foot on a bench. Push your body up, and then lower your left foot to the floor. Do 30 reps on each leg.

Reverse Hip Raise: Lie face-down on a balance ball with your hands flat on the floor. Keeping your legs straight, lift them until your thighs are in line with your torso. Squeeze your glutes as you lift your hips. Pause, then lower to the floor. Do 10 reps, rest, and repeat.

Lying Glute Stretch: Lie face-up on the floor with your knees and hips bent. Place your right ankle across your left thigh. Grab your right knee with both hands and pull it towards your chest. Hold for 30 seconds; switch legs. Do several times a day if you’re really tight.

Walking Lunge: Holding dumbbells, perform a series of walking lunges. Do 10 reps forwards, then do backward lunges to return to your starting point. Rest and repeat.

Fix It

If you feel hamstring pain, end your run (pushing on makes it worse) and perform these steps:

  • Apply ice to the muscle for 15 minutes at a time, four to six times a day for two days.
  • Perform gentle hamstring stretches twice a day.
  • Healing may take two to eight weeks; stick to upper-body and core workouts to maintain fitness.

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