Early this week we dedicated a blog post to the beloved Deadlift. We focused on ‘4 Tips to Improve Your Deadlift’. One of the important takeaways from that article is understanding how important it is to have all of your muscles working together as a team to perform the lift efficiently. An area of the body that we see neglected over and over again, are the hamstrings. The hamstrings are an important muscle when it comes to performing a deadlift but also an important muscle to have strong legs. You can’t have strong legs by just focusing on the quads and butt. Although, we understand how fun it is to work the quadriceps and gluteus maximus. It isn’t just about those two muscle groups though. Next time it is leg day, make sure you are focusing on your hamstrings too.
A very effective exercise to isolate and target the hamstrings are, hamstring curls. Hamstrings curls are great when making well rounded strong legs and are also very effective for runners and sprinters. If you belong to a gym, there is a machine called the hamstring curl. This piece of equipment is great to use but we personally don’t like relying on a gym and doing hamstring curls anywhere we want to. All you need is a slippery or hardwood floor (no carpet) and a towel or Valslides (or anything like that) and you are ready to do hamstrings curls anywhere.
- To perform the hamstring curl, lay on your back with your heels planted firmly on the slides or towel. You will perform the exercise mostly through your heels and not your whole foot. Your foot should not be flat on the ground.
- Squeeze your core and glutes to raise your hips slightly off of the ground, then bend your knees to draw your heels in towards you while you squeeze your hamstrings to slide your feet back to your butt.
- Without losing your spine’s alignment or feeling pain in your back, straighten your legs to return to the original position.
- If you can keep your hips lifted the whole time when performing hamstring curls. If this is a bit too tough for you right now, no problem–just lower your hips back down to the ground between each repetition.
- Maintaining your form the whole time is the most important. Keep your abs engaged and squeeze your glutes the whole time.
- Do not allow your low back to arch, this is when you can hurt yourself.
Add the hamstring curl to your leg day with four sets of 8 to 12 reps.
Are hamstring curls already a part of your leg day routine?