best hamstring strength exercises

Cyclists’ hamstrings are often overlooked, next to the giant quads and bulging calves, which are the main movers throughout the pedal stroke. But without enough hamstring strength, you’ll never maximize your strength potential. This is because the hamstrings are the key muscles in the rotation throughout the pedal stroke.

Why you need strong hamstrings on the bike

Your hamstrings are made up of three muscles: the biceps femoris, semimembranosus, and semitendinosus. They work the hardest when you pull your legs up from the bottom of the pedal stroke.But they’re also responsible for “bending the knee and extending the hip during the entire pedal stroke,” says USA Cycling Level 3 coach Paul Wolowski simple endurance in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. If you don’t have enough strength to facilitate this push-pull, you’ll never get the power you need to ride efficiently.

Your hamstrings also work during the downstroke to provide some power, stabilize and guide the knee and foot back to the starting point, Warloski says.Stablize kneeespecially when your legs are extended at the end of the pedal stroke: this joint helps transmit power from the larger muscles in the hips and thighs to the calves and feet, and often bears the brunt of cycling the repeatability.

question?when you sit on your bike for hours (or sitting too long In any case, really) it puts your hips in a flexed position, which keeps your glutes and hamstrings stretched. Over time, this can lead to something called gluteal amnesia or dead butt syndrome — gluteus maximusIt should be the most powerful muscle in your lower body, but not enough (or not at all) to fire, explains Seamus Sullivan, a Los Angeles-certified strength and conditioning specialist and fitness trainer. The hamstrings are then over-tense because they are tightening the slack in the hip muscles. All of this can manifest in a cyclist’s hamstring.

Stretching can help—but strength training is just as important for avoiding soreness. “Strong hamstrings are key for cyclists during pedaling,” says Sullivan. “It also helps improve overall work performance and mitigate overuse injuries.”

To build your hamstring strength, Warloski recommends Strength Training At least twice a week until about a month before your first major event or season (then, once a week with heavier weights is good for maintenance). These hamstring exercises will prepare you for time in the saddle, distribute tightness and build strength in your legs.

How to use this list: When starting strength training, pay attention to the weights and repetitions you choose (don’t be afraid to start with bodyweight until you’ve identified the right form). “We don’t usually put pressure on the hamstrings like this, they’re sore!” says Wolowski. “Fatigue the next day is good, extreme soreness is not, which suggests that recovery takes longer and you lose adaptation.”

you should do this workout back ride a bike. “I usually tell clients to do interval training in the morning and strength training in the evening,” Warloski says. “Our legs were a little tired from the morning training session. But we didn’t care how much weight we lifted, it was just that lifting would add stress and fatigue.”

Shoot 2 sets of 8-12 repetitions of these exercises. “Your goal is to get some fatigue in the hamstrings so you finish this set feeling like you can do three or four more reps at the end of the second set. The first set lets you figure out what you should be doing What weight to use, the second set should end with fatigue.”

Kristine Zabala, Barry’s Fitness Instructor and Senior Solidcore Instructor in Philadelphia, demonstrates each exercise so you can learn proper form. You’ll need a set of gliders (or towels), a stability ball, a mini-band, and a set of dumbbells. Exercise mats are optional.

1. Slider Curls

Lie face up with your knees bent and your heels on the sliders under your feet. Step through your heels, contract your hips, and lift your hips up toward the ceiling. Your body should form a straight line from your shoulders to your knees. This is your starting position. Slowly straighten one leg and press the heel into the floor, pulling the heel back into the hip. Keep your hips elevated. Repeat on the other side. Continue to alternate. If this is too easy, do both legs at the same time.

2. Hamstring stretch

Lie face up with your heels on the exercise ball. Lift your hips off the ground with your knees in the air and directly over your hips. This is your starting position. Push the ball away from your hips, straightening your legs but keeping your knees soft. Pull your heels back into your hips and roll the ball in and back to the starting position. Keep your hips lifted and core engaged. repeat.

3. Nordic Curls

Begin kneeling with your feet immobilized or weighted by your partner. Keep a straight line from head to knee (hips can be slightly bent). Use only your thighs to lower your torso to the ground as far as possible, then place yourself on the floor with your hands. Squeeze your glutes and hamstrings to pull your body back to the starting position (use your hands to help start the upward movement if needed). repeat.

4. Single leg with rebate

Wrap one end of the resistance band around the low anchor point or opposite ankle. Wrap the other end around the other leg just below the knee or just above the ankle (the lower it is, the harder it is to move). Bend slightly at the waist and use a chair or wall for balance. Extend one leg back for a sweeping motion, then pause and squeeze your hips at the top. Return to start. repeat. Then switch sides.

5. Split Romanian Deadlift

Stand with feet apart. With a dumbbell in each hand, move your left foot forward and your right foot back into a separated position. With your knees slightly bent, articulate your hips by bending your hips straight back, then lower the dumbbells to your mid-shins. Maintain a flat back and an engaged core. Push your hips through your feet to stretch and stand up. repeat. Then switch sides.

6. Weighted Good Morning

Stand with your feet hip-width apart. Place a barbell or dumbbell on your shoulders with your hands behind your head. Articulate your hips by moving your hips straight back and slowly lowering your torso until your hamstrings are tight. Pause, then squeeze your hips and push your feet up. repeat.

7. Single Leg Glute Bridge

Lie face up, knees bent, feet on the ground, arms on the floor. Lift your right leg toward the ceiling, keeping your knees aligned. Engage your hips and drive through your left foot to lift your hips. Slowly lower your hips back to the floor. repeat. Then switch sides.

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