Table of Contents
- 1. Do Our Hamstrings Really Need To Be That Strong?
- 2. How Often Should I Train My Hamstrings?
- 3. Is It Okay To Bend Knees When Stretching Hamstrings?
- 4. What Is The Most Effective Hamstring Workout?
Hamstrings are a group of three muscles, including the semitendinosus, biceps femoris, and semimembranosus. They are responsible for producing and controlling the movements at the hip joints and knees. Normally, we see people leave out their legs as compared to their arms and back, but they are also important for completing the personality. Strong legs are great to make you look stunning in workout shorts and pants, for which developing stronger hamstrings is important.
In this post, you will learn about all the aspects of a good hamstring workout for beginners at the gym that can help you build strong legs and enhance your training performance as well as your overall physique and body shape.
1. Do Our Hamstrings Really Need To Be That Strong?
As mentioned above, hamstring muscles are responsible for movements in hip joints and knees. They contribute to functional movements such as walking and specifically help in achieving agility, power, and speed in numerous sports. In addition, in all explosive movements, these muscles have a critical role in shifting the load from the knees to the hips.
If you are a runner, the need for stronger hamstrings becomes greater for you. A sprinter’s ability to accumulate speed and launch off the blocks mainly depends on strong hamstrings. These muscles also help in absorbing the shock of movement.
Hamstring muscles also have a key role in contraction activities. During the contraction course, your hamstrings lengthen and shorten, which enables your knees to bend. For example, when you run down a hill, the lengthening of your hamstrings aids you in controlling your speed, which also helps in lowering the pressure on your joints and preventing any kind of possible injuries.
Strong hamstrings are also important for keeping the hips and spine stable and properly aligned. If you have weaker and tighter hamstrings, they can tug on your hips by tipping them forward and can compromise their functional movement.
2. How Often Should I Train My Hamstrings?
Hamstrings are not muscles that you can train a lot, unlike other muscles like quads, glutes, and spine. If you overtrain these muscles, they can stiffen, which may lead to hamstring injuries. Hamstring strains can also take place.
According to experts, a beginner should not be doing more than 4 sets of direct hamstring work per week to maintain and improve hamstring muscles. So, if you are training twice a week, you should be doing 2 sets of hamstring work per session, and if you want to train 4 times a week, you should be adding 1 set of hamstring work to each of your training sessions.
To make your hamstring training sessions more effective, you need to wear the right gym wear, including jogger pants or compression pants, in order to make your movements fluent. They will not only help you improve your gains, but will also protect you from injuries such as rashes or muscle strains.
3. Is It Okay To Bend Knees When Stretching Hamstrings?
When stretching hamstrings, you must keep your knees straight, as if you keep them bent, your stretching will not put proper pressure on your muscles and the results will not be the same as you want. Therefore, while stretching your hamstring muscles, keep your knees straight to get the most effective stretch. However, having a little bend in your knees can be acceptable, but you should not be bending them a lot.
4. What Is The Most Effective Hamstring Workout?
To make your hamstrings strong, you need to do a comprehensive workout that can help you deal with all aspects of the hamstrings. Here are exercises that you should be incorporating into your hamstring workout for maximum gains.
4.1. Hand Walk
Hand walking is a fantastic exercise that not only works the core and shoulders but also helps to improve hamstring flexibility. This is one of the simple exercises that do not involve any equipment or weights.
- Start by standing with your feet hip-width apart, bending down at your waist, and placing your hands on the floor. If you are unable to keep your legs straight, you can bend them so you can easily reach the floor.
- While keeping your legs straightened as much as you can, start walking with your hands forward and keep your core contracted at the same time.
- After you get into a plank position, hold there for a while and walk your hands back to your feet to get into the starting position.
4.2. Single-Leg Romanian Deadlift
Single-leg Romanian deadlifts are not only helpful for runners to keep their legs strong, but they can also help everyone to strengthen their hamstring muscles. Besides, this exercise is also effective for strengthening hip muscles as it is a single-leg exercise.
Here is how to do this exercise the right way.
- Get into a standing position with your feet shoulder width apart and slightly bent knees while raising one leg off the floor. While doing so, you should also hold a dumbbell or kettlebell in your hand.
- Without making any changes to your bent knee, keep your back arched naturally and hinge at your hips while lowering your torso to make it almost parallel to the ground.
- In this pose, lower your hand holding the dumbbell/kettlebell while keeping your arms straight.
- Briefly pause in this position before getting into the starting position. To get into the starting position, squeeze your glutes, thrust your hips forward, and then raise your torso.
4.3. Dumbbell Sumo Squat
The other one of the effective no-weight or equipment exercises that you should be adding to your hamstring workout at the gym is the dumbbell sumo squat. This exercise is beneficial in numerous ways. Besides hamstrings, it also helps in improving quads, groin, and glutes.
Here is the perfect way to perform this exercise:
- Start by standing with your feet twice shoulder width apart while keeping your legs straight. Hold a heavy dumbbell at one end with both hands.
- Once you get into the starting position, start this exercise bending at your hips and knees level to bring your thighs parallel to the floor. While doing so, your lower back should have a natural arch and keep your chest out.
- Pause here, exhale while pushing your back up to get into the starting position.
4.4. Swiss Ball Leg Curl
For hamstring strength and flexibility, swiss ball leg curls are also a helpful exercise that every beginner should include in their hamstring workout plans. Apart from hamstrings and other leg muscles, this exercise is also incredible for the lower back and abs.
You should be performing this exercise in the following steps.
- Start this exercise by lying flat on the floor with your feet propped up on the Swiss ball.
- Your arms should be placed flat on the floor and must be in line with your shoulders for the stability aspect.
- Now, raise your hips to make them align with your shoulders and knees.
- After that, start hamstring curls by rolling the Swiss ball in a backward direction to your butt for the purpose of flattening your feet on the ball with extended knees towards the ceiling.
- Reverse this move to get into the starting position.
4.5. Romanian Deadlift With Barbell
The Romanian deadlift is a multipurpose exercise that can be done for various muscles to strengthen them as well as to boost their growth. Specifically, when it comes to leg muscles, this exercise is found to be incredibly effective. You can add this incredible exercise to your hamstring workout to maximize your gains.
Here are some easy steps to perform this exercise in the most effective way.
- Start by loading the barbell with the desired weight and standing by keeping your feet shoulder width apart with toes pointed forward. Now position the loaded barbell in such a way that it should be on your shoelaces when you look straight down.
- Now, bend a little at the knees and lift the loaded barbell upwards to your waist level.
- When you lift the weight to your waist level, thrust your hips forward and lower them to your mid-shin level to complete a rep of this exercise.
4.6. Bent-Over Single-Arm, Single-Leg Row
Bent over single-arm single-leg row is one of the whole body exercises, but it primarily targets the lats and leg muscles, along with the middle back, traps, shoulders, and triceps. You can also take advantage of it to improve your gains from your hamstring workout at the gym.
Here is how to execute this exercise the right way.
- Pick a dumbbell from the rack and hold it in your right hand while placing your left hand on the bench placed in front of you.
- After that, bend over at the hips and raise your right leg, bringing it in line with the rest of the body. Now, bring the dumbbell down into a hanging position at arm’s length with your palm facing inward. This will be your starting position.
- Now start your exercise by rowing the dumbbell upwards to the side of your chest. At the same time, keep your elbow tucked into your side. Stay there for a while, and then lower back to the starting position.
Here is one thing to remember: always start your workouts with a warm-up activity for at least 5 minutes to prepare your body for the intensive movements as well as for prevention from possible injuries. You can do rope jumping, jogging, or any other low-impact activity as a warmup before going for the hamstring workout.
The following table can also help you understand what sequence of these above-stated exercises you should be adopting for the best result.
|The Best Hamstring Workout For Beginners
|Single-Leg Romanian Deadlift
|10 per leg
|Sumo Squat to Stand
|Swiss Ball Leg Curl
|Bent-Over Single-Arm, Single-Leg Row