Here’s why you should work on your hamstrings as you up the training intensity. By Estelle Low
Work on your hamstrings to run faster. (Photo: maridav / www.123rf.com)
Taking your running to the next level doesn’t just involve working on your stamina. It’s also about conditioning your muscles to sustain your running form, such as your hamstrings.
A common area of injury for runners is the hamstring muscles. This occurs when the muscles at the back of your thigh are overstretched, typically because the muscles at the front of your thigh (quads) are much stronger, or when you don’t warm up adequately before exercising. In severe cases, you will feel pain in the back of the thigh and lower buttock when walking, straightening the leg, or bending over.
Other than making sure you do the right stretching exercises before and after training, do these two conditioning moves to strengthen your hamstrings. Recommended by Darek Lam, head sports physiotherapist at Go!Physio clinic, you should do three sets of each move (resting 30 to 60 seconds in between) on days when you aren’t running.
Exercise for Runners to Strengthen Hamstrings: Single Leg Bridging
Works hamstrings and core
Lie on back with left knee bent, right leg straightened and lifted [A]. Tighten butt muscles and raise hips off floor. At the same time, lift right leg to align with shoulders, hips and knee [B]. Return to starting position. Do 15 reps; switch sides to complete set.
Exercise for Runners to Strengthen Hamstrings: Hamstring Stretch
Sit down with left leg straightened and right foot tucked near groin. Keeping back straight, lean forward until a stretch is felt in back of left thigh [shown]. Hold for 30 seconds and return to starting position. Do three reps; switch sides to complete set.