The hamstrings are a large muscle group located in the back of the thigh. All three hamstring muscles are used in many everyday activities, such as running, biking and walking, as they help to control flexion of the knee. The benefits of a hamstring workout include building muscle to increase power and strength, to help reduce the chances of injury and to increase muscle definition and tone. A hamstring workout should usually focus on flexibility as well as strength, however, as the thigh muscles are often tight in athletes.
One of the main benefits of a hamstring workout is building strength to reduced the chance of injury. Athletes often fear hamstring injuries more than many other types due to the intense pain and long recovery time. Although a hamstring workout can’t prevent injuries from occurring completely, it can certainly help reduce the chances. Hamstring flexibility is often poor in such athletes as runners, which is why regular stretching — often at least once a day for thirty seconds — is important.
Stronger hamstring muscles can also help an athlete compete more effectively. The hamstrings are involved in many competitive sports activities, so working on increasing the strength of the muscles may help the athlete increase speed and improve stamina. Gaining a competitive advantage is important for any sport, and a regular hamstring workout is one way to achieve this.
A hamstring workout is also useful for aesthetic reasons. Although this is often a consideration for women rather than men, working on the hamstring muscles can lead to toned muscles that look slim and attractive. The hamstrings are one of the largest muscle groups in the body, and hence are important if a person wants to have attractive legs.
There are three hamstring muscles that work together in order to provide knee flexion and stability. These muscles are the biceps femoris, semitendinosus and semimembranosus. There are a number of exercises that can be used to increase hamstring strength, but one of the most popular is the hamstring curl. To perform this exercise the athlete starts on his or her back with feet on an exercise ball and hips elevated. Keeping the hips up, the knees are flexed to bring the ball toward the person and then back again.
To perform a hamstring stretch, the athlete should lay on his or her back with a towel or exercise band wrapped around the heel of one foot. Slowly, the leg should be raised upward until a stretch is felt. This position should be held for at least 30 seconds and should not be painful.