Hamstrings are an often-injured muscle group that deserves some special attention in your warm-up. It only takes a few specifically targeted exercises to prep your hamstrings for a workout.
The key is to use exercises that isolate them because your hamstrings can be overshadowed by your glutes in many movements, like the deadlift.
What the Hamstrings Do
Four muscles make up the hamstrings that run from the back of your hip bone, past your knee and into the top of your shin. They help you flex or bend your knee. They also help the glutes out by extending your legs back.
Knee curling motions, like the leg curl machine, are one of the best ways to warm up your hamstrings because they isolate the muscle so well. Other moves, such as the Romanian deadlift, work the hamstrings by extending the hips.
Warm-Up, Not Work Out
Whatever hamstring exercises you choose to put in your warm-up, be sure to take it easy. Don't use too much resistance or do too many reps, because you might tire out your hamstrings before you even get to the workout. Spend only about five minutes warming up your hamstrings.
- International Journal of Sports Physiology and Performance: Hamstring Activation During Lower Body Resistance Training Exercises
- Open Access Journal of Sports Medicine: Muscle and intensity based hamstring exercise classification in elite female track and field athletes: implications for exercise selection during rehabilitation
- Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research: MUSCLE ACTIVATION DURING VARIOUS HAMSTRING EXERCISES
- OrthoInfo: Hamstring Muscle Injuries