What muscles gives us that nice explosive power when we are in a sprint? What muscles help to stabilize the knee and even assist in the rotational aspect. One of the most neglected compartments of the posterior thigh are the hamstrings. Grouped together as three separate muscles which are the biceps femoris, semimembranosus (largest of the three) and semitendinosus. These are very strong muscles for knee flexion and also stabilization of the hips.

Some of the best isolation movements for the knee doesn’t even involve some of the typical knee flexion we would see in a leg curl machine. I really like to utilize the bands with lot of the hamstring motions. One major reason is that I feel the hamstrings are like most muscles in the body resembling a band. Same goes for both that at full stretch we feel the most tension. While performing the motion of a deadlift or good morning we still want to control the aspect of the stretch so that way we know we are completely engaging all parts of the hamstrings. Even many times if the stretch is fairly deep with proper form then we can even involve our adductor magnum muscle as well (not a part of the hamstrings).

I also like performing the same motion with a kettlebell or even dumbbells. Still same form and motion we are just now controlling more free hanging weight minus the acclimated tension we would see with the bands as in the first exercise. Still will isolate the usage of all parts of the hamstrings. One error I do find when performing this is losing the closeness of the weight in relation to the body. We need to always hip our butt back first in the initial descent of the movement while maintaining a lordotic (natural lumbar curve) position in the lumbar spine. This will place more focus on our posterior compartment rather than our lower back which in turn injury prevention.

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Trey Hodge
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