Located at the level of the back of the thighs, the hamstring muscles are too often neglected, whether by the muscular practitioners or by the competitive athletes. It is essential to strengthen this muscle group, whether to re-balance your muscles or to avoid injuries. So here are some hamstring exercises for women to muscle your ischios, and also to stretch them.
Recall on hamstrings
The posterior muscle of the thigh is composed of three muscles: the femoral biceps, the semi-tendinous and the semi-membranous. To them 3, these muscles allow the extension of the hip and flexion of the knee.
Like most muscle groups, it is not possible to isolate a muscle perfectly without involving its neighbor. Being very close to their origins, endings or functions, the work of a muscle of the hamstring group will cause the action of the other two. Therefore, you may want to try to work one of these muscles in priority over another but it will not be possible to apply in complete isolation the femoral biceps, semi-tendinosus or semi-membranous.
Ischios muscle strengthening exercises
Exercise on chair
Accessible to all, without having to go through the weight room, this exercise allows to muscle its hamstrings with the use of a simple chair. It can be done both legs simultaneously (beginners) or one leg after the other.
- Lying down, take support on the chair with the heel, legs bent at +/- 90 °.
- Press down (vertical axis) with your heel to peel off your pool from the ground.
- Hold for a few seconds in contraction, then release gently and repeat.
The lifted earth tight legs
The raised legs of the legs are an exercise that mostly solicits the hamstrings, buttocks and lumbar. Nevertheless, the short head of the femoral biceps being only flexor of the leg, it does not intervene in this movement.
- Stand with your feet slightly apart, grab the bar in pronation .
- Tilt your chest forward, keeping a natural arch and legs stretched or slightly bent according to your flexibility. The bar will descend along your thighs.
- Once the bar reaches mid-tibia, go back to the strength of your hamstrings and gluts.
The good morning
Applying the same muscles as the raised legs, the “good morning” exercise is nevertheless more dangerous with regard to the position of the bar resting.
- Standing, feet well stable on the floor, spread apart from shoulder width. The bar is placed on the trapezes.
- Flex the bust forward until horizontal with the back straight.
- Stay warm and then return to the original position, keeping your legs straight or slightly bent.
The elongated curl leg
The leg curl is ideal for beginners at the end of a weight training session or to be integrated into an intensification program for intermediate and advanced practitioners.
In theory, this exercise allows to target the semi-tendinous and semi-membranous by performing an internal rotation of the feet, or the femoral biceps (short and long head) by performing an external rotation of the feet. Nevertheless, in practice, this is difficult.
- Lie flat on the curl machine and grab the wrists. The flange should be in contact with the back of your ankles.
- Simultaneously bend the legs with the heels as close as possible to the buttocks.
In parallel with muscle building work it is always important to stretch the muscles in order to maintain their flexibility and length. Here are some examples of exercises to stretch your ischios. Discover also our article dedicated to the stretching of the hamstrings
Straight Leg Vertical
- Lie on your back. Grasp your thigh with both hands at the back of the knee.
- Stretch it gradually by holding the position for about ten seconds and then change sideways.
Straight leg horizontal
- Stand up. The leg may be slightly bent to accentuate the stretch.
- Stretch your hamstring muscle by fetching your toe or by bending your bust forward.
Tips to avoid injury to ischios
Hamstring injuries are frequent in bodybuilding and in many athletic activities such as athletics (sprints and jumps), football, rugby … where breakouts and other tears are not uncommon. This is often due to an imbalance of strength between quadriceps and ischios, the former being mostly much more developed than the latter.
In musculation , muscle tears to ischios can occur when performing certain exercises with loads such as squat for example. When the bust tilts excessively forward, the muscles are then in the position of extreme stretching. By machine using the elongated curl leg, the risk is also present in the low position with heavy loads, when the muscles are stretched.
To prevent any risk of injury, the ideal is to carry out a warm-up, a training and a calm return of quality . A stiffness in the hamstrings would increase the risk of injury (Askling et al., 2006). Be sure to practice regular stretches to practice your favorite sport in the best conditions.