The hamstring is probably one of the most forgotten about muscles and that’s probable because they can’t be seen in the mirror, so people may think they’re not as important as the Quadriceps (quads). Personally, I’m just lazy, so once I’ve done my variation of squats and lunges, doing hamstring exercises are the last thing on my mind.
However, recently I found out that I might suffer from knee problems because my Hamstrings are weaker than my Quads. I know knee problems are quite common in females and after having a read around the problem, I think this might be something a lot of females might relate to.
Before I go any further, I think I should explain the function of the Quads and the Hamstring and how they relate to your knees.
So your upper leg contains two opposing muscle groups, your Quads and your Hamstring. These muscles together, move your hip joints and your knee and stabalise your knee.
Your Quads flex (bend) your hip and extend (straighten) your knee and your hamstring extends (straightens) your hip and flexes (bends) your knee. In most cases, the Hamstring tends to be weaker than the Quads because the Quads are bigger and are used more frequently in day to day activities.
I’ve suffered from ‘bad’ knees for about a year now. I went to physio, completed my rehab exercises and home works and had the all clear to go back to weight training, but things were never the same.
It is important to have a balance between your Hamstring and your Quads because a strength imbalance increases the risk of injuries, such as damage to your muscles, ligaments and joints. As your Quads contract, your Hamstring lengthens and if you’re Hamstrings are too weak, your Quads will pull your Hamstring faster than it can lengthen, which may be too forceful and that’s where the injury starts.
Putting this into context with my own training regime, it all makes sense. I rarely train my hamstrings anyway, in comparison to my quads, so this does not come as a surprise at all *sigh*.
So how can you fix this problem then? It’s simple, train your Hamstring!
There are several exercises that can be done, which I will list below: