What’s up Gronk Fitness,
A strong pair of legs is vital for every athlete but most of us tend to fixate too much on quads when it comes to lower body strength. The truth however is that the majority of your lower body power and strength comes from your glutes and hamstrings.
More specifically, the elasticity of the hamstrings – their ability to stretch under resistance and contract – plays a huge role in most competitive sports and this is exactly why hamstring injuries are a common phenomenon. They are just too weak and not elastic enough (not mobile enough) to endure the stress of high-intensity games and activities.
So, today we are going to suggest THREE hamstring/glute exercises that isolate that area but in a sport-specific way. As a side-note, do not overestimate the importance of exercises like hamstring curls or prone curls. Your hamstrings do not work well in isolation; instead, they prefer working WITH the glutes, which means you need to include these following three movements to your exercise arsenal as often as possible.
Exercise #1 - Stiff-Leg / Romanian Deadlift
Alternatively, you could perform this exercise with two dumbbells to make it a bit more functional by adding some instability to the movement. Feel free to experiment with both versions.
Exercise #2 – Bodyweight Glute-Ham Raise
Make sure to keep your spine neutral as you curl your bodyweight up. This means no excessive rounding of the back. If you are having trouble lifting your own bodyweight, use an exercise ball and help with your arms to get to the top of the range of motion. The arms however are there just to assist. The primary muscles doing the work should be the hams and glutes.
Exercise #3 – Dumbbell Single-Leg Stiff-Leg Deadlift
This is an exercise no one can go wrong with. If your form is lacking due to inflexibility, but you feel like you need increase the intensity of the exercise, you can choose to change the TEMPO instead.
By applying a 3 – 4 second negative to your exercises you can safely increase the intensity without breaking form. Just remember to EXPLODE on the way up, as power and strength gains are usually a result of explosive positives and controlled negatives.
And as always…get your mind right.