Every time you take a step, whether walking or running, you use your hamstrings. The hamstrings consist of a group of three muscles than run down the backs of your thighs and attach to the bones just below your knees. If you participate in sports that require running and jumping -- such as soccer and basketball -- strong hamstrings can improve your game. One way to strengthen the hamstrings is through isometric exercise with resistance bands. With isometric exercise, you contract the muscle against outside resistance, without letting your joints move.
Lie on your back and stretch both of your legs along the floor.
Bend your right knee and loop a resistance band around the bottom of your foot. Hold one end of the band in each hand.
Straighten your right leg and bring it as close to your torso as possible by pulling gently on the bands. As you bring your leg toward your torso, you’ll feel a stretch in the back of your thigh. Don’t bend your knee in response to the stretch. If the stretch is too intense, move your thigh away from your torso a bit.
Try to lower your leg to the floor while pulling on the band with your hands. Pull hard enough so that the resistance of the band prevents your leg from actually moving. This effort causes your hamstring muscles to contract.
Hold the contraction for at least six seconds and relax. Then, repeat the isometric contraction five to 10 times with your right leg before doing the exercise with your left leg.
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- MayoClinic.com: Are Isometric Exercises a Good Way to Build Strength?
- The Concise Book of Muscles, Revised Edition; Chris Jarmey
- ExRx.net: Weight Training Guidelines
- American College of Sports Medicine: ACSM Issues New Recommendations on Quantity and Quality of Exercise
- In order to strengthen the entire length of your hamstrings, repeat the exercise with your leg at different heights. For example, start with your leg as close to your torso as possible. Then, do the exercise with your leg a little bit closer to the floor. Ideally, you should exercise the hamstrings at four or five different angles, with the first angle as close to the torso as possible and the last angle with your leg almost touching the floor.
- When you incorporate this isometric exercise into your hamstring training program, do it after your cardio workout and after strength-training exercises that involve movement at multiple joints, such as lunges. Try to work your hamstrings at least two or three times a week.
- Isometric exercises can increase your blood pressure significantly. If you have high blood pressure or a heart problem, do not do isometric exercises unless advised by your health care professional.
Kat Black is a professional writer currently completing her doctorate in musicology/ She has won several prestigious awards for her research, and has had extensive training in classical music and dance.