There's no doubt that jogging is a great lower body workout. Still, some leg muscle get more benefit than others during a jogging or running session. The hamstrings are part of that group. Whether you're trying to get stronger, improve your gait or lose weight, jogging can be a great addition to your workout program.
The hamstrings are the muscles that run on the upper back of your legs, from your glutes to just below the knee joint. Because of their location, they play an essential role in bending the knee while jogging. That also means jogging provides an excellent hamstring workout. As you lift your foot from the ground and kick it back as you run the hamstrings tense and relax. The added impact provided by the jogging -- which is a lot more intense than just walking -- also makes the workout more effective.
Parts of the Hamstrings
The hamstrings are actually a group of muscles divided into three parts: The semitendinosus, the semimembranosus and the biceps femoris. These three parts are interconnected and are an essential part of jogging. Because the upper part of the hamstrings connects to the lower part of the pelvis, your hips get a major workout during jogging. .
To prevent injury to the hamstrings while jogging, improve the strength and flexibility of the muscle group. Hamstring muscle fatigue is also a major risk factor of injury, according to Sports Medicine Australia. If you haven't exercised in a while, start power walking before you start jogging to give your hamstrings a chance to become stronger and more flexible. Always warm up and stretch before a jog. Warming up could consist of something as simple as walking for five minutes; you can also cool down the same way after your jog. To stretch your hamstrings before a jog, cross one foot in front of the other, then bend your upper body forward and down towards the ground without bending your knees. Hold for at least 20 seconds and then repeat on the other side.
Other Muscles At Work
Aside from the hamstrings, jogging also works the quadriceps -- the muscles on the front of your upper thigh -- and your calves. The gluteus maximus also gets a workout during jogging. If you maintain proper position, with a straight back and your stomach in, jogging also works your core muscles, which consist of the lower back and abdominal muscles.
Tammy Dray has been writing since 1996. She specializes in health, wellness and travel topics and has credits in various publications including Woman's Day, Marie Claire, Adirondack Life and Self. She is also a seasoned independent traveler and a certified personal trainer and nutrition consultant. Dray is pursuing a criminal justice degree at Penn Foster College.