You'll have an easier time running, jumping, walking, climbing stairs and doing everyday movements if you have strong hamstring muscles, certified personal trainer Keelee Kap says.
The hamstring muscle is in the back of the upper leg and should be targeted several times a week, said Kap, who works at Elite Sports Performance in Kaysville.
"I recommend training the hamstring muscles two to three times per week based on the volume and intensity of your workout. The more sets you do for a body part, the less frequent you should train that body part. Give that muscle time to recover. Also, the bigger the muscle group, the more time it needs to recover. The hamstring is considered a large muscle group," she said.
Kap recommends three or four sets of eight to 12 repetitions of the following exercises to target the hamstrings:
SBlt Romanian Deadlift: Grab a barbell from a rack or the floor using a wide, overhand grip with hands shoulder-width apart. Stand tall with shoulders back, chest pushed out and back arched slightly and eyes facing forward. Slowly bend at the hips lowering the barbell straight down the legs as far as you comfortably can. Engage the hamstrings to lift back to starting position.
SBlt Good Mornings: With a barbell across the back of your shoulders and knees slightly bent, bend forward at the waist with the head up until the upper body is parallel with the floor. Reverse the movement to return to starting position.
SBlt Stability Ball Hamstring Curls: Lying down, place feet on a stability ball and raise hips off the floor with all of the weight on the shoulders. Using the arms for support, press the heels into the ball and bring your feet toward the body and then back out to starting position for one repetition.
SBlt Box Step Up: Stand behind a 12- to 18-inch platform with a dumbbell in each hand and place left foot on top of the platform with the heel close to the edge. Bring the right knee up without allowing it to touch the box. Bring right foot back down and repeat eight to 12 times. Repeat on the left for one set.
SBlt Advanced Lunges: With a dumbbell in each hand, put the right foot forward and the left foot behind on an exercise bench or platform. Bend the knees to lower the body straight down, keeping the front knee behind the toes. Keep the torso straight and abs in as you push through the front heel and back to starting position. Do 8 to 12 repetitions and repeat with the right leg on the bench for one set.
SBlt Glute Ham Eaises: Kneel on the floor and anchor your heels beneath a couch, treadmill or other exercise machine. Slowly lower your upper body toward the floor as far as you can go before catching yourself. Use the hamstrings to pull yourself back to starting position.