The hamstrings are the big muscles on the back of your thighs. Together with the quadriceps, the hamstrings make walking and standing possible.
The hamstrings are made up of the following muscles - the biceps femoris (short and long head), the semimembranosus, and the semitendinosus.
The hamstrings are a weak muscle when compared with the quadriceps (front thigh muscle). Both the hamstrings and the quadriceps pull on the knee joint, so if one of those muscles is stronger than the other, then knee problems are bound to arise. A good rule of thumb is to make sure that the hamstrings are 2/3 as strong as the quadriceps. For example, if you can resist 100 lbs with your quads, then you should be able to resist 66 lbs with your hamstrings.
- Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Maintain the natural arch in your back, squeezing your shoulder blades and raising your chest.
- Grip the bar across your shoulders and support it on your upper back. Unwrack the bar by straightening your legs, and take a step back.
- Bend your knees as you lower the weight without altering the form of your back until your hips are below your knees.
- Raise the bar back to starting position, lift with your legs and exhale at the top.
Stiff Leg Deadlifts
- Stand with a barbell at your shins with your feet shoulder width apart.
- Bend forward at your hips and keep your knees as fully extended as possible.
- Grab the barbell and then extend your hips while maintaining a straight back.
- From the standing position, lower the weight in a controlled manner.
- You can either lower the weight to the floor or before you touch the floor, depending on your mobility.
- Lay down on the machine, placing your legs beneath the padded lever. Position your legs so that the padded lever is below your calve muscles.
- Support yourself by grabbing the side handles of the machine, and slowly raise the weight with your legs, toes pointed straight.
- Pause at the apex of the motion, then slowly return to starting position.
- Start with a straight bar or ez bar attachment set to the bottom of the machine. Squat the weight up into a standing position and walk a few steps back
- Push your butt back to initiate the movement and then push your butt forward until you're back in a standing position.
- To protect yourself from injury, always maintain a flat back on any exercise.