These muscles originate just underneath the Gluteus Maximus on the pelvic bone and attach on the tibia.
The Hamstrings are primarily fast-twitch muscles, responding to low reps and powerful movements.
The primary functions of the Hamstrings are knee flexion (bringing the heel towards the buttocks) and hip extension (moving the leg to the rear).
An example of knee flexion is the leg curl exercise and an example of hip extension is the stiff-legged deadlift exercise.
Anatomy and Exercises
Find out what functions your muscles perform and how they work
Learn what your muscles look like inside you and where they are in your body
A hamstring strain occurs when unusual stress is placed on the hamstring muscle resulting in varying degrees of tearing of the muscle fibres and supporting tissue framework. The most common occurrence is in sports involving sprinting and jumping. The following factors predispose an athlete to a hamstring strain:
Insufficient flexibility - the hamstrings are stretched beyond their ability to elongate
Too great a force production at an inappropriate time
Insufficient warm-up and stretching before an activity
Poor running style - overstriding may stretch the hamstring beyond normal lengths
Inadequate hamstring strength - an imbalance between the hamstrings and quadriceps which may result in the hamstrings being unable to generate force to counteract the force of the quadriceps
Inequality of hamstring strength of the right and left legs may also precipitate strain of the weaker muscles
Local fatigue can play a factor as it reduces the strength and flexibility of the muscle
Recurrent injury due to return to physical activity too quickly following an injury and prior to full rehabilitation.
The best treatment program is prevention by ensuring adequate flexibility and strength of the hamstrings. Complete rehabilitation (full strength and flexibility) before returning to competition is important in decreasing recurrent injury. Strengthening can be done on the weight training machines doing various forms of leg curls (bending knee to bring heel toward buttock). Including these exercises in your warm-up schedule will assist in the prevention of a hamstring strain and improve your overall health.
Maintain your ideal body weight. The more you weigh, the more stress you are putting on your joints, especially your hips, knees, back and feet.
Move your body. Exercise protects joints by strengthening the muscles around them. Strong muscles keep your joints from rubbing against one another, wearing down cartilage. We can help you get started on an exercise program that works for you.
Stand up straight. Good posture protects the joints in your neck, back, hips and knees.
Pace yourself. Alternate periods of heavy activity with periods of rest. Repetitive stress on joints for long periods of time can accelerate the wear and tear that causes osteoarthritis.
Listen to your body. If you are in pain, don't ignore it. Pain after activity or exercise can be an indication that you have overstressed your joints.
Don't be static. Changing positions regularly will decrease the stiffness in your muscles and joints.
Forget the weekend warrior. Don't engage in activities your body for which your body isn't prepared. Start new activities slowly and safely until you know how your body will react to them. This will reduce the chance of injury.
Wear proper safety equipment. Don't leave helmets and wrist pads at home. Make sure you get safety gear that is comfortable and fits appropriately.
Ask for help. Don't try to do a job that is too big for you to handle. Get another pair of hands to help out.