From the Desk of Dr. Len
Straight Legged Deadlifts for Hamstrings
Dr. Len Lopez – Monday, September 15, 2014
Whether you train at a gym or at home. A great exercise you can do for your hamstrings, the back of your legs, are straight legged deadlifts. Don’t let the word ‘deadlift’ scare you. Also, be cautious because if you are struggling with back problems, you want to be carefully doing this exercise.
FYI…you might want to check out our video on DIY tight hip flexors…because most people who have tight hip flexors also have tight hamstrings.
Basically you are simply bending at the waist, with your legs pretty straight, as if you were touching your toes, but instead of doing it with nothing in your hands, you can hold a barbell, dumbbell, a bottle of water, whatever.
When you bend at the waist, it stretches your hamstrings – when you pull yourself back up you are contracting your hamstrings. It’s your hamstrings, along with the muscles of your lower back that help pull you back up.
Leg curls are a great exercise for your hamstrings, but you typically only find those machines at a gym. If you train at home, the best alternative, or another way of hitting the back of your legs is with stiff-legged dead-lifts.
You don’t want to use too much weight, but enough to make it challenging. If you have a kettlebell, dumbbells or barbells, great. If not, make use of anything you can find around the house that you can easily grab and hold.
What’s unique about the hamstring muscle is that it is pretty much one of the only muscles that crosses over two joints. It crosses your knee joint and your hip, if you want to call it a joint, but it attaches to the bottom of your pelvis. And you can stretch and contract your hamstrings, by either bending (curling) your knee or bending at the waist and straighten back up.
Either motion works those muscles. Don’t forget, running, jogging, even walking works your butt muscles and back of your legs…but you have to do it outside. As great as treadmills, elliptical machines and stair-steppers are….They Don’t Hit Your Hamstrings or Butt Muscles.
Hope that helps you in your quest for better fitness. Don’t forget, it’s about training and dieting smarter – not harder or longer.