The following hamstring strengthening exercises are designed to improve the strength of the hamstring muscles (figure 1). You should discuss the suitability of these hamstring exercises with your physiotherapist prior to beginning them. Generally, they should only be performed provided they do not cause or increase pain.
Begin with the basic hamstring strengthening exercise. Once this is too easy, progress to the intermediate hamstring strengthening exercises and eventually, the advanced hamstring exercises.
Hamstring Strengthening – Basic Hamstring Exercise
To begin with, the following basic hamstring strengthening exercise should be performed approximately 10 times, 3 times daily. As your hamstring strength improves, the exercise can be progressed by gradually increasing the repetitions and strength of contraction provided it does not cause or increase pain.
Static Hamstring Contraction
Begin this exercise in with your knee bent to about 45 degrees (figure 2). Press your heel into the floor tightening the back of your thigh (hamstrings). Hold for 5 seconds and repeat 10 times as hard as possible pain free.
Hamstring Strengthening – Intermediate Hamstring Exercises
The following intermediate hamstring strengthening exercises should generally be performed 1 – 3 times per week provided they do not cause or increase pain. Ideally they should not be performed on consecutive days, to allow muscle recovery. As your strength improves, the hamstring exercises can be progressed by gradually increasing the repetitions or resistance of the exercises provided they do not cause or increase pain.
Begin this exercise lying on your back in the position demonstrated (figure 3). Slowly lift your bottom pushing through your feet, until your knees, hips and shoulders are in a straight line. Tighten the back of your thigh (hamstrings) as you do this. Hold for 2 seconds then slowly lower your bottom back down. Perform 3 sets of 10 repetitions provided the exercise is pain free.
Resistance Band Hamstring Curl
Begin this exercise lying on your stomach with a resistance band tied around your ankle as demonstrated (figure 4). Slowly bend your knee tightening the back of your thigh (hamstrings). Perform 3 sets of 10 repetitions provided the exercise is pain free.