The Hamstrings are made up of 3 muscles that cross and act upon two joints – the hip and the knee. The job of the hamstrings is to bend the knee as well as to move the upper leg backward.

The hamstring muscles work in tandem to rotate the knee and assist in maintaining a standing position. They will limit how far we can bend forward as we try to touch our toes without bending our knees.

The hamstring muscles also play a role in our posture they assist in straightening out the lower curvature of the spine which curves the pelvis forward when sitting.

Weak Hamstrings and Back Pain

The relationship between tight hamstrings and lower back pain is well documented and stretching the hamstrings will relieve back tension. But it is not a long term solution.

Continual stretching without strengthening the hamstrings makes stabilising the hip and knee joint difficult for the weakened muscles.  Pressure on the knees, hips and lower back is particularly noticeable while standing or walking for long periods of time.

The most serious consequence of weak hamstrings is that weight can be lifted in a forward bend posture using the lower back muscles instead of muscles of the legs and buttocks.

Research is showing tremendous improvements in back health with weight bearing exercises that strengthen the hamstrings.

Working on strong and flexible hamstrings

Our aim last week was to target those hamstrings and increase their strength.

We used weight and found that by changing the position slightly, we were able to take the load off the lower back and activate the hamstring muscles effectively.

We learned that lifting weight is not dangerous with a focus on form. Using weight quickly conditions the muscles and improves mobility.

Working with weight requires a concerted effort to activate the muscles rather than just swing through the joints. Correct muscle activation is a challenge, but the results are worth the effort.


Live well with fitness!