Why do we need hamstrings?

People tend to ask why do we need our hamstrings and what are their role within the body.

Firstly, to understand what the hamstring muscle groups role is you must understand the anatomy behind the muscle. The hamstring muscle is built up of 3 muscles, biceps femoris, semitendinosus, and semimembranosus. These muscles work together to produce movements both at the knee and hip joint.

Its main role at the knee joint is to flex your knees from a fully extended position. Whereas, at the hip joint its role is to assist the gluteal muscles to perform hip extension. The hamstrings not only act to bend the knee and extend the hip, but they also pull the tibia backwards, hence serving as a protector of the Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL). Which is vital, as the ACL is the most important stabiliser of the knee.

It plays a significant role in daily activities such as, walking, running and jumping. The hamstring muscle group acts eccentrically to slow the leg and prepare the leg for ground contact during any walking and running movements. Especially in sports such as, rugby league and netball which both require speed, jumping, change of direction and deceleration. When putting into context having strong hamstrings throughout these movements will reduce your risk of both hamstring strains and ACL ruptures.

These are the few reasons behind why you need to include exercises specifically designed to load hamstrings within your training program and the importance of the hamstring muscle group. One exercise that has been found to be beneficial and eccentrically loads the hamstrings is a Romanian Deadlift (RDL). When performing the exercise you must ensure you have – neutral spine, soft knees, feet under hips, hinge at the hips, weight remains close to body.


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