Why is Hamstring Strength Important for Runners?
Runners require strong hamstrings for two primary reasons: to prevent injuries and to enhance their overall health, strength, and potentially even speed.
Strong hamstrings to avoid injury
Hamstrings, like many other muscles involved in running, they play a double role in both stretching and contracting during the stride.
Given the countless extensions and contractions they endure during an average run, it is crucial for them to be strong in order to prevent injury.
Research has shown that incorporating hamstring exercises for runners can effectively lower re-injury rates and decrease the risk of hamstring strains.
Strong Hamstrings make a healthy athlete
With so many muscles at play when it comes to running, it’s rare for researchers to definitively prove that a single exercise can make you faster. The evidence on whether hamstring strength directly translates to improved speed is inconclusive.
However, it’s safe to assume that stronger muscles are more resilient to training. Running at high speeds can leave your hamstrings feeling sore, but by building their strength, you can increase your overall resilience as a runner.
Remember, muscular strength is never a weakness for runners.
How hamstring strength helps runners!
Properly conditioned hamstrings contribute to efficient running mechanics. By generating power during the push-off phase, good hamstring strength and mobility is important for stride length.
Weakness or imbalance in your hamstrings (either side to side or in comparison to quadriceps) can lead to a higher risk of injuries.
The hamstrings cross both the hip and knee joints, providing stability and support to the knee. Strong hamstrings help stabilize the knee, especially during activities that involve deceleration or changes in direction.
Stride Length and Power
The hamstrings actively contribute to extending the hip joint, helping manage stride length. Strong hamstrings enable runners to generate more force in the push-off phase, enhancing running performance.
STRAIGHT LEG HAMSTRING STRETCH
An oldie but a goodie. Have your heel on a bench or chair out straight, fold from your hips towards your toes. Allow yourself a deep breath out to gently fold further forwards.
Hold for 5-10 seconds, then relax and repeat 5-8 times depending on how tight you are.
It’s important to note that while hamstring strength is crucial, it’s equally essential to maintain balance and flexibility within your lower body muscles.
In addition to strengthening your hamstrings, incorporating exercises that target other muscle groups, such as the quadriceps, glutes, and core, can provide a well-rounded approach to injury prevention and improved running performance.