Rethinking the Hamstrings: Their dynamic function during movement

Part 1: Anatomical considerations

Hamstring function has been studied in depth for many years yet they remain one of the most injured muscle groups in sport. One of the keys to understanding hamstring function lies in the specific structure of the hamstring muscles themselves. Form truly follows function in this case. In part 1 of this series, you’ll gain a foundational understanding of the hamstring anatomy and architecture that underlies hamstring function. This is essential understanding leading into how the hamstrings function during performance and how best to train the hamstrings for resiliency and recovery from injury.

Watch this video. Lick your wounds. Then click through part 2 below.


Part 2: Application to performance

Last month we went through the functional anatomy of the hamstrings (find that video here if you’ve been slacking on your learning over the holidays), this month we’ll look at how the hamstrings contribute to walking and reduce the risk of ACL injury. Before we apply this to a practical situation, we’ll first go through:

  • The structure of the sacroiliac joint
  • How the hamstrings do more than just flex the knee
  • How the hamstrings act to reduce knee injuries

Watch this video. Take a few deep breaths. Then finish off with part 3 below.


Part 3: Walking demonstration

In part three, we wrap up the hamstring saga with some demonstrations and put all of the pieces of this puzzle together. Here is what he has in store for you:

  • What the hamstrings do while you walk
  • How the hamstrings can extend, yes extend the knee
  • How the ACL is protected by hamstrings that work correctly

Part 4: Recommended reading and hamstring injuries

Let’s dive into the literature of hamstring injuries.

Here’s the extra reading that I referenced at the beginning of the video.


Part 5: Nordbords, tissue adaptations, and training techniques

Let’s discuss how the hamstrings change with training.


Part 6: Gear ratios, hamstring recruitment, and motor control

Should you still do Romanian deadlifts?


Part 7: Performance variations

This marks the end of the lecture and beginning of the gym-focused video. Let’s look at some glute-ham raises and nordic hamstring curls.

What are the differences? What happens to the series elastic component during oscillatory isometrics? And when do you NOT worry about pelvic position?

If nothing else, watch Bill’s Austin Powers imitation @ 2:50.


Part 8: Rehab variations

Let’s walk through some hip bridges and back extensions (why are they called back extensions?).


Part 9: Tying it all together

Let’s look at a Valslide leg curl, another rehab variation, and put all the pieces together with a little more Q&A discussion.

Published by Bill Hartman

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