2. Hamstring muscle control by Neil keleher

2. Hamstring muscle control

Learn to feel and control your hamstrings 
(and your posterior glutes also)

Reduce the risk of hamstring injury

Because the hamstrings work on two joints, the knee and the hip, creating a fixed end point for the hamstrings can enable you to stretch them or use them more effectively with less risk of injury.

What do the hamstrings do?

The hamstrings can be used to reach your leg back behind you. They can also be used to bend the knee. If working against the hip flexors they can also help to stabilize the hip joint. If working against the quadriceps, they can help to stabilize the knee joint.

Where are the hamstrings located?

The hamstrings are the large mass of muscles at the back of your thigh. They cross the back of the hip joint and the back of the knee joint, forming the tendons at the back of the knee.


How does the gluteus maximus muscle relate to the hamstrings?

The gluteus maximus muscle can work with the hamstrings to "extend" the hip. In plain language, both muscles can be used to reach the leg back behind you. 

Which muscles make up the hamstrings?

If you strictly define the hamstrings as muscles that work on the back of  the knee and the hip, then the hamstring muscles consist of the long head biceps femoris (there's also a short head that attaches to the thigh), the semimembranosus and the semitendinosus

Hamstring attachment points of attachment

All three of these hamstring muscles attach at their upper end to the sitting bone. At the lower end they attach to the inside and outside of the lower leg bones (the fibula and tibia.)


Additional functions of the hamstring muscles

With the knee bent, the hamstrings can be used to rotate the shin relative to the femur.

With the knee straight, the hamstrings can assist in rotating the leg as a whole relative to the hip bone.

And so you could think of the hamstrings as having three main functions, shin rotation, knee bending and hip extending.


Why work at anchoring your hamstrings?

When working on your hamstrings, it helps to anchor the hamstrings. 

Any muscle works a little better if you give it a fixed anchor point. With hamstring muscle control you'll learn not only how to anchor the hamstrings but how to active them easily while standing and sitting. You'll also learn to feel them activate. 


What are the advantages of anchoring the hamstrings

What are the advantages of anchoring the hamstrings?
If you learn how to anchor your hamstrings, they can function more effectively. That can mean both your knees and your hips can function more effectively. Just as importantly, you reduce the chance of injuring your hamstrings if they are anchored effectively.


The importance of understanding the hamstrings as shin rotators

What's so important about the hamstrings being able to rotate the shins?

If you understand the simple idea that the hamstrings are involved in shin rotation, it can make it easier to activate the inner and the outer hamstrings for balanced hamstring function. 

It also means that you understand the importance of rotational shin stability when trying to anchor the hamstrings.


Directly experience your hamstrings (through muscle control)

All of this is easier to understand when you can directly experience it in your own body. 

And that's part of what hamstring muscle control helps you with. You not only learn how to activate you hamstrings, but how to feel them, how to anchor them, and different anchoring options.

And since the hamstrings include the hamstring tendons at the back of your knees you'll also learn how to feel these tendons and fine tune tension in them.


A stand-alone course

This is part 2 in a series of muscle control courses. While it is recommended that you start with part 1, hip flexor muscle control, this program is designed to be as stand-alone as possible. 

(You can also purchase it with Hip flexor control)

What's included?

Video Icon 75 videos Text Icon 6 text files

Contents

Using this course
Navigation, number of videos per day, number of reps etc
Introduction
Welcome
Course Overview
0 Basic spinal back bending
0 0 1a 0 Pelvic Back Tilting sacrum.mp4
2 mins
0 0 1a 1 Pelvic Front Tilting sacrum.mp4
1 min
0 0 1b Thoracic (and lumbar) Back Bending.mp4
3 mins
1 Standing hamstring activation and moving leg
0 2a 1 hamstring activation basics while standing.mp4
2 mins
0 2a 2 hamstring 4 part leg lift.mp4
2 mins
Lift your sitting bones first
0 2a 3 intentional hamstring activation.mp4
2 mins
1 Standing hamstring activation and moving leg(s)
0 2b 3 hamstrings and glutes locust leg lift.mp4
2 mins
1 Standing back bend (Highly optional)
0 2d 3 hamstrings and glutes standing back bend.mp4
3 mins
Adding a spinal back bend
0 2d 4 hamstrings and glutes counter pose for backbend.mp4
1 min
1 Standing hamstring activation and moving torso 1
0 2a 4 hamstring activation pyramid pose.mp4
3 mins
0 2a 5 hamstring activation standing forward bend.mp4
1 min
0 2a 6 using hamstrings to stand.mp4
1 min
1 Standing hamstring activation and moving torso 2
0 2a 6a hamstring activation triangle pose.mp4
3 mins
0 2a 7 hamstring activation side bend.mp4
2 mins
0 2a 8 hamstring activation half moon.mp4
2 mins
0 2b 1 hamstrings and glutes knee lunge.mp4
3 mins
0 2b 2 hamstrings and glutes knee lunge notes.mp4
1 min
1 Hamstring activation in a lunge, hips moving
0 2b 4 hamstrings and glutes back leg lunge.mp4
2 mins
0 2b 4a hamstrings and glutes back leg lunge notes.mp4
1 min
0 2b 4a hamstrings and glutes back leg lunge shoulder note.mp4
1 min
0 2b 4c hamstrings and glutes front leg lunge.mp4
1 min
0 2b 4d hamstrings and glutes front leg lunge notes.mp4
1 min
0 2b 5 hamstrings and glutes notes.mp4
1 min
2a Exercises for foot awareness and control
0 2 0 0a toe bends.mp4
1 min
0 2 0 0b ankles then ankles and toes.mp4
4 mins
0 2 0 0c 1 heel stiffening.mp4
1 min
0 2 0 0c 0 heel awareness.mp4
2 mins
2b Toe spreading
0 2 0 0d 0 Seated Toes spreading.mp4
1 min
0 2 0 0d 1 Seated Toe spreading Adjustments.mp4
1 min
0 2 0 0e 2 big toes (and thumbs).mp4
2 mins
2c Shin rotations and controlling hamstring tendon tension
0 2 1a Seated Shin Rotations.mp4
4 mins
0 2 1b Shin Rotation Landmark Awareness.mp4
2 mins
0 2 1c Shin Rotation Notes on Knee Straightness.mp4
1 min
0 2 2a Adding Tension to Back of Knee
1 min
0 2 2b Adding Tension to Back of Knee Alt Technique
1 min
3 Seated hamstring activation with knees bent
0 2 3a back of knees.mp4
2 mins
0 2 3b glute max activation
2 mins
0 2 3c hamstring activation
3 mins
0 2 3d hands free knees, hams, and glutes
4 mins
3 Seated hamstring activation with knees straight
0 2 3e straight knee knees hams glutes
4 mins
0 2 3f unbraced hamstring activation with knees straight
3 mins
3a More standing hamstring (and glute) activation
0 2 4a 1 Hamstrings Standing
1 min
0 2 4a 2 Hamstrings Standing Alt Method
2 mins
0 2 4c Glutes Standing
1 min
4 Activating your calfs
0 2 5 0a 0 forefoot and calf activation 1
2 mins
0 2 5 0a 1 forefoot and calf activation 2
2 mins
0 2 5 0b 0 feet calfs and hamstrings
2 mins
4 Practicing calf and hamstring activation
0 2 5 0b 1 feet calfs and hamstrings standing forward bend 1
2 mins
0 2 5 0b 2 feet calfs and hamstrings standing forward bend 2
2 mins
0 2 5 0b 3 feet calfs and hamstrings pyramid pose
2 mins
0 2 5 0b 4 feet calfs and hamstrings half moon pose
2 mins
0 2 5 0b 5 fine tuning calf activation
3 mins
4 Calf and hamstring activation while seated
0 2 5 0b 6 calf and hamstring activation while seated.mp4
1 min
5a Weight shifting
0 2c 0a 1 F-Bend Wt Shift.mp4
2 mins
0 2c 0a 2 a Half Moon Wt Shift.mp4
4 mins
0 2c 0a 2 b Half Moon Hand Lift Notes.mp4
2 mins
0 2c 0a 2 c Half Moon Hand Relaxing Notes.mp4
1 min
5b Static hamstring activation
0 2c 1 hamstrings and glutes static pyramid.mp4
2 mins
0 2c 2 hamstrings and glutes static standing f bend.mp4
1 min
0 2c 3 hamstrings and glutes static triangle.mp4
2 mins
0 2c 4 hamstrings and glutes static half moon.mp4
2 mins
5b Static hamstring activation while kneeling and in pigeon pose
0 2c 5 hamstrings and glutes kneeling.mp4
2 mins
0 2c 6 hamstrings and glutes pigeon pose.mp4
2 mins
6 Seated hamstrings and glutes (optional)
hurdlers hamstring stretch 01 one leg at a time.mp4
1 min
hurdlers hamstring stretch 02 positioning options.mp4
1 min
hurdlers hamstring stretch 03 upright hamstring activation.mp4
3 mins
hurdlers hamstring stretch 04 adjusting the bent knee hip positioning.mp4
1 min
6 Seated hamstrings and glutes (optional) 2
hurdlers hamstring stretch 05 hamstring activation while bent forwards.mp4
2 mins
hurdlers hamstring stretch 06 increasing the moment arm.mp4
4 mins
hurdlers hamstring stretch 07 differences between relaxed and active lengthening.mp4
2 mins
hurdlers hamstring stretch 08 with active hamstring lengthening.mp4
3 mins
6 Seated hamstrings and glutes (optional) 3
hurdlers hamstring stretch 09 alternative hamstring activation method explanation.mp4
3 mins
hurdlers hamstring stretch 10 alt hamstring activation.mp4
2 mins
hurdlers hamstring stretch 11 explanation using the front of the leg.mp4
3 mins
hurdlers hamstring stretch 12 using the front of the leg (and the back).mp4
2 mins
End notes
What you've (ideally) learned

Hamstring Activation FAQs

What are some of the benefits of learning to activate your hamstrings

If you learn how to activate your hamstrings you may find it easier to improve their flexibility. While stretching your hamstrings you could activate them to resist the stretch, or you could relax them for a relaxed stretch. Better control of your hamstrings (being able to relax them or activate them at will) gives you more options and more control when you are trying to improve flexibility.

Why do some people have difficulty activating their hamstrings?

One reason is that they aren't creating the necessary stability. 
  • Any muscle needs a stable or "anchored" end point to activate. 
  • Another reason is that you aren't giving the hamstrings sufficient force to work against in order to activate. 

What are the hamstrings?

When referring to human anatomy, the hamstrings are the set of muscles located at the back of the thighs. The hamstring tendons are the prominent tendons on either side of the back of the knee. 

What do the hamstrings do?

The hamstrings work on the back of the hip joint and the back of the  knee. 
  • They can be used to help stabilize the knee or bend it.
  • They can also be used to help stabilize the hip joint or to bend it backwards or to help pull you out of a forward bend.
Since the hamstrings attach to one of the prominent corner points of the hip bone (the "sitting bone" or "ischial tuberosity" they also help to stabilize and control the hip bone. 
And since the hamstrings also attach to the inner and outer edges of the lower leg bones, they can also be used to help control rotation of the lower leg bones. When the knee doesn't  allow rotation when it is straight, that means that the hamstrings can also help control rotation of the femur (when the knee is straight).

Can the hamstrings affect the hip flexors?

Where the hamstrings work on the back of the hip the hip flexors work on the front of the hip. There are some hip flexors that, like the hamstrings, work on both the knee and the hip. As such, the hamstrings can affect the hip flexors and vice versa. 
Faulty hamstring function may lead to poor hip flexor function and vice versa. 

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