Why Strengthening Your Hamstring Muscles Matters (And How Pilates Helps!)
Hamstring strength often goes underestimated. And having the proper hammie strength can help you avoid countless injuries, including helping in hamstring strain prevention and low back pain.
The biggest problem? A lot of people are quad dominant. And a lot of these people don’t even realize it.
What exactly does quad dominant mean? It means you compensate for weak hamstrings by letting the quadriceps, the muscles in the front of the thigh, make up for it. It also means that there is an imbalance in your upper leg muscles. And as aforementioned, the result could be injury and pain later on.
Surprisingly, hamstring strength also impacts your posture. If your hamstrings are weak or tight, they may pull on your pelvis. This may cause pain and issues in the lower back – amongst other problems.
Inevitably, maintaining strong and flexible hamstrings is important. This further aids in hamstring strain prevention and other injury prevention. And exercises that contribute to strong and pliable hamstrings also include exercises to avoid knee surgery, which has become common in today’s society (Who doesn’t know someone who’s had knee surgery or knee replacement surgery?).
Pilates is the perfect balance for improving hamstring strength, as well as ensuring these muscles remain long and flexible. Let’s take a closer look.
The Importance of The Hamstrings
The hamstrings run from the hips to the knees. These muscles are crucial for functional movements, like walking, squatting, and running. In fact, a professional sprinter relies on these strong muscles to propel them forward with optimal power, as the hamstrings help shift the load of your body from your knees to your hips.
The hamstrings further help absorb shock, such as in jumping and running movements. They allow you to slow down from a running gait, as well as run downhill in a controlled manner.
Not to mention, these muscles are some of the biggest in the legs.
How Pilates Helps Build Strong and Long Hamstring Muscles
Pilates offers a fitness style that strengthens and lengthens the muscles of the body, which help in preventing injuries, such as hamstring strain prevention. There are various exercises where one muscle group is lengthened, while an opposing muscle group is strengthened. The importance of this lies in the fact that it avoids overworking or overloading the same muscles and joints. It provides a balance to exercise, which is missing in many other forms of it.
For instance, weight lifting – while beneficial – may neglect the importance of elongating and stretching out the muscles.
Pilates, on the other hand, addresses muscle imbalances and ensures that each opposing muscle is worked or lengthened. The same holds true for the hamstrings. Pilates exercises balance out the work and lengthening of the hamstrings and quadriceps – two opposing muscle groups.
In fact, Pilates exercises, such as the Pilates bridge, hamstring curls, and more, are frequently used in rehabilitation programs as injury prevention exercises and as a way to improve strength in an injured area.
Do You Have Tight or Weak Hamstrings?
Try out a Pilates class today! See what you’re missing. It may take more than one class to notice a difference, but with time, you’ll gain strength and flexibility throughout the entire body, including the hamstrings. Book your next class with Reform Studios today.
At Reform Studios, we strongly recommend a one-on-one session with one of our instructors – especially if you’re new to Pilates and have a history of chronic pain. They can help you get the fundamentals down, as well as help you explore safe options to avoid aggravating any problem spots. Our instructors can also help you determine your goals and how to get there.
Beginners Classes Available Too!
Check with your doctor or healthcare provider before trying Pilates. If they give you the green light, come join us at Reform Studios. Find your exercise happy place.
Sign up for your first reformer class TODAY!