Active hamstring flexibility and strengthening all at once. First part of our new Vahva leg training series!
Whether you want flexibility for your kicks, become more athletic or just take care of your overall health and fitness, these drills will do.
Training like this is perfect mobility work to relieve problems in the lower back, glutes, hamstrings and in the knees.
Versatile training methods are especially important for anyone who wants to have complete athletic performance and to be able to move without any restrictions.
This means your body needs to be strong in every angle and in every position.
Movements of athletes, whether it happens inside the octagon or on a football field, are very versatile, fast and the body is almost never in a perfect textbook alignment.
These drills will hit your posterior leg muscles from angles they have never been hit before.
Strengthening the hamstrings in a versatile way like this will not only tremendously improve athletic performance, but it will also keep your knees and legs healthy.
Many lower back problems are also often a result of tight, weak or inflexible hamstrings - these exercises will surely help. It's the imbalances in the body that make it prone to injuries.
Active Hamstring Flexibility and Strengthening
All of these exercises are basically variations of the regular good morning exercise, but you don't need to use any weights at first.
Very light weights suffice for these drills. In the beginning it's easy to cramp your hamstrings if you use too much weight. Start light and cautiously!
You do a proper good morning exercise by leaning forward with straight legs and holding a weight next to your chest or on your shoulders (like you would back squat). Keep your back neutral.
Lean forward until you feel a stretch in your hamstrings, stretch the hamstrings for a while in the position and then raise yourself up. The stretch will increase the flexibility of your hamstrings, whereas the raise will develop strength in that range of motion.
All of the good morning variations below will work the hamstrings and posterior side of the legs, but just emphasize different areas and fibers of the muscles.
You may also feel some of these variations in your calves and lower back.
Wide vs. Narrow Stance Good Mornings
Wide stance good mornings will hit more the adductor muscles of the legs, but primarily the hamstrings.
Narrow stance good mornings will emphasize the hamstrings, lower back and glutes the most.
Inwards vs. Outwards Stance Good Mornings
When your legs are pointing inwards, your legs are internally rotated. When you do the good morning this way, you will develop the strength and flexibility of the inner hamstrings.
When your legs are pointing outwards, the good morning will stretch more the smaller rotator muscles of the glutes.
The point of this method is to do all of these different variations, because you want to stretch and strengthen the legs from all different sides and angles.
You can do 1-2 sets and 5 to 10 repetitions per each variation. Take 1-2 minutes of rest between sets.
You can do this workout once a week or as a part of your leg workout.
Train hard, stay safe.