Sliding Hamstring Curls

Think you need a machine to build strong hamstrings? Think again!

Hamstrings are part of the posterior chain, a powerful group of muscles that include the back, glutes, hamstrings, and calves. A strong posterior chain gives runners a stong push-off, promoting forward motion.

I love hamstring sliders for a few reasons:

  • The movement specifically targets the hamstrings in a unique way.
  • Can be performed at a higher frequency because they are easy on the joints, quickly developing muscle strength while being easy on the lower back and knees.
  • Endless progressions and regressions to match you current strength level and long-term goals.

Equipment: sliders (I use furniture sliders for meant for carpet)

How to perform hamstring sliders:

  1. Lay on your back, with butt near the end of a yoga mat. Place each heel on a slider.
  2. Engage the core and glutes into a bridge. Maintain isometric hold while sliding the feet away from the body, achieving full extension.
  3. Return to starting position.

Variations are plentiful! It’s best to start with the basic movement, mastering the exercise and engaging the correct muscles without compensation. I utilized a resistance band above my knee to increase my hip abductor strength (abduction is movement away from the body). A short foam roller placed between the thighs works hip adductor strength. Adding weight to the slider or the core provides more of a challenge. A glide mat can be utilized for an eccentric variation (heels remain static; body slides on glide mat).

Single-leg hamstring sliders are the ultimate challenge, only to be attempted by experienced athletes.

Stephanie Harboe is a RRCA-certified running coach and NASM-certified personal trainer.

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