Glute-Ham Raise and Romanian Deadlift Are Best Hamstring Exercises

The hamstrings are made up of three muscles on the back of the thigh that flex the knee and extend the hip. Injuries to these muscles are extremely common and can end sports careers. The leg curl, involving knee flexion, is the most common and popular hamstring exercise. However, hamstrings are more heavily used as hip extensors in sport. Also, hamstring injuries commonly occur during hip extension. A study from the University of Memphis, led by Brian Schilling and Matt McAllister, showed that the glute-ham raise and Romanian deadlift were the best exercises for activating the hamstring muscles. These exercises are relatively uncommon, but essential for building hamstring strength and power and preventing injury. (Journal Strength Conditioning Research, 28: 1573-1580, 2014)

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