Below are some of the most commonly prescribed exercises and stretches I use with my patients to help recover from hamstring injuries.
1. Active Hamstring Stretch
This is a great active stretch for the hamstrings. Passive stretching with a static hold is fine as well, but this stretch forces you to move throughout the range of the motion.
2. Tall Kneeling Hip Hinge
This exercise helps to retrain the hip extensors, focusing on the gluteus maximus. The band is used as an external tactile cue. Be sure to avoid hyperextension of the lower back.
3. Kettlebell Deadlifts
The deadlift is a very functional movement pattern, and is beneficial for core, back and hip strengthening.
4. Double and Single Leg Bridging
Bridging is a very critical movement pattern to perform when recovering after a hamstring strain. It helps to differentiate between hamstring and gluteal recruitment. Most patients with overworked hamstrings have decreased gluteal activation and motor control.
5. Heel Driven Bridges
This bridge variation focused on contracting the hamstrings. Not an exercise to perform in the acute stage, but helpful in the next stage of recovery.
6. Bridge Roll Out
This is a high level hamstring exercise that focuses on concentric and eccentric control of the hamstring muscles. A good progression after bridging, but only once control has been developed.
7. Single Leg Deadlift
Last, but not least is the single leg deadlift. Great hip stability exercise because it forces you to maintain single leg stance. Very important to hinge at the hips for this one. I don’t always use the foam roller, but it helps to maintain the appropriate form. Feel free the advance this by using a dumbbell or kettlebell for external resistance.
These are just a few of the many exercises that I use with my patients who have dealt with hamstring strains, hamstring tendinopathy, and other hamstring-related conditions. If you or anybody you know has hamstring pain, feel free to contact us at 347-560-6920.
Paul Nasri, PT, DPT
Doctor of Physical Therapy
Sarrica Physical Therapy & Wellness
Staff Physical Therapist