I can not emphasize enough the importance of balanced strength in today’s athlete. Squats are great and have their purpose, but do you really think you can continue to strengthen the front of the legs and continue to ignore the back of the legs with out consequences?
If your hamstrings are weaker then your quads a few things could happen
- 1.Your hamstrings can tear from the overpowering load of a contracted quad as you extend your leg back from your hip.
- 2.Your speed will decrease as you lose power from the hip flexors and knee extensors because your hamstrings tend to contract earlier to stop the movement so that they are not overpowered by the strong quad.
Hamstring health is important for running fast as they flex the knee and extend the hip. The stronger the hamstrings the faster you can stop and change directions, safely.
Old school teaches that the quads are responsible for speed, and this unfortunately has created a quad dominance in today’s athlete.
The function of the hamstrings
- 1.knee flexor
- 2.hip extensor
- 3.built for speed
- 4.stabilize the knee
With that being said, we now need to look at ways to create length in the quads while strengthening the hamstrings. There are way more asanas to stretch the hamstrings then to strengthen them, and way more asanas to strengthen the quads then to lengthen them.
Yoga beyond the asanas needs a practice that includes less hamstring stretches and more ways to strengthen them, while also finding less ways to strengthen the quads and more ways to create length.
That means less forward fold. Yes, I know every sun salutation, surya namaskar begins with a forward fold. Well, maybe that is not the kind of yoga we need to be practicing.
More Backbends, Bow poses, reverse plank, bridge pose and table may be in order to help create more balance in strength and flexibility in Todays Athlete. These exercise will help to strengthen the Hamstrings while lengthening the Quads.
So the next time you hamstring starts talking with you, instead of stretching it, try lengthening your quad.
I will be posting more about ways to lengthen the Quads, but for now, pay attention to your hamstring to quad strength ration. What are you doing to build strength in your hamstrings or do you just assume when they are talking to you it is because they are tight? I know I did, and now that I am changing my thinking, my Hamstring talks to me less and less.
What have you got to lose other then that nagging pain in your hamstring?
See you, on the mat!