Are you quad-dominant?
The answer is… probably. Too many of us are using our poor quadriceps muscles to bear the brunt of the work we do while running. Sitting all day at an office desk job, running long distances with an inefficient stride and avoiding posterior chain-specific strength training leaves our hamstrings and glutes almost entirely out of the equation.
But when you run, your hamstrings extend, flex your knees and work to slow the legs down right before making contact with the ground, lengthening and controlling your legs as they come meet the ground. Your posterior chain is what propels your body forward with each stride. Very important stuff, right? Yet we so often neglect these muscles even though nagging hamstring pain is a prevalent complaint in the running community—and one of the most difficult issues to fix. In addition, if you’ve ever experienced knee pain, back pain or glute pain during running, or feel your kick is lacking during your stride, you more than likely have some imbalances between your anterior and posterior muscles.
By now, I hope I’ve convinced you to incorporate strength work two to three times per week to supplement your training, making you a stronger, faster, less injury-prone runner. And while general total body strength is a solid foundation, posterior chain isolated strength training and stretching should be a focus for all runners.
The following exercises target the hamstrings and can be added into your existing strength regimen. More isn’t always better, so instead of adding all of them into your routine, pick one movement at a time to add.