What is the Hamstring Muscle, What Does It Do?

hamstring muscle

What is the hamstring muscle?

The hamstring is a large muscle that runs along the back of your thigh. It attaches to the pelvis and lower spine and helps you bend your knees and extend your hips. The hamstrings allow people to bend and extend their legs with force, which makes them among the most powerful muscles in the human body.

How does it work?

The hamstring is a muscle on the back of your thigh that allows you to bend your knee and extend your hips. It’s among the most powerful muscles in the human body, allowing people to bend and extend their legs with force.

Hamstring injuries are very common in sports and are also more common in older people, those with previous injuries or obesity, and those who have arthritis or some other connective tissue disease.

What are the risks to the hamstring muscle?

There are a lot of risks to the hamstring muscle. The most common cause of injury is coming down on one’s feet with a bent knee and extended hip, which stretches and tears the hamstring. Athletes who participate in sports involving running or sudden movements are at high risk for injury. Age also increases the risk of injury, as does obesity and previous injuries to the area. Connective tissue diseases such as arthritis can also increase the risk of damage to the hamstring muscle.

Fortunately, there are ways to protect against injury to this muscle. One way is by stretching before doing any strenuous activities that put you at risk of tearing your hamstring muscles. Stretching will help lengthen your muscles and make them less tight, preventing sudden shock and snapping that could lead to an injury if they’re already tight due to fear or lack of use.

Some other tips include wearing shoes with good heel support, so you don’t put too much pressure on your calves and stretching upward rather than downward when stretching your hamstrings. This will help prevent injuries that result from overstretching or pulling on your hamstrings while they are overly tense due to sitting all day or running around all day without stopping for enough breaks.

Can you strengthen your hamstrings?

There are several ways to strengthen your hamstrings to help protect against injury. One way is to use a Swiss ball for strengthening exercises. To perform this exercise, lie on your back with your legs up on the ball. Straighten one leg and tighten the butt muscles at the same time you lift and straighten your other leg. Lower back down slowly, then switch which leg you’re lifting and repeat on both sides of your body 10-12 times. This is a great exercise because it also strengthens your butt muscles while working out the hamstrings.

Another way to strengthen your hamstrings is by using an elastic band to perform what’s called a seated or standing hamstring curl. For this exercise, start seated or standing with both feet planted flat on the floor and knees hip-width apart with a resistance band wrapped around both ankles or feet in an “X” formation (elastic band around both ankles). Slowly bend at the waist without rounding or slouching forward until you feel tension in your hamstrings, then return to starting position by squeezing your hamstrings and upper thighs together at the top of each rep. Repeat 10-12 reps, keeping knees grounded and chest lifted throughout entire set.

What are some ways to prevent a hamstring injury?

Knowing how to prevent a hamstring injury can help you keep playing your favorite sports or doing the activities you love.

Here are some tips on how to protect yourself against hamstring injuries:

  • Warm-up before exercising: The hamstrings are very sensitive and prone to injury. Before exercising, make sure to warm up with light stretching and a short walk.
  • Stretch after exercise: After you’ve completed your workout, take some time to stretch the hamstrings by lying on your back and bending one knee at a time until you feel a good stretch in the muscle.
  • Strengthen other muscles: Stronger quadriceps (front of thigh) muscles can help stabilize the knee joint and lessen the load on hamstrings during exercise. Strengthening your gluteal muscles (behind the thighs) also helps lessen pressure in your lower back and hips, which can contribute to hamstring injuries.
  • When lifting something heavy from the ground, don’t use your back muscles; instead, use your hamstrings by bending at your knees
  • If you feel any pain during exercise or sports, stop immediately
  • If you experience a sudden twinge of pain while running sprints, walk it off for a few minutes before continuing
  • Include exercises that strengthen your hamstrings in addition to aerobic activities such as bicycling or swimming


The hamstrings are located on the backside of your thigh that help you extend your knees and flex your hips. Since they are located on the back of your leg, it can be difficult to strengthen them on your own.

One way to help strengthen your hamstrings is to perform a hamstring curl from a standing position. Stand on a sturdy surface with your feet shoulder-width apart. Hold onto a stable object, such as a table, for balance. Slowly bend at the hips and the knees until your upper body is parallel to the floor and your back is straight, with your knees bent at a 90-degree angle. Return to the starting position by extending at the hips and knees. Repeat. Some other ways to prevent a hamstring injury are to stretch before and after exercising and to wear appropriate footwear.