Move of the week: hamstring kick backs

Move of the week: stretch and strengthen your lower body with hamstring kick backs

Posted by for Workouts

Welcome to our weekly Move of the Week series. Every Monday, we’ll be sharing with you one of our favourite exercises – how to do them, what muscles they work and why they should be a regular part of your workout regime. This week: hamstring kickbacks.

A good lower body workout doesn’t just target the glutes and quads with squats and deadlifts. Working on your hamstrings is also the key to strong legs, as well as evening out any imbalances and supporting your back and hips to help reduce pain.

What are hamstring kick backs?

A hamstring kick back is a lower body stretch that is perfect for post-workout cool downs or as part of a mobility routine. They’re great because…

They reduce tension: tight hamstrings cause stiffness and reduce your mobility.

They’ll help you with explosive movements: your hamstrings are responsible for leg power, meaning that you’ll be able to jump higher and run faster once they’re strong.

They’ll keep you limber: recent studies have shown that improved hamstring strength can reduce injury risk. 

What muscles do hamstring kick backs work?

Well, the clue is in the name, but this stretch specifically targets:

  • Biceps femoris ( from your thigh to your knee)
  • Semimembranosus (the largest part of your hamstring, from your pelvis to your shin)

How to do a hamstring kick back

  1. Start on one knee, with the opposite foot planted at the top of your mat.
  2. Bring your arms down to your sides and use them to slowly push your bodyweight backwards so that one leg is fully outstretched in front of you with your toe off of the ground. In this position, you should feel a stretch throughout your hamstring.
  3. Return to the kneeling position, as if sitting back on your behind leg. 
  4. Repeat on the other leg. 

Check out our How To library to see exactly how the experts do over 100 of the most common strength training exercises and stretches.

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