When it comes to maxing out in the gym, everybody’s busy trying their best to break their PRs and set a record for themselves, whether it be through targeting specific muscles with isolation or mastering their compound movements. As a result, it’s not uncommon to see any active gym-goer dedicate months at a time to increase their overall strength, identifying what weaknesses are holding them back and working around said challenges to get the most from their accessory lifts.
However, one weakness that often goes unnoticed is weak hamstrings, and while it may not appear like the biggest of problems to have, this muscle group is responsible for a lot of your mobility and is often overcompensating for other weak points. So, before you head off to start your typical leg workout like Joseph Baena, you might want to reconsider what isolation exercises you should do next to address your tight hamstrings.
Tight Hamstrings Prevent You From Unlocking Your Full Potential
While your hamstrings may be tucked behind your thigh muscles, this muscle group is no slacker when it comes to enabling the full potential of your leg power because it plays a significant role in walking, keeping you mobile, and explosive movement. Therefore, once these muscles are overstrained and tight, it will prevent you from unlocking your full potential for several reasons, namely, (1) unable to lift heavier weight, (2) risk of postural problems, and (3) the lack of flexibility.
- Less Overall Strength And Lower Weights: Firstly, when completing compound movements, it’s a no-brainer that you’re collecting strength from multiple muscle groups simultaneously. And if your hamstrings are tight and overcompensating for other muscles like your glutes, then don’t expect to be pulling the most weight your body is capable of carrying. In fact, if you push through without care, you run the risk of injury.
- Introduce Postural Problems: In addition to less overall strength, tight hamstrings also introduce postural problems, which cause unnecessary muscle tension, reduced circulation throughout the body, and imbalance. Furthermore, this also leads to joint pains that could have long-term adverse effects on your movement, meaning that it’s not only your lifts that will be suffering but your general well-being and ability to complete everyday activities as well.
- Extreme Lack Of Flexibility & Mobility: Last but not least, one of the more serious risk factors that tight hamstrings introduce is the extreme lack of flexibility and mobility of the body. And for any active gym-goer that enjoys compound movements, such as working on your squats or deadlifts, your capacity to express the full range of motion will be impeded significantly. So, even if you don’t mean to execute half-reps, you’ll only be limited to a partial range.
What Causes Tight Hamstrings In The First Place?
Lucky for us, the causes of tight hamstrings can be easily traced back to our everyday habits associated with the new normal, and while that isn’t typically a positive, it does mean we can redirect our attention to fixing these bad habits first. Namely, we recommend you avoid spending too much time sitting down and refrain from overusing your hamstrings in repetitive movements as much as possible.
- You’re Spending Way Too Much Time Sitting Down: We are all guilty of spending way too much time just sitting down, and with big companies like Amazon still employing work from home strategies, we’ll be seeing more and more people sit on the couch for hours on end inside their living rooms. And if you’re among the people who can’t help but crunch deadlines daily, we recommend inserting few breaks in-between your work schedule to stand up and stretch out your kinks, especially for your tight hamstrings.
- Overusing Them With Repetitive Movement: On the opposite end of the spectrum, we also have people overusing their hamstrings with repetitive movement, giving them no chance to rest and recuperate effectively. For example, people who run daily without proper cool-down will find their hamstrings battered to the core, so please give your muscles the chance to recover first before blasting into another strenuous workout.
Try Active Stretching Now And Then
Besides addressing your bad habits, tight hamstrings will also some extra investment like active stretching to challenge their limits and reinforce their strength. And if you’re more than willing to incorporate new exercises into your workout plan, then we strongly suggest trying something like yoga to increase your flexibility or trying a gymnastics group to learn new skills. Yes, there’s no denying that both options mentioned have quite the learning curve, but they will fix your tight hamstrings and much more in the long run.
Don’t Let Your Hamstrings Ruin Your Workout Goals!
Overall, tight hamstrings should be the least of your problems when it comes to reaching your workout goals. So, please integrate the solutions mentioned above, and feel free to tailor your workouts to train your hamstrings more often.