Incorporating hamstring rehab exercises into your fitness routine is an incredible way to make strides towards a speedy recovery from an injury.
Regarded as one of the most powerful muscle groups in the body, our hamstrings play an integral role in helping us move through a variety of actions.
They are responsible for stabilizing the knee, helping you move your legs forward and backward, as well as controlling hip extension and rotation. Due to their integral role in everyday dynamic movement, incidence of hamstring strains can occur leading to injury.
Common conditions include acute hamstring strains, tendinitis, and even hamstring tears.
With these conditions, taking part in daily activities can feel like a struggle.
Imagine being unable to go for a run on a nice day or being unable to cycle to work due to a pulled muscle.
To find relief from any of these severe injuries, most people turn to a range of movement therapies for quick recovery.
One approach to hamstring strain relief that's proven to provide excellent results is rehabilitative exercise. These manual therapy exercises are critical in helping to restore eccentric strength, reduce injury recurrence, and promote an increase in movement.
To help you on your road to recovery, we’ve put together a practical guide to lots of techniques and hamstring rehab exercises. You'll also find tips on how to maximize your workout routine for the best results.
Let's get started!
Best Hamstring Rehab Exercises for Faster Healing
From stretching to eccentric strength and functional exercises, there are lots of techniques you can do to improve muscle function.
Let's examine a few of them and see how they can help.
Hamstring stretching exercises
Stretching your hamstrings is an important part of any rehab routine. It helps to increase muscle length, reduce tension, and improve range of motion.
Here are a few hamstring stretches you can add to your routine:
Hamstring wall stretch
A great approach to hamstring strain relief is to perform a wall stretch.
To perform this rehab exercise, stand facing a wall with your feet about hip-width apart. Place both hands on the wall in front of you, and then slowly walk your feet back until you feel a stretch in the back of your legs.
Hold this gentle stretch for 10–20 seconds, and then slowly bring your feet back to the starting position.
Seated toe touches
If you’re looking for an eccentric strength training program that focuses on the lower part of your hamstring muscles, then seated toe touches are an eccentric exercise for that.
Incorporating this eccentric strength training into your rehab routine can help increase muscle length while enhancing hamstring flexibility gains.
To get started on this hamstring stretching exercise, sit on the floor with your legs in a prone position. Place both hands behind your toes and slowly bend at the waist until you feel a stretch through the back of your legs.
Keep your back straight and hold the stretch for 3-5 seconds before releasing it from its extended position.
Another form of hamstring stretching exercise that can help with rehab is a calf stretch.
This particular stretch helps to increase the muscle length of your calves, which can also help with the management of pain.
Getting started with this approach to hamstring strain relief begins with standing with one leg forward and the other leg back. Bend your front knee and press the heel of your back foot into the ground until you feel a stretch in your calf muscles.
Make sure to keep your back straight during the stretch and hold for 10–20 seconds before switching legs. You can also use exercise bands to add extra resistance to the stretch.
But ensure to start slowly and build up gradually with the use of resistance bands to avoid the risk of injury.
Straight leg raise
Last on our list of eccentric hamstring exercises you can do for rehab is the straight leg raise.
This exercise increases hamstring flexibility gains while promoting strong extension in the ankle and hip joints. To get started, lie on your back with both legs bent at the knees.
Lift your left leg up off the ground until it is completely straight, and then hold it for 3-5 seconds before slowly lowering it back to the starting position. Repeat this exercise 10–15 times per side to ensure strength without pain.
While stretching is important, it’s also essential to incorporate eccentric strengthening exercises into your rehabilitation routine.
Here are lots of techniques and movement therapies you can try out:
Squat jumps are an excellent form of exercise to help strengthen and rehab your hamstring muscles.
This dynamic exercise strengthens the knee and hip extensor muscles while increasing power in the lower body.
To begin a squat jump, stand upright with your feet slightly wider than shoulder-width apart. Push your hips back and bend at the knees, keeping your chest up as you lower into a squat position. Make sure to keep your back straight and your weight in your heels.
Once you reach the bottom of the squat, immediately fire up with power and jump as high as you can before transitioning into a landing.
Land softly on both feet and reset before repeating for 8–10 reps.
Standing hamstring curl
One of the best exercises to strengthen your hamstrings is the standing hamstring curl.
When done correctly, this exercise can help build strength and stability in core muscle fibers while also improving range of motion.
Here's what you should do. Stand with your feet hip-width apart and a dumbbell in each hand. Slowly bend at the knees and curl the weights up towards your glutes until you feel an eccentric contraction strength without pain in your hamstrings.
Hold for a few seconds before slowly releasing back to the starting position and repeating 10-15 times per side. You can also incorporate exercise bands like barbells or retro bands for added resistance.
If you’re after a high-intensity and dynamic way to build strength in your hamstrings, depth jumps are the perfect exercise.
This plyometric exercise helps to increase speed and power in the lower body while also strengthening your hamstring muscles.
To begin a depth jump, stand on a low box with your feet together and both arms by your sides. Step off the box and land softly on both feet before immediately jumping as far and as high as you can.
Land softly on both feet and reset before repeating for 8–10 reps. When done correctly, depth jumps can be a great tool to help you build eccentric hamstring strength while also improving your sports health.
Double-leg glute bridge
Another simple but effective exercise for pulled hamstrings is the double-leg bridge.
This move helps to target both sides of your muscles at the same time, as well as strengthening your core and glutes.
To get started on a double-leg bridge position, lie on your back with both legs bent at the knees. Push through your heels to lift your hips off the ground and hold for a few seconds before slowly lowering them back down.
With every double-leg bridge position, try to hold your hips in the air a little longer before releasing. Elastic bands can also be used for added resistance.
Seated hamstring pull
Are you looking for an eccentric hamstring strength exercise you can do while sitting down? Then the seated hamstring pull is perfect for you.
This particular exercise helps build strength and stability in the surrounding leg muscles. To get started, sit in a chair with your feet flat on the ground. Your eye level should be even with your knees.
Holding a dumbbell in each hand, slowly curl your legs back towards your body to ensure strength without pain. Maintain control during the movement and slowly return your legs to the starting position before repeating 15-20 times.
Isometric knee flexion contractions
Isometric knee flexion contractions are a great way to strengthen your hamstrings without having to move.
In this particular exercise, you’ll be using the strength of the opposing muscle groups to create resistance and tension in your hamstrings.
To get started, sit on the edge of a chair with one leg extended out in front of you and the other bent at 90 degrees of knee flexion.
Place your hands on the back of your extended leg and press down firmly as you resist the movement from the attained knee flexion angle. Hold this position for 10 seconds before releasing and repeating 10-15 times.
Retro bands can also be used to increase the difficulty of the exercise. Just ensure to keep your back straight during the exercise to ensure enhanced strength without pain.
When you think about strengthening your hamstrings, split jumps are a great exercise to include in your routine.
This plyometric exercise helps build power and strength in the lower body while also targeting the hamstring muscles.
Stand with one foot slightly behind the other to do a split jump. Then, jump off both feet and switch your legs mid-air so you’re landing with the opposite foot in front of the other. Just ensure to land softly on both feet before switching.
Split jumps can be done for 8–10 reps or at intervals of 30 seconds each. Make sure to keep your core tight throughout the movement to prevent any risk of reinjury.
Functional hamstring exercises
When it comes to rehabilitating a pulled hamstring, functional exercises and extension movements can help you get back to full strength and function.
These exercises mimic the movement patterns and range of motion used in everyday activities and sports. They help to relieve muscle strain while improving coordination and stability as well, making them perfect for hamstring rehab.
Here are a few examples of things you can do to boost your level of performance.
Nordic hamstring exercise
The Nordic hamstring curl is an excellent choice of manual therapy for building strength and stability in the hamstrings.
This posterior chain exercise training helps to target both sides of your muscles at once, as well as improving coordination.
To get started, kneel on the ground with your hands clasped behind your head and your feet flat on the floor. Slowly lean forward while keeping your back straight until you feel a strong contraction in your biceps femoris and other hamstring muscles.
Keep control during Nordic hamstring curls to avoid any risk of reinjury; hold for a few seconds before slowly releasing back to the starting position and repeating 8–10 times. You can use exercise bands, resistance bands, or any other secure object to make the extension movements more challenging.
A second functional hamstring exercise you can add to your routine is the single-leg deadlift.
This eccentric strength training not only helps to strengthen your muscle function but also works your core and glutes at the same time. Getting started is simple.
To begin, stand in an upright position with your feet hip-width apart and hold a weight in one hand. While keeping your back straight, slowly bend at the waist towards the side of the weighted hand while lifting the opposite leg behind you.
Keep this position for a few seconds before returning to the starting position and repeating on the other side. Retro bands can also be incorporated to increase the difficulty of the exercise. But just make sure to keep your back straight throughout the exercise to avoid the chance of reinjury.
If you’re looking to strengthen your hamstring muscles, the Romanian deadlift is a great exercise.
Like the Nordic hamstring exercise, this posterior chain exercise helps to target both your posterior chain and glutes at once while also improving coordination and balance. To get started, stand with your feet hip-width apart and hold a pair of dumbbells in front of you.
Keeping your back straight, slowly bend at your pelvic position while pushing your hips back and lowering the weights toward the floor. Once you feel a strong contraction in your muscles, return to an upright position and repeat for 10–15 reps.
You can even incorporate secure objects like elastic or retro bands for more resistance. Exercise bands are also
Now that you know the best rehab exercises, it’s time to give them a try!
Remember to focus on form and control during each exercise to ensure maximum results. Also, ensure to take breaks and listen to your body if you experience any bad pain. This way, you can be sure to get the most out of your hamstring rehab routine and reduce reinjury rate.
Next, we'll go over just what you can do before and after your hamstring rehab exercises to help ensure the best possible results.
What to Do Before and After Your Hamstring Rehab Exercise Routine
Getting back to full strength and function after a muscle strain injury doesn’t just involve eccentric exercise.
In addition to regular hamstring rehabilitation techniques, there are several other things you can do before and after your workout to help speed up your recovery.
Here are some of the top tips to keep in mind:
Before getting started on any rehab exercise, it’s important to do a few things to ensure your body is well prepared.
Follow these tips to get the most out of your rehab workout:
Warm up your hamstring muscle
Before beginning any exercise, it’s important to warm up your hamstrings.
This will help to ensure minimal risk of reinjury and increase hamstring flexibility gains during your workout.
Start with some light dynamic stretches such as leg swings or walking lunges to get your hip muscles ready for action. You can also make use of exercise bands or fitness tools like a foam roller or massage guns to help loosen tight muscles.
Eat something light
Another important tip is to make sure you’re properly fueled for your workout.
Imagine running a marathon without eating beforehand – your body wouldn’t be able to perform the way you want.
The same applies to hamstring rehabilitation techniques: eat a light snack such as a banana or a small handful of nuts before beginning your hamstring rehab routine. This will help ensure you have the energy to get through your workout and maximize results.
Taking part in any challenging exercise can quickly leave your body dehydrated, so it’s important to keep your water intake up.
Drinking water before your rehab workout will help to keep you hydrated and ensure that your major muscles have enough fluid for optimal level of performance. It can also help prevent fatigue and promote better muscle function.
So, aim to drink at least 8 ounces of water before beginning your hamstring rehab exercise routine. You can even bring a water bottle with you to sip on while you’re exercising.
This approach to hamstring strain relief can help keep you on track and get the most out of rehab or movement therapies.
Once you’ve completed your rehab exercises, there are a few things you can do to help speed up your recovery process and eliminate reinjury rate.
Here are some of the top tips:
Take a cool shower
Putting your muscles in a cold bath or shower can do wonders for your post-workout recovery.
The cold water helps to reduce inflammation and muscle soreness while improving blood flow and promoting healing. So, hop into a cool shower after your rehab routine to help reduce the risk of injury and speed up recovery.
Other options for cooling down your muscles could include an ice bath or using a cold compress.
Refuel and drink more water
As taking part in any daily activity can deplete your energy stores, it’s important to refuel and rehydrate after your workout.
Eating a high-carbohydrate snack such as a banana or energy bar can help replenish lost glycogen and get your body back on track. And make sure to take regular sips of water after your workout to prevent dehydration.
This will help ensure your body is well recovered and ready for the next session.
Get plenty of rest
As with any physical activity, it’s important to get plenty of rest after your workout.
Your body needs time to repair and rebuild muscle tissues, so make sure you’re getting enough sleep each night. Make sure to get 7-8 hours of sleep each night, as this will help your body recover faster and reduce chances of injury recurrence.
If possible, try to take a nap during the day as well.
By following these tips, you’ll be sure to get the most out of your eccentric strength training and help your body recover faster.
Next, we'll take a close look at just how you can sneak in hamstring rehab exercises into your regular workout routine.
Easy Ways to Fit Hamstring Rehab Exercises Into Your Routine
While it’s important to make sure you’re performing these rehab exercises regularly, it can be hard to find time in your busy schedule.
Luckily, there are a few easy ways to sneak in these exercises into regular workouts or movement therapies. Here are some of the best options:
Change your routine to suit your workout schedule
Perhaps the easiest way to fit hamstring rehab exercises into your routine is to change your routine so that you have some time dedicated specifically for exercise.
This could mean getting up a little earlier, taking shorter breaks throughout the day, or adjusting your evening schedule. You could also set yourself reminders throughout the day so that you don’t forget about your workout.
With this method, you can make sure that you’re always getting your hamstring rehab exercises in, even if it’s just a few minutes each day.
Use a fitness app to track your exercise routine
Using a fitness app to track rehab exercises and extension movements can be a great way to stay motivated and monitor your progress.
With most apps, you can easily keep track of which exercises you’ve done, how many reps, and how often. You can also customize the workout plan according to your goals. This will help ensure that you’re consistently doing your hamstring rehab exercises and getting the most out of them.
Plus, you’ll be able to set reminders, look back, and see how far you’ve come in your journey.
Hire a personal trainer
Another simple way to sneak hamstring rehab exercises into your daily routine is to hire a personal trainer.
This could mean hiring a physical therapist, a personal trainer, or even a certified rehabilitation specialist. A good personal trainer will be able to provide you with custom exercises based on your specific needs and goals.
They’ll also be able to make sure that you’re doing the exercises correctly and safely, which can help reduce the risk of reinjury. Plus, having someone else hold you accountable for your workouts can be a great way to stay on track.
Consider getting a workout buddy
If you're having trouble finding the motivation to perform any rehab exercises, consider getting a workout buddy.
Having someone else to train with can make the process more enjoyable and help hold you accountable. Plus, executing an eccentric training program with someone who is also working towards the same goals can be incredibly motivating.
You can even set up group sessions if you have friends or family members that are interested in doing any hamstring stretching, strengthening, or functional exercises with you. You can even incorporate exercise bands to make things more challenging.
Cut down your screen time
We live in a world where it’s easy to get consumed by our devices.
But if you’re struggling to find the time for hamstring rehab exercises, cutting down on your screen time can be a great way to make some extra time in your day.
Start by setting yourself a limit on how much time you spend looking at your phone, tablet, or computer each day. You could also set up certain times when you won’t use any of your devices, such as during meals or before bed.
This will free up some time for you to do your hamstring rehab exercises, and it can also help improve your overall mental and physical wellbeing. By putting some of these tips into practice, you can make sure that you’re fitting in your hamstring rehab exercises and getting the most out of them.
Once you find a physical therapy routine that works for you, it’ll become much easier to stick with it—and you’ll be sure to see the results in no time!
Frequently Asked Questions
Find answers to the most commonly asked questions about hamstring rehab exercises in this section.
Whether you’re just starting out or looking to improve your routine, these answers should help you understand the basics of lots of techniques.
What are the benefits of hamstring rehab exercises?
The benefits of executing hamstring rehabilitation techniques are wide and many.
For one, taking part in hamstring rehab exercises can help you improve muscle function or knee joint mobility while reducing localised pain. Doing these exercises regularly can also prevent acute hamstring injuries from happening and help you avoid further damage.
What's more, these exercises can also help relieve posterior thigh pain, lower back pain, and hip pain by stretching out any tightness or tension in the area.
How do I know when it's safe to start rehab exercises for my hamstring injury?
While the benefits of doing hamstring rehab exercises are numerous, it’s important to make sure you wait until it’s safe to start.
If you’ve recently had a hamstring injury or muscle strain, it’s best to consult your doctor or physical therapist before beginning any type of exercise program. They will be able to assess your individual situation and help you come up with an appropriate plan for getting back to full health.
How often should I do hamstring rehab exercises?
If you’re just starting out, try to do your hamstring rehab exercises at least two or three times per week.
As you get stronger and more comfortable with the exercises, you can gradually increase the frequency of your workouts. Remember to always listen to your body and take breaks as needed if you start to feel any posterior thigh pain or discomfort.
This will help ensure that you’re doing the exercises properly and getting the most out of them.
When should I stop performing hamstring rehab exercises?
It’s important to note that your hamstring rehabilitation techniques should be done consistently in order to have the best long-term results.
However, there may come a point when you need to reduce or stop doing certain exercises altogether. For example, if you start experiencing pain during an exercise that wasn’t present before, it may be time to take a break or switch up your routine.
If the pain persists, be sure to consult with your doctor or physical therapist to avoid any risk of reinjury.
Whether you are recovering from a previous hamstring injury or just want to strengthen your leg muscles, performing hamstring rehab exercises regularly can be a great way to stay fit and active.
Rehab exercises proven to be effective in promoting faster healing can include functional, stretching, and hamstring strengthening exercises. When done correctly, these exercises can help increase hamstring flexibility gains while reducing muscle strain or discomfort.
Taking time to incorporate them into your daily routine can also help you stay motivated and see progress with your rehabilitation. Simple ways to do this include using fitness apps, hiring a personal trainer, having a workout buddy, and cutting down on your screen time.
No matter what level of rehab you need for your muscle injury, taking part in the right one in the correct manner can reduce incidence rate and intensity of any future injuries. Hope this article has been helpful in guiding you through the basics of rehab exercises.
If you have any questions or concerns about rehab or any movement therapies, be sure to reach out to our team for more information.