Hamstring exercises improve hamstring strength. Having good strength in these muscle groups is important for a triathlete. As with the many of the other exercises on these pages, this will help reduce your risk of injury.
The hamstrings cross your hip and the knee. As such they are involved in extending your hip, as well as bending the knee. They also act to rotate the lower leg when the knee is bent and to decelerate knee extension.
So having good hamstring strength is important for performance and for controlling some trunk movement.
In a triathlon, when you come off the bike you will be running in a fatigued state. If your hamstrings are strong they will be more fatigue resistant and prevent your running technique from deteriorating.
Good hamstring strength will help your running performance in particular, especially coming off the bike.
This video demonstrates a range of simple exercises to improve hamstring strength and control.
These exercises are simple to do, with only a bench and Fitness Ball needed. You can include them as part of a circuit session or as individual exercises within a gym session.
For the exercises shown in the video, aim to do enough repetitions to fatigue your hamstrings but without compromising technique. Build up the number of reps and sets as your strength improves.
Single leg exercises are ideal as they ensure that one leg is not working harder than the other and compensating for the weaker side.
There are other exercises you can do if you have access to a gym - have a look at our strength training page.
In addition, many of the running and hurdle drills ( see running drills page ) are excellent for improving functional hamstring strength.
Look for equipment such as fitness balls to help your training, on Amazon.com