Exercise Plan – Targeting the Hamstrings

    Published: 06-16-2009
    Views: 13,555
    Fitness expert Margie Weiss demonstrates how to do target the hamstrings.

    Margie Weiss

    Margie Weiss has been in the fitness industry all of her life, having been a national gymnast as a child, and mother/trainer to three international athletes. Owner-coach of MG Gymnastics, her team produced international stars for 15 years. Former owner of 2 Gold's Gym franchises, Margie is also a certified personal trainer, specializing in youth sports conditioning. She has trained international athletes, including her children. Her son, Michael, is a 2-time US Olympic figure skater and 3-time US National Champion. Currently, she is GGX (Group exercise director & instructor) for 3 Gold's Gyms, where one of her programs boasts 500 classes per month; she supervises 175 instructors. Having published many articles in the fitness field, she enjoys seeing progress in each of her participants. But the things that makes her most proud of the lives she has affected are her 5 grandchildren, all of whom live very close. Seeing their smiles makes every day worth smiling about!

    My name is Margie Weiss and this is Womens Fixit Zone. The area that were going to work now is called the hamstrings; its the back of your leg. Its a big muscle group, so feel free to take your larger weight. You can always add more weight later. First do the exercise safely, decide if you can add some more weight. What were going to do is put the weight between our feet at the instep, not at the ankle, but the instep. Were going to flip over onto the belly. Bellybutton is to the floor, youre going to put your elbows out, hands in, chin on your hands. Object here is core, its not so much about the raising and the lowering of the legs, as about the core. So, what youre going to want to do is press your belly to the floor, squeeze a penny in your glute and tighten your hamstrings, squeeze your inner thighs together. As your legs raise slowly and lower, the range of motion is not quite 90. You catch it just shy of 90, because when its right straight up and down, there is not much work being done, its just bone-on-bone. Controlling the motion up and down is critical. Now, how do you breathe? You breathe out as the weight comes up and you breathe in as it comes down. That way as youre breathing out, youre actually pressing your hips down for the floor. You dont want your rear end to come up in the air, because that changes the workout and it puts too much stress on the lower back. So, as the legs rise youre pressing your hips down for the floor. You can do these all the way up or you can pulse them near the floor, so you have little babys presses, presses, presses. Youre squeezing the glute the entire time. Youre squeezing your inner thighs together the whole time. Now, if the weight gets too heavy you can do the whole exercise without the weights at all. You just can drop them to the floor and continue to do that exercise. Youre still getting stress in this entire area. Belly again, hollow and to the floor. As we finish the exercise and we slowly lower the weights to the floor, we would kick them out of the way as Lesley is going to do, so that we can stretch, because you generally want to stretch the hamstring right after you do the workout. So, Im going to show two ways to stretch. You can lie on your back with one leg bent and one leg towards your face, or you can sit up with one leg out to the side and lean forwards. The object here; back is flat, chin is out. Object here; legs fairly straight. If you are not super flexible, bottom leg is bent. If you are more flexible, bottom leg would be straight, but where youre stretching is back in here. Then you bend this one down, and then you repeat obviously with the other leg. On this exercise since youre doing both legs at the same time, youre going to stretch them both out. So, youre going to switch the legs. Hamstrings tend to tighten up a little bit and thats why we like to stretch them out right after we do the hamstring workout. Amount of time youre going to do this? Maybe 20 seconds, when you get better maybe 30 seconds worth, maybe a minute. Remember, you can alternate doing singles, 2x2 or pulses. Thats for your hamstrings.