The 4 eccentric hamstring exercises in this list are some of the most potent exercises available for increasing strength and stability in the hamstrings. They are however all rather challenging, so make sure you are capable before attempting them.
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Remember, if you’re looking to strengthen your hamstrings, using hinge exercises will be extremely effective also and they have a lot more simple, beginner friendly variations.
An eccentric exercise is where the muscle is being worked whilst it is lengthening not shortening, like in a concentric contraction. This lengthening of the muscle can be done slowly and with control, it is usually accompanied with a slow tempo (pace).
Eccentric exercises allow us to add a great deal of time under tension, which is beneficial to both strength and hypertrophic (muscle) gains. Eccentric exercises are consistently used in both strength and hypertrophy programmes. Finally they are also excellent for injury mitigation, especially the eccentric exercises which target the hamstrings like the ones in this list. This is why we often see eccentric hamstring exercises in athletic populations.
Alternating Slider Table Tops are another extremely effective eccentric hamstring exercise. This exercise is performed very commonly among athletes, though it is also very effective for general populations. It can be an extremely challenging exercises for beginners and intermediate individuals so make sure you have the prerequisite strength to perform it with competence. Although these are very difficult, they are a great introduction into slider hamstring exercises.
Slider hamstring curls are another popular exercise we see performed by athletic populations due to their effectiveness at building strength in the hamstring muscles. These can be performed with a tempo on the eccentric phase to make them even more challenging and effective. Again, only perform this exercise if your confident your hamstrings are strong enough to deal with the load, these types of exercises are not like free weights where we can progressively add load, they start with the bodyweight, which can be extremely challenging in this position.
The final of the slider curl variations for the hamstrings and by far the most difficult is the single leg slider curl. Celest, the model in the video, who is in excellent physical condition, found this exercise very difficult to perform with control, which should say something as to how difficult it is. It means a single hamstring taking a large amount of weight whilst fully lengthened, which will be very challenging for a great deal of professional athletes. This exercise should only be attempted once you have become proficient with the two previous variations discussed above.
The Nordic Curl is one of the best exercises for the hamstrings. It is a very challenging exercise that involves contracting the hamstrings a great deal and moving the chest towards the floor as slowly and with as much control as possible. Unfortunately this exercise is not yet in our exercise library and will be added in with the next update.
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This resource was written by Sean Klein. Sean Richard Klein has thousands of hours of coaching experience and a BSc in Sports Science with Management from Loughborough University. He owns a gym in Bayonne France, CrossFit Essor, which runs group classes and a Personal training studio.