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The 6 Best Hamstring Exercises for Triathletes: PainFree Triathlon Workouts

While triathletes are great at doing the routine swim, bike and run training, most of us neglect strength training workouts. And if we do hit the gym for a “triathlon workout” it is usually focused on the quadriceps and calf muscles.

One of the most neglected muscle groups (along with the glutes) is the hamstrings. Research has shown that there is a measurable change in hamstring strength that comes with long runs.1

We’ve come up with our favorite hamstring exercises for triathletes that will make you stronger on the run and the bike. These hamstring exercises should also help reduce your risk for injury as well as help make you just that much faster on race day.

You’re welcome! 😉

Hamstring Exercises for Triathletes

Romanian Deadlift

Romanian deadlifts are my favorite exercise for teaching athletes how to focus on their hamstrings and use the hamstring to extend their hips. If you do this hamstring exercise correctly, you WILL feel some soreness in the middle part of your hamstrings up into the glutes over the next several days.

The Romanian deadlift is basically a hip hinge exercise that focuses on hip extension and flexion. The key part of the movement is coming back up using hip extension. This hip extension movement focuses on contraction of the hamstrings and the glutes and should be a key part of any hamstring exercises for triathletes

Pelvic Bridges

Pelvic bridges are another exercise that can be hamstring-dominate, or with one modification, can a be glute-dominate exercise.

We focus on proper form with the two-leg pelvic bridge and then advance to single-leg pelvic bridges in the intermediate and advanced hamstring exercise programs.

This version of the Pelvic Bridge is done laying on your back with knees bent, both feet flat on floor and arms resting at your sides. The upward movement of the exercise is simply pushing down thru your feet and upper torso as you lift your buttocks off the ground.

You want to rise high enough where the hips become straight and then hold this upright position for 5 to 10 seconds.

Kettlebell Swings

Kettlebell exercises are a great way to learn proper hip hinging form and the kettlebell swing exercise specifically works the posterior chain. The swing will help with hamstring and glute development and is another valuable hamstring exercise for triathletes.

Kettlebell swings when performed properly, can be one of the best exercises for strengthening the hamstrings.2

If you don’t have kettlebells, you can order one from Amazon thru our Amazon affiliate link below at no extra cost to you.

Intermediate Hamstring Exercises

Once you have mastered these beginner hamstring exercises for triathletes, you can add in these three more advanced hamstring exercises that focus on building up individual leg strength and correcting any imbalances you may have.

Single-leg Romanian Deadlifts

The single-leg Romanian deadlift is a more advanced version of the Romanian deadlift. But its also the version that I see the most athletes have difficulty with, so important to have the regular Romanian Deadlift exercise down correctly before jumping to this version.

The single-leg Romanian deadlift helps develop unilateral hamstring strength which is important for running and cycling.

Single-leg Pelvic Bridges

The Single-Leg Pelvic Bridge is another intermediate exercises that builds on the more stable bilateral movement of the Pelvic Bridge.

It’s important to focus on keeping the pelvic and hips stable while performing this single-leg exercise. Its also important to make sure that you focus on contracting the hamstrings and not the quads or low back while in the upright bridge position.

Swiss Ball Curls

Swiss Ball Curls is another exercise that focuses primarily on the hamstrings. The Swiss Ball Curl is an intermediate hamstring exercise because of the instability introduced by using the Swiss Ball and the body control needed to keep the movement in a straight line or linear pattern without having the Swiss Ball move to one side or the other as you are performing the exercise.

Start the Swiss Ball Curl with both feet on the Swiss Ball and the knees slightly bent. With the pelvis lifted off the ground, slowly pull the Swiss ball towards your buttocks by contracting your hamstrings and pulling the ball with your heels. You’ll feel your pelvis and hips elevate as you pull the ball closer.

Slowly return to the starting position by pushing the Swiss ball away from your buttocks. Do the Swiss Ball Curl slowly over a 3 to 4 second progression with a 1 to 2 second rest at the starting and knees bent position.

If you need a Swiss ball, you can order from Amazon through our Amazon affiliate links at no extra cost to you.

Find out more about our PainFreeTriathlete Triathlon Strength Training program here

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