We stretch our hamstrings A LOT, but we don’t necessarily work on hamstring strengtheners for yoga. If you’re familiar with the ‘yoga butt’ injury, you know that injuries at the hamstring tendon located, well, in your butt, are more and more common with regular practitioners.
In addition to practicing compassionately and kindly towards yourself and your edges, you can also work on strengthening your hamstrings and along with them your tendons. This may prevent tearing this vulnerable connection point of the hamstring muscles to the sitting bone as well as provide healing if you have a history of pain.
These three hamstring strengtheners for yoga will deliberately and specifically provide contraction and strengthening to the hamstring muscles, and along with them probably a bit of glutes due to the extension of the hip. They are all essentially the same exercise of pressing through the leg with a bent knee, but in different orientations to gravity for a slightly difference experience.
Slip these poses occasionally in to a weekly cycle of practice and see how you feel.
All Fours Leg Press
Start in all fours like cat cow, but make sure your belly isn’t dropping and your front ribs are contained. Keeping the action in the leg and out of the lower back is key to making sure you get maximum strengthening.
- Bend and restraighten the leg several times creating a bit of resistance.
- Pulse the leg up and down in small ways.
Dancer pose variation
Dancer Pose is a really nice and gratifying pose. This one is just sort of hard…but good! Basically, do dancer pose without holding the foot and restricting the backbend and movement in the spine so we can focus mostly on the bending of the knee and slight pressing up of heel.
Try this before you do your bridge pose or upward-facing bow pose to get the hamstrings charged up.
These are some resources that have influenced me if you want to dive deeper: