Knee Dominant Hamstring Exercises

One common feature of the hamstring muscles (with exception of the short head of Biceps Femoirs) is that they cross both the hip and the knee joints, enabling the hamstring muscle group to create both hip extension and knee flexion.

See below for Hamstring Anatomy Video…

I’ve noticed over the years that it’s quite common for many athletes and coaches to focus mainly on hip dominant hamstring exercises such as romanian deadlifts, single leg deadlifts, kettlebell swings and good-mornings. This in itself is no bad thing, as we want to develop the glutes and hamstrings to create a good string extensor mechanism of the hip.

However, it’s important to also train the hamstrings as knee flexors.

This consideration becomes even more important when dealing with Proximal Hamstring Tendinopathy (PHT). As with almost all rehab of chronic tendinopathies, we need to gradually load the tendon to promote the healing response, but the problem with PHT is that if we load the hamstrings eccentrically into hip flexion we will get compression of the hamstrings tendon upon the ischium – a mechanical factor known to be causative of the injury in the first place. Something to avoid!

Therefore, in such cases, we need to focus on knee dominant hamstring exercises, to load the proximal hamstrings tendon, and strengthen the hamstring muscles.

Here are a few examples of such exercises:

Isometric Hamstring Holds

Swiss Ball Hamstring Curl

Nordic Hamstring Curls

Hamstring Anatomy Video

Last updated on March 2nd, 2021.