As women grow older, it becomes steadily more difficult to maintain peak physical condition. Given our modern lifestyle, however, it is more important than ever that we put a certain amount of effort into doing precisely that. With the difficulty of staying in shape amid the demands of modern life, we find ourselves needing to keep ourselves fit more efficiently. It's not just about eating right and exercising: one must perform the proper exercises for each muscle group, in order to maintain those muscles most effectively. If you're more geared towards losing weight, and not toning your hamstrings, check out our best weight loss guides of 2017!
Safe And Effective Exercises For Hamstrings:
Under-developed hamstrings result in an appearance that is the subject of a lot of humorous jabs, although this is usually more of an issue for men. More critically, strong hamstrings help keep you on your feet all day long, and can significantly reduce your likelihood of suffering a knee injury. Hamstring exercises help to balance a woman's overall leg development – keeping strong, healthy-looking and feminine legs into her forties and fifties.
A good exercise to start with is the slingshot squat; this one requires an exercise band, roughly six feet long. Two shorter ones tied together will work.
Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart on the center of the band. Hold the ends of the band up at your shoulder-level, with your palms forward. Then, bending smoothly at your hips and your knees, “sit” as though you were expecting a chair to appear underneath you – not so far that you fall over, and always keep your knees behind your toes.
From this position, rise smoothly to a standing position to a count of one… then, lower yourself back into your “sitting” position with a count of three. This exercise will help tone your butt and your legs, overall, but it's a great way to focus on keeping your hamstrings in step with the rest of your lower body.
The dumbbell set up
The dumbbell step-up is another great exercise for your hamstrings, and is one that focuses on them more specifically. This exercise requires two dumbbells of comfortable weight, slightly lighter than they might be if you were using them to work your arms directly.
Stand in front of a low bench or other platform, with a dumbbell in either hand. Place one foot on the bench, then step up onto the bench with your other foot, making certain that you keep the dumbbells at your side. As you step up onto the bench with your second foot, push your hips up towards the ceiling.
Step down with your first foot, and then repeat the exercise for a full set, alternating which foot goes first each time.
Pilates should bridge
Finally, the pilates shoulder bridge involves no equipment whatsoever – except, as desired, an exercise mat. It does involve a few more steps than the other two exercises we've covered, and it's somewhat challenging, but it's very effective over the long term.
Lie on your back with your feet hip width apart. You want them flat on the floor, as close to your butt as you can get them without becoming uncomfortable. Rest your arms with your palms down. Pressing on your heels, use your butt and your hamstrings to raise your hips – as high as you can get them. Breathe in while doing so.
Hold this position while exhaling, then breathe in again as you left one leg up until it's directly over your hip, straightening your knee as you do so. Breathe out as you slowly lower your leg so that your elevated thigh is parallel to the other thigh. Pause, breathe in, and left the same leg back up again – make sure you keep it straight the whole time!
Perform a slow, steady set of repetitions with the same leg, before switching to the other leg. Do not alternate between legs with every lift.