This exercise is intended to work on strengthening and control of the hamstring muscles on the posterior (back) aspect of the leg being worked as well as working on re-establishing active Range of Motion (ROM) for knee flexion. It will focus specifically on developing hamstring (Semitendinosus, Semimembranosus and Biceps Femoris) strength and control throughout the full Range of Motion.
Why do this Exercise?
To increase strength within the hamstrings and increase active ROM for knee flexion. As a general conditioning exercise to target hamstring strengthening and to prevent injury. To increase stability within the knee joint.
Ankle Weights/Gym bag (when applicable). Folded Towel.
Prone (lying on your stomach) on the floor. Start with your legs straight out behind you. Place the folded up towel under the thigh of your affected leg, just above your knee. If using ankle weights place it around the ankle of your affected leg. Your hips should remain flat against the floor at all times throughout the exercise. As you perform the exercise concentrate on keeping your lower leg in a straight line with your upper leg, not allowing it to rotate either inward or outward.
Concentrate on contracting/tightening your hamstring muscle and begin to flex/bend your lower leg and foot up and towards the ceiling. This motion should be performed in a slow, smooth and controlled motion. Keep your foot and ankle at a 90°. You want to flex/bend your lower leg as much as possible, in a pain free ROM. Once fully flexed, concentrate on holding the contraction for 5 seconds and then slowly relax the muscle allowing your lower leg to return back to the starting position. Relax the muscle and rest for 5-10 seconds and then repeat 10 times. As strength and control increase you can increase from 1 set of 10 reps up to 3 sets of 10 reps. This exercise should be repeated 1-2 times per day.
This exercise should only be performed within a pain free range of motion. Do not continue this exercise if there is pain, swelling or a significant increase in skin temperature (skin becomes hot/warm to the touch). The recommended repetitions are here to serve as guideline. Keep in mind that each person is different and you must modify your activity according to the feedback your body provides. If you feel your muscles getting fatigued (a good thing) and you begin losing control (leg begins twitching) stop and return to the exercise at another time. Do not perform this exercise on a soft surface (i.e. bed) because it will not achieve the desired results. Do not use quick jerky movements with this exercise; it is intended to be performed in a slow and controlled motion. In order to increase the difficulty of this exercise ankle weights or a gym bag may be attached around your foot and ankle while performing the motions. Note that when adding or increasing weight it should be done in small increments and modifications may be made in terms of the number of repetitions of sets performed.