If you do not live in a flat on the tenth floor with no elevators, and you don’t walk 20 minutes from the bus stop to get home, chances are your hamstrings are being deprived of much needed exercise.
The hamstrings are the muscle group running up the back of the leg from the knee to the butt, and I am sorry to report that if your lifelong dream has been to get those sexy thighs that everyone wants to show off in a miniskirt or bikini, you must take notes from here on.
There are a quite a number of activities you can engage in to help with the toning and strengthening of these essential power-lifting muscles. And if you don’t have access to a gym, no sweat, because, as usual, these can be done at home;
1. Dead-lifts and Good-Mornings – by now you should have at least got yourself a home barbell set. They are affordable, can be made locally (think cement, old tins and a metal rod) and will go a long way in your healthy regimen programme. A simple dead-lift involves bringing a barbell and a set of weights from the floor to a spot above the head or shoulders. Modified dead-lifts known as good mornings involve holding the barbell behind your back while going from a squatting to a standing position. Don’t put on too much weight as this workout should be done in a set of repetitions (at least 8)
2. Kickbacks - For a kickback, position yourself on the ground, on hands and knees. Then extend one leg up behind you and kick upward. The kickback works the hamstrings and related muscle groups “against the grain” and helps toughen up these workhorse muscles.
3. Walking Lunges - Move forward from a standing position into a lunge with one leg, and then down almost to the floor before reversing direction back up to a standing position. Any amount of free weight (using simple dumbbells) increases resistance for more aggressive muscle strengthening.
4. Skipping - Modified long jumping or rhythm jumping also works the hamstrings, although not in an isolated way. Skipping activities really work a wide variety of muscle groups, and if done with a skipping rope, it can vastly improve agility as well.
5. Step Ups - this classic exercise also works the hamstrings. You don’t need any equipment or weights except for some raised surface. Simply practice stepping up onto a raised surface, first with one leg, then the other, and then back down again. Stairs can be good to use too.
And there you have it, five simple steps to achieving those toned thighs that are to die for. Always keep in mind that for each of the exercises here, you will need to do repetitions in each set so as to achieve your goal. And if it doesn’t hurt or if it’s not tiring, then you need to push yourself a little further. No Pain, No gain, except if you are doing some YOGA of course.