Terre Pruitt's Blog

In the realm of health, wellness, fitness, and the like, or whatever inspires me.

  • I teach Nia, yoga and stretch! SIX group classes a week!

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    Stretch: Thurs at 10:15 am

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Archive for the ‘Hamstrings’ Category

Roll Out The Hamstring

Posted by terrepruitt on September 4, 2012

This is not like rolling out the red carpet or a ball of string because the hamstrings are not really strings at all.  They are muscles in the leg.  Well, actually the hamstrings are made up of three muscles, so it is a muscle group/set.  The three muscles that are included in the muscle set are the Semimembranosus, the Semitendinosus, and the Biceps Femoris.  They are on the back of the legs.  You can see them on my Hamstrings post I put up back in 2009.  According to The Muscle Book the word’s origination is “German:  hamme – back of leg, Latin: stringere – to draw together.”  The hamstrings are responsible for pulling your calf back towards your buttocks, and for extending the thigh.  There are a lot of ways to stretch out and increase flexibility in the hamstrings.  One way to treat tight hamstrings is with the foam roller.  The foam roller is a great way to ease tight hamstrings.  The roller can be used for a hamstring roll.

With many, many, many people working at desks all day, and sitting all day, tight hamstrings seems to be a common state of being for many people.  The position of the knee when one sits in a chair is part of the function of the hamstrings . . . as I mentioned above . . .pulling the calf back towards the buttocks.  So it is not unusual for people who sit a lot to have tight hamstrings.  With tight hamstrings one cannot bend over and touch their toes or easily bend over to touch the floor.  Sometimes tight hamstrings can even interfere with walking, the leg is not able to swing comfortably forward and/or allow the leg to straighten.  Does that sound familiar?  Maybe you have sat for a long time and when you stand up you don’t come up all the way and then your first few steps are short and your legs are tight.  The foam roller can help with that.  It is an easy massaging type of stretch that can be done watching TV or in between those long periods of sitting.

Dance Exercise, Nia, Nia at the City of San Jose, Nia classes in the South Bay, Nia Teacher, Nia Class, San Jose Nia, Nia San Jose, Nia workout, NiaUsing the full roller, sit on the roller with the roller positioned at your hamstrings (just under your glutes/butt), your legs are straight out in front of your body.  Use your arms to support your body.  The position of your arms is straight and under your shoulders supporting your weight.  Using your arms, roll so that your legs roll over the foam roller.  So you bring yourself backwards and tthen push yourself forward over the roller.  The roller is rolling along the back of your legs, gently massaging your Semimembranosus, Semitendinosus, and the Biceps Femoris.  You can do this for as long as you would like.  It really is a great way to bring relief to tight hamstrings.

Sometimes tight hamstrings may contribute to lower back pain.  When the hamstrings are tight they might cause the pelvis to tilt up increasing the strain on the lower back.  So there are really a lot of reasons this easy roll with the foam roller might be something you want to do.

Do you have tight hamstrings?  Does this sound like something that you would do to ease those tight hamstrings?

Posted in Foam Rollers, Hamstrings, Muscles | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Without a ball, a band, and a BOSU

Posted by terrepruitt on June 28, 2011

If you are going to embark on doing the Ten Minute Workout, you can do it without a ball, a band, and/or a BOSU.  You definitely don’t need those things.  I would think if you were planning on exercising at home you would have at least one set of dumbbells.  The issue might be that your dumbbells are too light. Since I do not know your fitness level or your goals, please keep in mind that I am speaking in general and that YOU are responsible for your health and well-being.  With your goals established you need to use the proper weight.  The following information is to give you ideas on how to do things differently than originally proposed in the Ten Minute Workout, but you are responsible for doing things safely.  If you have questions on what to do to help you reach your goals let me know.  Listed are the exercises of the ten that required either a stability ball, a resistance band, and/or a BOSU.

Keep in mind it all depends on what you want the results to be.

(#3) – Squats:  You can do squats standing on the ground.  The BOSU added the extra element of having to balance.  If you don’t have a BOSU and you still want to work on balance while you do squats, you could try doing them on an inflatable pool float.  Be careful!  But you will notice that standing on something with air in it makes you have to balance more than just standing on the ground.  If you think about it that is what a BOSU is.  It is just plastic filled with air.  If you don’t have something inflatable you can stand on, you can still get a little balance work in by holding something somewhat heavy in one hand.  Or even try a bottle of water and let the water slosh around.  Do five, then switch hands.  Or you could just close your eyes.  You would be amazed at how much that throws off people’s balance.

(#4) – Triceps kickbacks: For this you don’t want the weight to be too heavy.  You should be able to complete the ten, but not necessarily too fast or easy.  And don’t have the weight be too heavy that you have to swing it to get the movement done.

(#5) – Hamstring curls:  With this you can either lay on your stomach and put a weight between your feet/ankles and pull your feet back to your butt.  Down to the ground and back to your butt.  Or you can stand and “Kick” your butt, one leg at a time.  (Yeah, the same move we used to do in Jazzercise.)

(#8) – Push ups: Use the ground instead of the BOSU.  Or something higher (STABLE coffee table, stair, whatever works and can be incorporated into your “gym”) than the ground if you prefer

(#9) – Bent over lateral raises: I actually like these better with a dumbbell.  Remember that the details about your shoulders still apply.  Hold a weight in each hand, bent over slightly and with a straight back, and open and close your arms.  This weight will probably need to be less than the one you are using for your biceps curls.  But again, it depends on YOU and your goals.  That is not a definitive statement, just a general one.

(#10) – Stability ball pass:  Well, without the ball it is really just a V Sit-up.   Lay down raise your legs while rising up with shoulders and arms to meet your legs.  You body forms a V.  Arms over your head while you lower upper body and legs to the ground.   If you don’t have a stability ball you would always try using a different ball, but that is up to you.  Either way it is a V sit-up.

Does that help?  Remember the basic form of the exercise still applies; straight back, only forearms moving, etc. or whatever applied to the original exercise.  I am not aware of what equipment you have but there is always something to do without any equipment at all.  Even without dumbbells.  Body weight exercise are great.  If you have any questions let me know.  ALSO, please feel free to SHARE what you do use or what you workout with.

Posted in Hamstrings, Ten Minute Workout (Posts) | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Hamstring Curls

Posted by terrepruitt on June 14, 2011

In putting together the exercises for a Ten Minute Workout, I wanted to get a quick “full body” workout.  I understand that this ten minutes might not target the ENTIRE body, but it gets most of it.  Plus I was trying to use the exercise equipment that I have.  I was bothered by the fact that I had these toys and I didn’t use them.  So I was thinking of exercises that utilized them.  Although, all of these exercises can be modified to be done without the equipment.  This Hamstring curl uses the stability ball.

Lie on your back with your calves/ankles on the stability ball.  Push your hips up into a bridge.  Pull the ball, rolling it towards your butt so your feet end up on it and your knees are up.  Then roll it out.  Your arms can be wherever they are most comfortable.  Arms can be used to help stabilize your body.  It could be at first that your body has a tendency to roll to one side or you feel as if you are going to tip over.  🙂  That is part of the exercise.  You are using your hamstrings to pull the ball back, but you might be engaging your arms a lot to stabilize your body as you learn this exercise.  Eventually your legs will be able to control the ball AND your balance without really USING your arms.

Each time the ball rolls towards your butt count that as one.

How is that for you?  What questions come up?

Posted in Hamstrings, Ten Minute Workout (Posts) | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments »

Terre’s Ten Ten in Ten

Posted by terrepruitt on June 2, 2011

Here is the Ten Minute Workout with some explanation.  Questions and comments welcome.

1 – Long lunges: lunge with a long step with a dumbbell in each hand down at your side then come back up to standing.  Each “step” is one.

2 – Biceps Curls: hold a dumbbell in each hand, keep upper arms still bring dumbbell to bicep and then down.

3 – Squats:  lower down as if you are going to sit in a chair then stand up while standing on the flat side of the BOSU.

4 – Triceps kickbacks: each hand holding one end of the resistance band, arms are pulled back with elbows back (past your ribs), pull the band back straightening the arm (only forearms move) while standing on the band on the flat side of the BOSU in a slightly bent over position. Keep a straight back.

5 – Hamstring curls:  lie down legs on the stability ball (the ball is about half way up the calf) and pull the ball back rolling it towards your butt and then roll it back out while in bridge position.

6 – Sit ups: knees up feet on floor lift shoulders off the floor, then lift more, somewhat more of a crunch.

7 – Triceps Extensions:  weights in hands behind your head (hands are close together or even holding both weights), elbows pointed to the sky, lift weights to the sky only moving at the elbow straightening your arms.

8 – Push ups: using the BOSU (round side on ground).

9 – Bent over lateral raises with band: each hand holding one end of the band, open arms out to side while standing on the band on the flat side of the BOSU in a slightly bent over position. Keep a straight back.

10 – Stability ball pass: lie down hold ball between your feet/ankles raise your legs holding the ball while rising up with shoulders and arms to meet your legs (as in a V sit-up) grab the ball bringing it over your head to the floor.  Lift up back up lifting legs and give the ball back to our legs. (Count “one” at each ball touch down)

As with ANY exercise or exercise program, be careful and be sure you are able to safely do the exercise you engage in.  If you need doctor’s clearance, be sure to get it.

Do ten repetitions of these ten exercises in ten minutes. Repeat if time allows.

What questions do you have?  Let me know.

Posted in Hamstrings, Ten Minute Workout (Posts) | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Pull Workout – Sample

Posted by terrepruitt on November 21, 2009

–Lat pull down while squatting (on Machine)
–Bicep dumbbell curls with walking lunges

–One arm dumbbell row (on bench alternating sides)
–Hamstring curls using stability ball

–Kettlebell swing
–Stability Ball Hand/Foot Pass Sit-up

–Back extension on stability ball
–Straight leg deadlift with Kettlebell alternating legs

–Wide grip row on Machine
–Single Leg Squat using bench

As you can see the first two exercises prove that the generalization of push muscles being on the front and pull muscles being on the back is not great, but for some it is helpful although not entirely accurate. You use your back muscles and your biceps to pull. With most movements more than one muscle or more than one muscle group is being used, but usually we say the exercise works which ever muscles it works the most. As with the Lat pull down, it is called a Lat pull down because the Latissimus dorsi is responsible for most of the effort, however in most cases your biceps are assisting. There are other muscles in your back that are putting in some effort too and it depends on which kind of lat pull down you are doing. Yes, there are different kind.

Usually when the exercise being done is with free weights there is less muscle isolation. Some machines do a great job of muscle isolation. Sometimes an exercise can be considered both or neither and it is add to a workout to work a “popular muscle”. The sit ups were added because most of the time people want to work the abs. I think of the single leg squat as either a push or a pull because sometimes I really feel it in the glutes and sometimes I swear it is all quads.

This is just a sample of what a “pull workout” could look like. The weight used, the reps done, the speed in which do it and how many times you do it all depends on what you are trying to accomplish. This can be done different ways. It could be done all in a row as listed or done in sets. Depends on what you want.

The picture is of the Cable Cross Machine at least Freemotion calls it that. I call “the Machine”.  It lives at the gym in San Jose.

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Hamstrings

Posted by terrepruitt on November 14, 2009

Not the string you use to tie up a pig or a ham, but the muscle group.  There are three muscles that make up the Hamstrings; the Semimembranosus, the Semitendinosus, and the Biceps Femoris.

These muscles flex the knee bringing your foot toward your buttocks, extend the thigh, and rotate the hip/leg.

I have been thinking about my hamstrings A LOT the past few days because of a recent workout where I did a few exercises that really worked my hamstrings.  There are a lot of gyms in San Jose but where my friend and I were is a tiny gym that does not have a lot of machines, but you don’t need machines to really work the back of the legs.

We did some deadlifts, hamstring curls, and worked with a kettlebell, not to mention our warm up lunges.  So, yes, I have been thinking about my hamstrings a bit.

I wanted to point out that the hamstrings are three different muscles and remind you of that.

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