Two Exercises to Prevent Hamstring Injuries

Hamstring injuries don't always mean you have tight hamstrings and need to stretch more. In many cases, a pulled hamstring may indicate tight hip flexors and weak glutes (butt muscles).

Performing a short movement prep routine that consists of two simple exercises may be all you need to decrease your risk of a hamstring injury during sports. These two exercises--one for the hip flexors and one for the glutes--can be added to your regular warm up.

If you participate in sports that require running, quick acceleration or change of direction, consider making these two exercises part of your pre-game routine.

Lunge with a Twist

Lunge with Twist Exercise. E. Quinn

Tight hip flexors can inhibit the glutes, which makes the hamstrings work harder. Performing this movement prep exercise before your workout can help lengthen the hip flexors, which allows them to move through a full range of motion so the glutes can do their job.

 Lunge with a Twist 

  • Step back with your left foot into a lunge position.
  • Sink your hips down until you feel a stretch through the front of the left hip flexor.
  • Slowly twist your upper body to the right, with your left hand on your right knee.
  • Optional: hold a small medicine ball (as pictured) to increase upper body and core muscle activation.
  • You will feel an increased stretch through the hip flexors of the left hip.
  • Perform eight to 10 reps on each side.

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Glute Bridge

Bridge Exercise
Bridge Exercise. Photo (c) John Giustina / Getty Images

Strong glutes help take the burden off of the hamstrings, so they'll less likely to be strained. The glute bridge is a simple way to activate the glutes so they fire properly during exercise.

Hip Bridge

  • Start by laying down with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor.
  • Tighten your abs and glutes before you move.
  • By contracting your glutes, lift your hips up and form straight line from your knees to shoulders.
  • Focus on squeezing your glutes.
  • Hold the position for three to five seconds.
  • Perform eight to 10 reps with a short rest between lifts.

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