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Meet your Hamstrings

To start off a bit of blogging we're going to run a series about hamstrings. Part one is an anatomy lesson.

Meet your hamstrings:

The hamstring muscles play an essential part in high speed running and as such they are a common source of high profile sporting injuries.

They consist of 3 muscles that run from your ischial tuberosity (if you sit on your hands, you'll feel these two boney points) down the back of your thigh and into the back of your lower leg (tibia and fibula).

Semimembranosus & Semitendinosis

These friends can be found on the medial side (inside) of the thigh. Semimembranosus is named because of its long flat membrane like tendon. Semitendinosis is named because it has an even longer tendon inserting into the back of the knee.

Semimembranosus, Semitendinosus
Biceps Femoris

Biceps Femoris (long and short head)

This two headed monster sits on the lateral (outside) part of the leg. The long head joins up with the semitendinosis at the top of the leg. The bulk of the short head sits on the middle of the femur (thigh bone).

Both heads assist with knee flexion and the long head assists with hip extension. The Short head is involved in external rotation of the knee when the knee is flexed. The Higashihara study mentioned above also indicated that the 'lateral' hamstring muscles are the most active when an athlete is in the acceleration phase of sprinting.

Stay tuned for part 2 - Common Injuries...


McAllister M, Hammond K, Schilling B et al (2014). Muscle activation during various hamstring exercises, Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research, 28(6), 1573-1580.

Higashihara A. Nagano, Y. Ono, T. & Fukubayashi T. (2017). Differences in hamstring activation characteristics between the acceleration and maximum-speed phases of sprinting. Journal of Sports Sciences, 1-6.