Let's face it, there are some body parts that most of us like to train more than others - and some that a lot of us ignore (but shouldn't be).
For example, 8 our of 10 average trainees would list "chest" and "abs" among their most favorite body parts to train. And chances are that they'll work these parts a LOT more than other, more vital body parts. Now this isn't necessarily a bad thing always - work the chest and abdominal area in an useful, functional manner, and you'll do good - but the key thing to note here is balance. Most folks neglect working the back and legs hard - and that is one of the biggest mistakes you can make as a trainee.
And though legs and back are often ignored by a lot of folks, there's another vital part of the body that escapes even the minutest attention for 99% of trainees out there. To put it another way, if 2 out of 10 trainees focues on hard, tough leg and back work - there's a good chance that ZERO focus on the body part I'm about to talk about.
So, what body part is this?
The answer is - the hamstrings - the muscles at the back of your thigh. They are the second largest muscle group after the quadriceps - but sadly, they don't even get 10% of the attention that the quadricep gets.When we talk about working the legs, it's usually quad/calf work that we're referring to. And this is a big, big mistake - the hamstrings perform many vital functions, ranging from allowing you to bend over without pain, assisting in walking, sprinting and climbing, and performing a variety of athletic movements.
Like the back - you might not be able to "see" it in the mirror - but this does NOT mean you forget about the muscle. You may have the strongest quads around, but weak hamstrings will ultimately always limit your performance in whichever athletic endavor you choose. Additionally, you run the risk of injury if you overdevelop the quads, and neglect the hamstrings - and most such injuries take a while to heal. Not good.
I've been guilty of not training my hamstrings hard enough in the past, and also as of late. This point struck home rather rudely when I did a set of split lunges (or, 3 sets of 10 to precise) yesterday - which led to that all familiar "wobbly" feeling in my hamstrings which means I've worked a muscle group that I haven't worked in a while (and in a way I haven't for a while). I can barely walk today - OUCH!
Now, just so you know, split lunges are an ADVANCED exercise - and they are NOT for those that are just starting out. If you are just starting out, the regular lunge is a great way to strengthen the hamstrings. Work on these for a while, and also work on strengthening the other parts of your leg at the same time. When you've been doing that a while, ease into the split lunges - but again, a word of caution - these can make you incredibly sore through the glute/hamstring region, so be sure not to overdo them at the start.
There are many other great ways to stretch and strengthen the hamstrings as well - I cover some of the best ones in Fast and Furious Fitness. Grab a copy ASAP, and start working on some of the exercises within - you'll start discovering "hidden" muscles in your body that you never knew existed.
And that endeth today's tip. More later!