I recently had two emails that asked two fairly simple questions about muscles that are extremely important for athletes but so often forgotten when training. The first question, how do I improve my hamstring strength ? And the second, do you have any creative ways to better a basketball player’s grip strength? Since both of these questions came to me on consecutive days and since I am in the midst of training a basketball specific group at Elite Sports Performance, I decided that I could answer both of these questions, with one video and post.
As far as the hamstrings go, they are an often forgotten about but extrememly important part of the legs. Well developed hamstrings can prevent lower back injury and allow an athlete to pick up heavier weight from the floor which will ultimately translate into better performance in their sport particularly ones that require explosive movements like sprinting and jumping. Some of the best hamstring exercises include the Romanian Deadlift (single leg rdls are excellent because the add an aspect of balance to the exercise), the stiff legged deadlift, and glute ham raises. One of my favorite hamstring strengthening exercises can be viewed in the video below. It is a modification on a glute ham raise that can be done with a regular flat bench and a dumbell.
Grip strength is also of key importance to all sports that the hands are involved. However, it is once again forgotten about when training. Having better grip strength will allow you to hold a baseball/softball bat in a stronger position which will aid in your swing, the same can be applied to stick sports like lacrosse and field hockey, and finally (my personal favorite) it will better your ball handling in basketball and prevent you from having the basketball ripped from your hands. There are multiple ways to improve your overall grip and forearm strength including dumbell holds, plate holds, and using a fat bar for various lifts.
The video below shows one of my basketball players completing sets of the modified glute ham raise and towell pullups. If there are any good exercises that you guys can think of, please let us know by posting them in the comments section below. Thanks and see you on the court.