If you are a dedicated runner, you probably have quads of steel. But to run farther and faster, it is so important to strengthen your tendons, according to a new study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research. Why? It comes down to running economy, or how efficiently the body uses oxygen. It’s a bit like buying a car with better gas mileage-you can drive farther before you need to refuel.
Since its hamstrings create forward motion, you use them in every part of his stride, says researcher Oyvind Heiberg Sundby. When you have strong legs, you’ll push off the ground harder, less wasted effort and running smoothly and efficiently. “In a well-oiled machine, hamstrings and quadriceps appear to work together more efficiently when their strength is in a ratio of 1: 1,” says Sundby. And that relationship is key to avoiding injury: Past research shows that when quads are very strong compared to the hamstrings, you are much more likely to be hurt, he says.
To get to that sweet spot, you need to work on your hamstrings (bonus: you can tone and strengthen your butt, too!). Previous research found the glute bridge to be one of the most effective moves for hamstrings-this is how you do it:
Lie on your back with your knees bent and hip-width apart, feet flat on the floor. Keep your weight on your heels, lift your hips to the knees. Pause for 2 seconds, scrolling through the buttocks, hips lower then the floor to complete 1 rep. Do 3 sets of 12 repetitions.