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Amplify your rear view with strong, toned hamstrings.
The elliptical trainer provides a low-impact cardiovascular workout that is an ideal alternative to running or other activities that are tough on the joints. Working on resistance, your glutes, quadriceps, hamstrings and calves are activated as you pedal the footpads forwards or backwards. Though your hamstrings will be strengthened during an average workout on the elliptical, there are steps you can take to increase the benefit to the back of your legs.
Warm up by pedaling at a moderate pace for the first five minutes of your elliptical session, using little or no resistance. Gradually accelerate your pedaling speed as your muscles become warm.
Increase the resistance level to make your hamstrings work harder, which will help them to gain strength. Allow your muscles to acclimate to the greater amount of stress by increasing the resistance one level at a time. Avoid going above your fitness level; the intensity should be seven or eight on a scale of one to 10.
Adjust the incline to have a steeper grade. Pedaling on an incline targets your posterior, especially the glutes and hamstrings. The incline on ellipticals is usually on a scale of one to 10, with one being parallel to the floor. Increase the grade to three or four to start; gradually work your way to 10.
Pedal backwards to strengthen your hamstrings. One of the benefits of the elliptical is the ability to pedal backwards, which is ideal for targeting the rear side of your body. Increase the resistance level slightly if you find that pedaling backward is less strenuous than forward.
Stand upright, with an elongated spine and straight back. Avoid leaning on the handles or console, which will compromise your body alignment. Press through your heel on the pedal to activate the backs of your legs.
Stretch your hamstrings following your elliptical workout with a standing forward bend. Stand with your feet together, bend at the hips and bring your torso toward your thighs. Place your hands on the floor next to your feet or on your shins if you are unable to reach the floor. Hold the stretch for 30 to 60 seconds.
Work out on the elliptical two to three times per week; leave at least one full day between sessions to allow for rest and recovery.
Consult with your physician before starting a new elliptical or cardio workout program.
Discontinue using the elliptical and seek medical attention if you feel any pain in your knees.