Hamstring Muscle Cramps (WEAK GLUTES!)

Hamstring Muscle Cramps (WEAK GLUTES!)


Chris: Hey, Jeff. This is Chris from Arkansas.
I’m 34 and I’ve been a member of Athlean-X for the last 8 to 10 months. My “Ask Jeff” question is: When I try to do
things like barbell hip thrusts I get Charlie horse cramps in my hamstrings. Keep in mind, I do an 8 to 12 minute dynamic
warmup prior to working out, as well as a static stretch routine nightly. Thanks for all your information and keep up
the great work. Jeff: Hey, Chris! Thanks for your question.
It’s actually a really, really good question because cramping most often is not the result
of what we think it might be. You see, a lot of people think that cramping
comes from either being dehydrated, or low in sodium, or low in potassium. While those things might occur they really
only occur at such severe levels of depletion that you’re probably going to have other things
to worry about hand getting to the gym and doing your workout. You see, when you cramp – especially during
a barbell hip thrust – most often the result of that, or what’s causing that, is a weakness
in another muscle group trying to do the job of the muscle group that’s too weak in the
first place. Think about a barbell hip thrust. You should
be getting the strength from your gluts to drive you into hip extension; it’s a hip extension
machine. Your knees are bent so you think that you’ve
got to push up to your hamstrings, but they hamstrings are probably trying to do the job
of the weak gluts and in doing so, they’re not equipped to do it. It’s like asking for help when the help’s
not really there. The ill-equipped help, or muscles here – hamstrings for hip extension
– are not going to do a really good job doing it. So they’re going to work and do their best,
but become quickly seized up and cramped because they’re being overtaxed and overloaded. In
this case you’re looking at a case, probably, of weak gluts. What you have to do is really start to switch
your mindset when you do your glut barbell thrust, or your glut exercises. Really focus
on trying to initiated the movement with the gluts. Squeeze as hard as you possibly can. Squeeze like you’ve got your last dime between
your cheeks. It might work. Something, whatever you can think about to try to drive that movement
from the gluts first, and then allow the hamstrings to help. The same thing happens even when
you’re just doing a squat. You’d be amazed at how much your hamstrings
actually help you with knee extension, not curling your knee up. That’s why I don’t
really like hamstring curl machines because they’re not very functional. See, in function
your hamstrings will actually work to extend your knee. Watch as I demonstrate here with the skeleton.
See, as I take a step, we know that the hamstring wants to bend my knee back. Remember, the
descent into a squat or even as we walk, as our knee bends; that’s not active hamstring
flexion. That’s happening because we’re giving into
gravity. We’re allowing the knee to bend as I take that step. What happens though is,
in order to straighten ourselves out, if I didn’t have to worry about it I could pull
my leg back openly here. You can see that the bone would move, the
knee would flex and that’s what the hamstring would do. That’s what we think, that’s why
we do hamstring curl machines. If I don’t allow my foot to come off the ground – which
is what’s happening when we really walk, or run, or squat – then that force is getting
blocked. Here, when I put my hand behind it what happens?
If I keep moving my body forward like I’m walking what happens? It actually straightens
the knee out. You can do this yourself. Again, try to pull back on your hamstring, but don’t
allow your foot to leave the ground. You’ll see that you’ll be able to straighten your
knee. So, the role of the hamstring is probably
misunderstood and that’s what leads to so many different hamstring injuries. It’s really
driven by the fact that the glut initiates the movement even in the bottom of the squat
and even with every step we take. Let the glut become the power house and let the hamstring
then kick in to help. You’re going to get a lot less cramping an
again, maybe you want to address your hydration needs too. I don’t think that’s the issue.
I think weakness in the primary muscle is asking for help from other muscles that are
ill-equipped to help out in the first place. That’s how we get a lot of cramps. Hope you guys found this helpful. If you have,
make sure you leave your comments and thumbs up. If you want your question answered here
on my next “Ask Jeff” segment, send your questions right here to [email protected]
and I’ll do my best to include yours there. If you’re looking for a complete training
program to start putting the science back in strength and training you like an athlete,
then head to AthleanX.com right now and grab one of our Athlean-X training systems. Guys, I’ll see you back here again in just
a couple days.

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