Neglected muscles , unbalanced bodies ! Part I

If you are asked which are the most neglected muscles of your body what would you reply ? Try listing three of most neglected muscles of your bodies before reading further , you may be surprised at what you find later on .

The three most neglected muscles of our body are 1. The hamstrings 2. The Glutes and 3 . The lower abdominal muscles .

These are the muscles that are neither properly utilised in day to day life nor are they addressed in the regular gym routines that most of us may religiously follow . At the same time , the neglect of these muscles is at the root of many of the modern day health troubles we face .

In our modern lifestyle , these muscles are not called upon to do more or less anything . They wither away and get wasted in isolation . The wasting away of these muscles causes many other health problems at variety of places in the body which we try to correct using variety of medications, routines and subroutines .

Hamstrings are the muscles which are on the rear side of the thighs . The Glutes are the muscles of our butt while the lower abdominal muscles are general muscles of the abdomen . See the figure for further explanation .

One of the banes of modern lifestyle is the office chair . The office chair is designed to support our hamstrings and lower back muscles in particular . It is made in bucket shape so instead of resting on our butt we sit on our hamstrings , butt and our lower back . The front of the seat is elevated so we are really jammed inside the chair . This arrangement provides classic support to the hamstrings . The hamstrings do not have to do anything when we are sitting in a chair and remain in flaccid form . When we get up also they do not have much to do other than balance the body . When we walk , the hamstrings are only partially used . All in all these muscles are hardly used if at all .

When we are walking we are mainly using our calf muscles and the front of thigh muscles . That is we are using the calf muscles and the quadriceps . The hamstrings are only used to lift the leg from knee down . Thus while walking hamstrings are not strained . If you go for long walks your calf muscles get tired first and then the quadriceps get sour . It is never the hamstrings muscles.

When hamstring muscles are not used on regular basis , they lose their flexibility and strength . This happens to any body part which lies unused . When this happens we face plethora of problems without knowing the cause . When the hamstrings lose strength , our posture suffers . We tend to bed forward while walking as the quadriceps begin take most of the load . This load gets transmitted to the knees which tend to wear faster . Also as the front of the knee gets loaded with body weight the rate of wear is enhanced .Instead of our hamstrings and glutes balancing the body , the knees and back muscles begin to balance the body . This leads to variety of knee conditions and bad knees .

As the body load is in forward position our gait becomes forward bending gait . The toe side of the foot gets loaded more and we create fertile ground for pain in the foot joint .

Furthermore as our body bends forward , the lower back muscles come into play to keep the body balanced . Just stand straight and bend a little forward . Feel the muscles of your lower back you will feel the tension there . When hamstrings are weak , this tension stays resulting in chronic back pain .

All these negative effects simply because we are under utilising and neglecting the hamstrings .

What can we do to utilise and strenghten the hamstrings ? Here are some quick remedies .

What do we use hamstrings for ? The hamstrings are used while running , jumping or in the process of sitting down or getting up from the floor and in the process of bending down . In our day to day life we do not do any of these activities . So the hamstrings remain underutilised . If we begin to do any of these activities the hamstrings will get strengthened . When they are strong they will do their natural function , our gait will be upright gait , the body will be balanced by the hamstrings and the pains will disappear .

Three best exercises for hamstrings .

Body Weight Full Squats - Stand straight . Look in front . Keep legs apart at shoulder distance. Simply sit down and get up . Do it as many times as you can . This is by far the best lower body workout which addresses all the muscles of the legs and thighs and improves body balance .

Pulley Leg Curls : Lie on you chest and curl your legs behind you . Repeat lifting your legs to your waist and down again . Increase the weight on pulley as required .

Forward bending - Stand with legs together . Try to bend and reach the floor or try to hold onto the big toes without bending your knees . If you find this to be too difficult or you feel that you cannot balance your body spread the legs a little and try the same experiment . Stand up straight and repeat.

Try sitting cross legged as much as possible whenever and where ever you can.

Try this experiment . For one week train the hamstrings thoroughly . Do not over strain them but concentrate on using them to the fullest extent. At the end of the week walk up some 100 stairs . It will be a breeze . When you climb stairs , the hamstrings hardly come into play . The ease has come from the improved and balanced posture which you will attain when you train your hamstrings right.

In Part II we will closely look at Glutes and in Part III we will take up the abdominal muscles .

Author's Bio: 

uthor's Bio:

Anand K. Ghurye is a Mumbai based Holistic Management Consultant and Growth and Development trainer. Simplifying work , enriching life and energising relationships are his major focus areas . He hosts group programs and also takes part in individual counselling .

He actively promotes application of Ancient Wisdom and Synectics to day to day life .He can be reached at anand.ghurye@gmail.com