What’s up True Northers? We’re back with the latest entry in our What the Fundamentals (aka WTF) series and while we know no exercise is magic, this one is pretty close. We picked this exercise to feature because research has shown the effectiveness of eccentric hamstring work in injury prevention and rehabilitation of hamstring strength. Long story short, anything we can do to give you and your hamstrings a leg up is a win-win.

So, what’s the exercise? The Eccentric Hamstring Slide with Sandbag but don’t worry, we’re not going to start there. We’re going to share a progression we use with our members to prepare their hamstrings to perform this exercise. Sidenote: While the exercises being shared here are part of a progression you could choose to perform one or two of them on their own, so long as they’re appropriately challenging, without progressing to this exercise. Why? To show your “hammies” a little TLC in the form of eccentric work, obvi.

All this talk about hamstrings, it’s time to take care of them, here’s how:

Glute Bridge – Lie on your back, with your legs bent, and heels on the floor. Hold your arms out to your side at about 45° from your body, palms towards the ceiling. Set your core and drive your heels and tops of your shoulder blades into the ground while pushing your hip bones (not your belly button) towards the ceiling. Pause, then lower to the ground in a controlled motion. Aim for 2 to 3 sets of 10 to 20 repetitions.

Glute Bridge Glute Bridge

Coaching Cues: (1) If you’re feeling this exercise in your hamstrings or lower back try adjusting your foot position, moving them closer or further away. Ideally, you want to be feeling this exercise primarily in the glutes. (2) Maintain integrity through your core throughout the entire movement, meaning at the top of the exercise you should be in a straight line from knees, hips, to shoulders.

The next three exercises are where we start introducing eccentric work. Eccentric simply means working the muscle through the long position, a good example of this is the lowering portion of a Dumbbell Bicep Curl, it’s the motion where the muscle is worked while lengthening, in this case, under load. For the hamstrings, the eccentric work will be happening as we straighten the leg. Lastly, a little goes a long way with eccentric work, so aim for 2 to 3 sets of 5 to 8 repetitions with the following three exercises.

Eccentric Bridge Walkout – Lie on your back, with your legs bent, and heels on the floor. Hold your arms out to your side at about 45° from your body, palms towards the ceiling. Set your core and drive your heels and tops of your shoulder blades into the ground while pushing your hip bones (not your belly button) towards the ceiling. Pause at the top of the Glute Bridge, then slowly walk your heels away from you until your butt is back on the floor. Return your feet to the starting position and repeat.

Eccentric Glute Bridge Walkout

Eccentric Glute Bridge Walkout

Eccentric Glute Bridge Walkout

Coaching Cue: Try to keep your hips level as your walk your heels away from you and lower yourself to the floor.

Eccentric Hamstring Slide – Lie on your back with your heels on a slide board (or other sliding implements, such as the Valslides), arms at 45° and palms towards the ceiling. Bring your heels to your glutes, then lift yourself into a Glute Bridge. Slowly let the legs extend, for about 5-10 seconds per repetition, until your butt is back on the floor in the starting position. Repeat as directed.

Eccentric Hamstring Slide

Eccentric Hamstring Slide

Coaching Cues: (1) If you don’t have a slide board or Valslides, a towel on a slippery floor will work just as well. (2) Make sure to lower yourself with control, slower is better during this exercise, try not to let the movement get away from you. If it is, you may need to re-visit the Eccentric Bridge Walkout.

Eccentric Hamstring Slide with Sandbag – Lie on your back with your heels on a slide board (or other sliding implements, such as the Valslides), and place a sandbag across your hips. Bring your heels to your glutes, then lift yourself into a Glute Bridge. Slowly let the legs extend, for about 5-10 seconds per repetition, until your butt is back on the floor in the starting position. Repeat as directed.

Eccentric Hamstring Slide with Sandbag

Eccentric Hamstring Slide with Sandbag

There you have it, how to perform the Eccentric Hamstring Slide with Sandbag. We hope you and your hamstrings enjoy this exercise and if you’d like to see us break it down further you can check out our mini-tutorial on it here.