If you’re short on time and you want a better butt, you want and need the best hamstrings exercise, and the best hamstrings exercises require sleep. Exercise and sleep go hand-in-hand. That’s the simple truth. The nature of the exercise featured here make sleep far more important for you if you hope to reap the rewards though. In this post, I’m going to break down a recent study by the American Council on Exercise that further verifies this essential truth.
Why Best Hamstrings Exercise?
You may be wondering why I’m not focused on the gluteal muscles – your actual butt muscles. The imbalance between the hamstrings in the back of your thighs and the quadriceps (front of thighs) that is typical for most adults can lead to injury if you ignore it. If your hamstrings are 50-80% weaker than your quadriceps and you go right for the “glutes,” you may end up injured instead of stronger.
Since your body works with a combination of muscles, not isolation of muscles, you really can’t focus on spot toning without paying attention to what else is going to be affected. Using the best hamstring exercises will contribute to a stronger, more muscular butt and reduce injury risk, too.
The ACE study compared nine exercises to the lying hamstring curl machine found at most gyms. The machine is known as one of the best hamstrings exercises. But if you’re not at a gym what do you do? The study aimed to answer that question.
Two at-home exercises were selected as good substitutes for the lying hamstring curl. These two “best hamstrings exercise” winners are:
- Kettle Bell Swing
- Single Leg Dead Lift
Sending a message to the masses instructing them to do kettle bell swings would be erroneous on my part. While they can be beneficial to some, they can be risky to others. If you have poor form on any exercise, best hamstring exercise or otherwise, your benefits evaporate.
Watch this video to learn how to safely complete a single-leg dead lift. Then, perform 10 on each leg with good form. If you can perform 10 at a time, I recommend progressing to 2 sets of 10 once you are strong enough.
[Comment if you’d like to see a how-to on kettle bell swings. I will create one with the who should and who should avoid it.]
Sleep Deprivation Will Sabotage Your Exercise
Balance can make the single-leg deadlift a challenge. If that’s a limiter for you, here’s a little secret: sleep can help. Even mild sleep deprivation can reduce athletic performance. Your balance, coordination, and agility will greatly improve with better sleep. Even one fewer hour of sleep per night can greatly compromise your performance, recovery, reaction time, endurance, and more. In fact, such sleep deprivation can even be the equivalent of being tipsy!
You Would Love to Sleep But Can’t?
It does work both ways. Sleep enhances exercise results, and exercise enhances sleep. Multiple studies show aerobic exercise enhances sleep. One study showed 40 minutes of aerobic activity 3 times a week improved sleep quality by 33%. In addition from exercise a good mattress is the foundation for good sleep.
A little disclosure, I thought I had a good bed. Until I upgraded. I literally feel like every part of my body is supported. Waking up that first morning I was like, “so that’s what I’ve been missing?” When you sleep your best that you do everything awake your best.
Moral of the story? Sleep well, exercise better. You can optimize the best hamstrings exercise and every other exercise in your routine with more sleep.
This post was sponsored by Sleep Number. All thoughts and opinions, as always, are my own.