You’ve probably heard the ZŪM team talk about the Big Climb or seen posters around the gym. I had never heard of it myself or participated in a cancer fundraiser before, but since my mom was diagnosed with breast cancer in January of 2019, I thought I’d do my part.
The Big Climb is a stair climb up the Columbia Center — the tallest skyscraper in downtown Seattle. There are 69 floors of stairs, 1311 steps, and 788 feet of vertical elevation. Although it will be challenging, it really does pale in comparison to what cancer patients go through. All proceeds benefit The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.
I remember the day I learned about the next series of exercises. I was attending a continuing education course with a guy who was recognized and respected as an authority in sports performance. He said, “Nobody will strain their hamstrings if they master the hamstrings series on a physioball.” I’ve used these exercises with my clients since, but I refer to them as the Hamstrings Progressions on Swiss. The name makes it sound more like a sandwich than an exercise series, but I’ve found them to be potent for building resilient hamstrings.
A great way to start hamstring training, especially if you’re a beginner, is with incline walking. Hopefully your hamstrings are feeling loose and relaxed after the Seated Hamstrings Mobility exercise, and you notice a little more stride length and ease with each step. Your hamstrings and gluteal muscles (aka: butt, glutes, tush, ass, and my favorite, the booty) provide the strength to propel you forward in a long stride, and the power to propel you forward when you sprint.
Anybody who’s dealt with a hamstring strain knows they’re a royal pain in the, well, hamstrings. And probably other places like your hip, knee, or even your lower back as you change the way you move to avoid the discomfort in your strained hamstring, which can put repetitive stress in other places. This injury can be a nuisance that seems to take forever to go away, and can ruin your running program, soccer season, or hiking. It can even make a walk in the park uncomfortable.
The good news is that you can build resilience, strength, and mobility in your hamstrings with a systematic, low risk training approach, which we’re going to cover in this series of videos and blogs. Each video will give you pro tips and adaptations for each exercise so you can start with the appropriate exercise and progress your way to feeling ready to take on what you love to do. You’ll enjoy the power in your stride, the strength to climb your way up a mountain, and the freedom to run and play without worrying about injuring your hamstrings.