T Nation

Cramp in Hamstring During Bench


While benching this morning I got a terrible cramp in my hamstring. This has happened to me before on a couple occasions. Has anyone had it happen to them? Does anyone know why it happens?

My initial feeling was my legs were positioned incorrectly (my heels are set to far behind my knees) and I am not using leg drive properly. I am beginner though so I appreciate any feedback.


If you're bodybuilding, not powerlifting, (and I know some will most certainly disagree with what I'm about to say -lol), you want your chest to do the work, not leg drive. If you're pushing so damn hard with your legs that you get cramps. trying lifting with your feet on the bench for a while until you learn to contract your pecs to get the weight up.



Thanks, Stu.


That's dangerous ground you're treading Stu! Lol


Stay hydrated. You might get dehydrated while you're sleeping so drink up - & stupid as it sound but stretch your legs before a bench occasionally - I can't recall which author mentioned it on T-Nation years ago but if you stretch the quads there is a rebound effect that contributes to your bench (not much, I'm sure & most likely a placebo effect but hey, if it helps)

In any case hope you are warming up & drinking water before/during/after your workouts.


Well if you're moving some serious weight on the bench, you're going to need some leg drive and stabilization no matter what, but agree on making sure your pecs are the prime movers and not your delts.

I get cramps in my right hamstring all the time when I'm moving heaviest weight on the HS Isolateral Row for reps, even though my chest is well braced and body still. you can;t prevent these muscles from contracting to stabilize you when you're moving very heavy weights.

Personally, I feel benching heavy with your feet up on the bench is dangerous because it doesn;t let you stablize your scapulae before you lift.

Staying hydrated and getting enough potassium helped my cramps.


? to the OP - is this the first time this happened?

Man that must have sucked - did you dump the lift or rack it in time? Weird that a muscle group so far away from the one being works acts up & seizes like that... Hamstring cramps suck in general.


The first time in a while jaybvee. I did rack in time. In thinking back to when it hit me, it was about about half-way in my push. If it was right off the chest, may have been a different, maybe more entertaining story, hehe.

My thoughts exactly, what does my hamstring have to do with getting a barbell off my chest! What I do now is it is always my right one that this happens to. It did hurt like a SOB.

As far as hydration goes, makes sense. I use surgeworkout fuel 30 min serving protocol plus plenty of fluids before, during, and after.

I am lifting heavy weight...for me. I think I will try brush aside my ego for now, and use lighter weights with my feet up to make sure my pecs are firing right (per Stu) and once I know they are, go back feet on the ground in heavy sets like you and tribunal mentioned.


I don't see it as a matter of your pecs firing, I see it like Tribunal does. Your body has to work to stabilize itself, your hamstrings will flex regardless if your pecs are doing the majority of the work or your delts are.

Try stretching your hams before your heavy bench sets


When I first started lifting I actually strained a hamstring while benching. When you're pushing on something as hard as you can and you feel like you're about to be crushed (it was probably only 150 pounds, lol) your entire body can tense up.

I don't have any solutions other than staying hydrated, though.


Thanks for weighing-in Waylander. I will def stretch the legs before any heavy sets.

After looking around it seems like a little sea salt in my Surge will also help with hydration issues.

Appreciate everyones' input. Lanky, it was 50 lbs. I was going heavy, the bar with TWO clips on EACH side, hehehe.


If you have hamstring cramps while benching, it usually means you're doing it right.