Hamstrings play a key role in supporting your knee joint. They also play a proactive role is hip and torso positioning. Hamstring exercises need to be incorporated in your lower body workouts because it is a must.
From an athletic perspective or a fitness perspective, strong hamstrings equals better functionality.
Hamstrings are used during hip extensions. That means every time you stand up straight, your hamstrings are being used.
When you bend your knees, your hamstrings help. This is why hamstrings are so important. They are used in basic body functions.
Besides, how many times have you seen your favorite athlete walking off the playing field because of a hamstring injury?
We rounded up 6 hamstring exercises that work the hamstrings to build strong and injury-proof hamstrings. Also, you are working out major muscle groups in your legs with these hamstring exercises.
This list of hamstring exercises starts off with a bodyweight movement but gradually moves on to more difficult moves. These hamstring exercises are bound to get your legs burning.
6 Hamstring Exercises
Glute Bridge • Dumbbell Sumo Squat • Kettlebell Swing • Romanian Deadlift • Glute-Ham Raise • Lying Leg Curls
More Isolated Workouts:
Workout your obliques
Build strong forearms
The complete trap workout
Let’s start this list of hamstring exercises with a bodyweight movement. Don’t go by the name, a proper glute bridge will have your hamstrings and glutes burning.
They are also good for hip mobility and lower back strength. They are quite simple to do, a perfect start to our hamstring exercises.
How to do glute bridges:
- Start by lying down on your back with your knees bent and palms face up
- Now, lift your hips off the ground until your knees, hips and shoulders form a downward straight line
- Hold for a second and then lower down
Dumbbell Sumo Squat
The final hamstring exercise to power up your legs. The dumbbell sumo squat works on your glutes, hamstrings, quads and core.
It also boosts your mobility and flexibility by working your hips and adductors. The goal is to go for higher reps, so start off with an easier weight.
How to do dumbbell sumo squats:
- Stand a bit wider than shoulder-width with toes turned out
- Hold the dumbbell from one end with both hands
- Now, bend your knees and squat down
- Finally, push with your heels and return to resting position
The kettlebell swing is nothing short of power. It has so many benefits like enhancing strength and endurance. It also works your hamstrings to a good degree.
This is an all-round exercise that should be incorporated in any workout routine.
How to do kettlebell swing:
- Stand shoulder-width apart with a kettlebell in front of you
- Grab the kettlebell and bend your hips slightly
- There should be enough distance for the kettlebell to swing easily
- Make sure you keep your back straight throughout the movement
- Now, push your hips forward and your arms straight out
- Swing the kettlebell all the way up to eye level
- Let the kettlebell fall naturally and swing down
- Repeat for another repetition
This is an all-round hamstring exercise that works your posterior chain of muscles. This chain includes hamstrings, adductors, gluteus maximus and erector spinae.
The Romanian deadlift uses your hips rather than your lower back. It also helps to improve your endurance of deep core stabilizers that control the position of the spine. The key difference of this variation is the stance.
How to do Romanian deadlifts:
- Start by standing shoulder width apart
- With an overhand grip, hold the barbell
- Now, stand up and slightly bend your knees
- Next, push your hips back
- Lower the barbell until you feel the pressure in your hamstrings
- Finally, return to the resting position
The hamstring exercises continue with another movement that works out the posterior chain of muscles. However, this hamstring exercise hits your hamstrings the hardest.
This movement has you bending your knees and extending your hips. Both of these actions use hamstrings. Glute-ham raises work your hamstrings in a way that is functionally similar to running.
How to do glute-ham raises:
- Adjust the foot plate on a glute-ham bench
- Your knees should hang below the pad
- Now, transition from this kneeling position by extending your knees
- Your torso should become parallel to the floor
- Next, push your heels into the footplate and bend your knees
- Return to the vertical position for one repetition
Lying Leg Curls
Lying leg curls work on your hamstrings, calf muscles, glutes, quads, and shins. You need a gym bench that has a lifting bar at the end of the machine to do lying leg curls.
This list of hamstring exercises is to primarily work your hamstrings. Lying leg curls help to increase strength and flexibility in your hamstrings.
How to do lying leg curls:
- Lie flat on your stomach on a leg curl machine
- The lifting bar should rest above your heels below your calves
- Now, grab the support handles and lift your feet
- Flex your knees and bring back your feet as much as you can
- Pause for a second and then lower your legs
Majority of these exercises that you have read about are common in different workout routines. Whether you are working your calves or quads; you’ll also be working glutes and hamstrings too.
You can either turn these 6 hamstring exercises into a routine by assigning the right amount of reps and sets to each exercise or just incorporate them into your lower body workouts.