9 Best Hamstring Exercises to Get Stronger Legs

Hamstring exercises helps to keep the legs and lower body strong. (Photo by Karolina Grabowska via pexels)
Hamstring exercises helps to keep the legs and lower body strong. (Photo by Karolina Grabowska via pexels)

Incorporating hamstring exercises into your lower-body workout is an ideal way to get the most out of your leg day. Working your hamstring will ensure you are keeping your legs strong and training your entire lower body efficiently.

Hamstring is largely the muscle that goes all along the back of your thighs. Keeping this muscle strong is very important, as it assists you in bending your knees and extending your hips.

Hamstrings help in every movement - from walking and running to standing straight and bending forward. So, for all these reasons and to get stronger and strengthened legs, here are a few hamstring workouts you must surely do.


Hamstring exercises to get stronger legs

1) Kettlebell swing

How to perform?

  • Place the kettlebell in front of you, and hold the handles.
  • Keep your shoulder blades down and back.
  • Stand wider than your hip-distance, and keep your toes pointed out.
  • Keep your spine straight and shoulders back while you bend your knees and lower your body through your hips to pick up the kettlebell with both your hands. Do not squat; rather hinge at your hips.
  • As you hold the kettlebell, engage your core; keep your shoulders back, and start the movement by squeezing your hamstrings and glutes to extend your hips fully as you reverse the hip hinge movement.
  • Start to swing the kettlebell in a slow and controlled manner in front of your chest.
  • Make sure to keep your body weight on your heels.
  • Lower the kettlebell, and swing through your legs.
  • Do at least 20 reps.

Check this video for reference:

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2) Sumo squat

How to perform?

  • Stand wider than hip-width distance. Keep your toes at 45-degrees pointing outward and your hips rotated outward too.
  • Keep your arms out in the front at your shoulder height.
  • If you are using any weight, hold onto it carefully at your shoulder height. You may also hold the weight in front of your chest in a goblet position.
  • Engage your core; breathe easily; push your butts back, and lower your body into a squat position.
  • Hold for a second at the bottom movement; exhale, and again press back your body into a standing position.
  • Do at least ten to 15 reps.

Check this video for reference:

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3) Weighted glute bridge

How to perform?

  • Lie down on your back. Make sure to keep your knees bent and both your feet flat on the ground at a hip-width distance.
  • Hold a dumbbell in both hands, and keep them under your hip bones.
  • Squeeze your abs and glutes, and push your body through your heels to lift your hips a few inches above the floor. Continue to lift your body off the floor till it forms a straight line from your knees to your shoulders.
  • Hold for a minute, and lower your hips back to their initial position. That will complete one rep.
  • Do ten to 15 reps.

Check this video for reference:

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4) Lying leg curls

How to perform?

  • Lie stomach-down on a leg curl machine, with the roller pads on the top of your lower calf muscles. Your legs should be completely stretched.
  • Hold the handle on both sides of the machine.
  • While keeping your hips stuck on the bench, you need to lift your feet, bend your knees, and pull your ankles slowly towards your glutes.
  • Pause for a second, and lower your leg to its initial position.
  • Complete 12 to 15 reps.

Check this video for reference:

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5) Reverse plank

How to perform?

  • Place a yoga or exercise mat on the ground. Sit straight with both your legs extended straight in front of you.
  • Put your hands behind you, with your fingers spread and palms down.
  • Make sure each hand is outside your hips and aligned with your shoulders.
  • Press into your hands, and slowly try to lift your upper body and hips towards the ceiling.
  • As you do this, your body should be in a straight line from your heels to your head. Your gaze should be up towards the ceiling.
  • Squeeze your hamstrings, glutes and core, and try to hold the position for a few seconds.
  • Slowly lower your body to its initial position.
  • Do eight to ten reps.

Check this video for reference:

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6) Dumbbell deadlift

How to perform?

  • Stand straight at a hip-width distance. Keep your arms on the front of your quads with a dumbbell in each hand. Your knees should also be slightly bent.
  • Hinge a bit forward at your hips, and slowly bend your knees as you push your hips back.
  • Keep your back absolutely flat and straight, and lower the dumbbells along your shins. Keep your torso parallel to the floor.
  • Keeping your core tight, push through your heels, and stand up straight to return to your initial position.
  • Keep the dumbbells close to your shins as you pull them towards you.
  • Pause at the top movement, and squeeze your butt. That will complete one rep.
  • Do eight to ten reps.

Check this video for reference:

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7) Barbell hip thrust

How to perform?

  • Sit straight on a floor, and keep your back facing a bench.
  • Put your feet on the floor at a hip distance, and bend your knees.
  • Rest your upper back in a straight position on the edge of the bench, and slide or lift the barbell over your legs. Keep the barbell in the crease of your hips.
  • Push through your heels, and lift your hips while keeping your back on the bench.
  • Pause for a second, and contract your glute muscles at the top movement.
  • Lower your hips slowly back towards the floor. That will complete one rep.
  • Do at least 8 reps.

Check this video for reference:

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8) Dumbbell good morning

How to perform?

  • Stand at a hip distance, and hold a dumbbell in a horizontal position at your chest. You may crisscross both your arms to hold the dumbbell more securely.
  • Keep a soft bend in your knees, and bend forward at your hips. Keep your torso forward, and push your butt back. Stop flexing when your torso gets parallel to the floor.
  • Push your hips forward, and lift your torso back up. Take the starting position.
  • Do at least ten reps.

Check this video for reference:

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9) Leg press on the ball

How to perform?

  • Sit straight on a large exercise ball.
  • Place your feet out till your body gets an incline on the ball.
  • Keep your shoulders and head off the ball, and keep your neck stable. Your arms should rest on your sides.
  • Slowly start to bend your knees. Press through your heels; contract your hamstrings, and come back up to the starting position.
  • Do at least 15 reps.

Check this video for reference:

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Bottom line

Try to incorporate any three to four hamstring exercises mentioned above into your workout routine.

Do not attempt these exercises if you have any type of lower body pain or injuries or if you’ve had leg surgery in the past. It's best to consult your doctor first and check if any of these hamstring exercises are safe or not.

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