The best hamstring exercises to strengthen your legs. Deadlifts, modified hip thrusts, hamstring curls and swings – these are the 5 best dumbbell hamstring exercises at home or at the gym. Add these exercises to your next leg day, or complete this 10-Minute Hamstring Workout as a quick burn on its own.
When it comes to the legs, the glutes tend to get most of the focus. But there’s another important (and often overlooked) muscle group that is equally important: the hamstrings.
Enter today’s workout: the five best hamstring exercises at home. Use it as a finisher for your leg day workout or as a quick and efficient leg workout on its own.
Grab your heavy dumbbells – the hamstrings are big, powerful muscles and a great place to try increasing your weights. This is a naturally low impact workout that is ALL strength training, focused on the muscles in the back of the legs.
Your hamstrings are a key part of functional daily movement, assisting with tasks like bending your knees and extending your hips.
The hamstrings and glutes also work together to add explosive power to your workouts. That means training your hamstrings is especially important for runners and HIIT-lovers.
End your leg day with hamstring isolation exercises (like the ones in this workout) to build definition and strength in the back of your legs.
The best hamstring exercises include deadlifts, good mornings, hip thrusts, dumbbell or kettlebell swings, and hamstring curls. These exercises strengthen the hamstring muscles from multiple angles.
The hamstrings’ most basic function is hip extension and knee flexion. The hamstrings are vital for power moves, such as sprints or jumps. Strong hamstrings allow you to accelerate and add explosive power to your movements.
The semitendinosus, semimembranosus, and biceps femoris muscles make up the hamstring muscle group. The hamstring muscles run along the backs of your legs, from the hip to just below the knee.
Build definition in the back of the legs with this quick and effective Hamstring Workout: the BEST hamstring exercises!
A focused hamstring workout designed to strengthen the hamstrings and add power to your daily movements.
Add this hamstring burnout to your home workout plan 1-2 times per week to build and maintain strength in the lower body.
Medium Set of Dumbbells. Option to add an exercise ball for hamstring curls.
I recommend between 5-25 lb dumbbells depending on your fitness level. We used 10, 15 and 20 lb dumbbells in today’s workout. Option to drop weights at any time and do this workout with just your bodyweight.
Follow along with the guided Hamstring Workout on YouTube, led by certified personal trainer, Lindsey Bomgren.
Your Workout Looks Like This:
Note: this quick workout doesn’t include a warm-up or cool down. If this is your first movement of the day, warm up with this 5-minute warm up and cool down with this lower body-focused stretching video.
Targets: the posterior chain muscles, including the erector spinae, gluteus maximus, hamstrings and adductors.
The difference between a Romanian Deadlift (RDL) and Conventional Deadlift has to do with where the weights start. Romanian Deadlifts begin from a standing position and moves through an “eccentric” or downward range of motion. Whereas a standard deadlift begins with the weights on the floor and moves through a “concentric” or upward motion.
Targets: Hamstrings, gluteus maximus and core.
Elevating the rear foot shifts the focus more into the hamstrings. And single leg exercises increase core engagement.
Modification: Perform a staggered deadlift with both feet flat on the floor, feet shoulder width apart. Keep 80% of your weight in your front heel and 20% in your back toe.
Targets: Glutes (both the gluteus maximus and gluteus medius), hamstrings and hip adductors.
Modification: Perform a long staggered glute bridge, laying with your back on the floor and placing the heels of your feet out of reach of your finger tips. Stagger your feet so the right foot is in front of the left, most of your weight in your right heel.
Targets: Glutes (gluteus medius) and hamstrings.
This move replaces the leg curl machine you would find at a conventional gym. You can engage the same muscles by performing a hamstring walk-out as well (following the modifier).
Modification: Perform a hamstring walkout from the floor. Start lying on your back in a glute bridge positon, heels planted, knees bent at 90 degrees, hips lifted off the mat. Slowly “walk” your heels out away from your body, feeling a stretch in the backs of your legs. Then walk them back in, returning to starting position.
Targets: Glutes, hamstrings, hips, core, and all the stabilizing muscles in your back and shoulders.
The kettlebell swing is a popular glutes and hamstrings exercise, but can easily be done with a single dumbbell as well. A dynamic exercise that will build strength and raise your heart rate.
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