Exercising per day can always give you a very energetic and active day, and especially when you do it in the morning then make it a note that it will be a great kick start to knock your day off. But most of us while exercising forgets about our hamstrings, but remember hamstring exercises are quite important to keep a stronger, healthy and powerful leg.
9 Hamstring Exercises For Strong Legs
And also most of us know only some of those hamstring exercises such as cycling, hiking, running, etc. but no one knows simple at-home exercises that can help your hamstrings a lot.
If you wish for a toned-up thigh and hamstrings then consider sumo squat as one of your first choices. This move is obviously similar to the traditional squat but will be more keenly focused on your thigh and hamstrings. This move can be performed with or without weight. The below-given instructions are the steps to do this exercise:
Step 1: Stand with your feet somewhat wider than your hip and your feet at 45- degree outward mode. Your hips have to be rotated outwards.
Step 2: Keep your arms at shoulder height in front of you, and if you prefer to choose a weight that can mostly be a dumbbell then kindly secure it in your shoulder length or like a goblet position in front of your chest.
Step 3: Now, engage your core, take a deep breath and push your hips back into a squat position.
Step 4: Exhale when you reach the bottom and come back into a standing position. Don’t forget to keep the weight evenly distributed in the heel and the midfoot.
Step 5: 12 – 15 reps per day will be quite enough.
Tip: This move can be made easy or hard by making the distance of your down squat shorter or by squatting lower.
2. Kettle Bell Swing
Swinging is considered one of the best exercises for cardio endurance, burning calories, and helps to engage multiple muscle groups. Especially if you want your lower body to get focused then it is always better to do kettlebell swing which helps greatly to tone up hamstrings.
This is exercise is specifically build up to engage the back half of your body which includes glutes and hamstrings. Given below are the step by step instructions to perform this move:
Step 1: Keep the kettlebell slightly in front of you and hold on to the handles. Keep your shoulders back and down firmly.
Step 2: Keep your toes angled out slightly and with feet slightly wider than your hip.
Step 3: Keep your spine perfectly straight with your shoulders firmly positioned backward, bend your knees a bit, pull your hip back and bring your torso forward when you pick the kettlebell with both your hands. This cannot be considered as squat, but as a hip hinge hence avoid bending the knees.
Step 4: Hold the kettlebell, roll your shoulders backward, engage your core completely and start the process by genuinely squeezing the glutes and hamstrings.
Step 5: Keep your body weight completely towards your heel and swing the kettlebell up in front of your chest.
Step 6: Now lower the kettlebell and swing through your legs. Repeat this process for 10-20 reps or for a specified time.
Note: Remember not to mix this with squat and to continue with hip hinges as hinges can make your hamstrings and glutes perfect.
3. Single Leg Dead Lift
Choose a kettlebell or a dumbbell for this process as these both can make your hamstrings engaged and can give you the best result. This process mainly isolates the hamstring muscles of the standing leg. Given below are the step by step instructions of this process:
Step 1: Stand on your right leg and bend your knees a bit, now hold a dumbbell or a kettlebell in your right hand. The left foot should be off the floor.
Step 2: Now tip up your body forward by hinging the hips and move the weight completely towards the ground, keep your chest stern and up. Your left leg should go straight back behind you. Move as far as you can until you feel the pull in your right hamstrings.
Step 3: Stand up straight and firm by squeezing your glutes and return to the starting position.
Step 4: Complete all the reps at a go before changing the leg.
Step 5: Do around 8-10 reps on each leg.
Note: If you are a beginner in this exercise, try without a dumbbell or kettlebell, as this exercise needs time to make the perfect out of it. If you gain doubt make sure you clear it on time by asking your physical trainer or therapist.
4. Basic Bridge
This exercise isolates and strengthens the hamstring and glute muscles at the same time. If you are a beginner then this exercise is perfectly apt for you. The given below are the step-by-step instructions to do basic bridge exercises.
Step 1: Get ready by placing an exercise mat. Lie on your back and keep your knees bent and feet flat on the floor about a foot away from your butt. Rest your arms on each side.
Step 2: Now contract your glutes and abdominal muscles, push your heels to the floor, and lift your hips off the floor until you feel that your body is in a straight line from the shoulder part to the knees. Don’t forget to squeeze your hamstrings.
Step 3: Pause in this pose for around 20 seconds and feel your hamstrings stretched.
Step 4: Now lower back to the old position and repeat. 10 repetitions per day will be far more than enough.
Note: Please avoid the bridge if feel pain while being on the floor or if it is forbidden due to any medical condition.
5. Single Leg Bridge
This particular exercise is a variation of the basic bridge we learned before. This helps to isolate the hamstrings and gluteus muscles. Given below are the step by step instructions to do this exercise:
Step 1: Don’t forget to place an exercise mat on the floor before you start this exercise. Now lie on your back with flat feet and knees bend enough distanced about a foot away from your butt. Rest your arms at your sides.
Step 2: Contract your glutes and abdominal muscles, push your heels enough into the floor, and now lift your body off the floor until your body is in a straight line from the point of your shoulders to the knees. Here don’t forget to focus on squeezing the hamstrings.
Step 3: Now raise your right leg and extend it while maintaining your pelvis raised and leveled, don’t take your right foot it has to be stayed planted on the floor.
Step 4: Now pause in this position for a few seconds before you go to your starting position.
Step 5: Lower to your starting position and complete a round of reps in a single leg before you change to the right leg.
Step 6: Do at least 10 reps on each leg.
Note: If you want to make this a cute little challenge try holding the position for around 10-20 seconds.
6. Lying Leg Curl
This significantly targets isolating the hamstrings. This exercise mostly needs a leg curl machine. Some gyms may have access to these or supine machines or even standing leg curl machines.
Step 1: The roller pad should rest above the heels hence adjust it accordingly.
Step 2: Now lie on your stomach and set the roller pad resting on top of your lower calves. Stretch your legs completely. Now keep hold of the handles on either side of the machine.
Step 3: Set your hips on the bench and lift your feet. Flex your knees and pull your ankles towards your glutes.
Step 4: Pause for a few seconds to feel the stretch, now get back to the starting position. Do this 10-15 reps.
Note: Now opt for lightweight to maintain strict form.
7. Leg Press On The Ball
This exercise mainly focuses on the lower body and helps to improve core strength and stability. And it is preferable to do this move on a non carpeted floor.
Step 1: Take a large exercise ball and sit on it.
Step 2: Walk out your feet until your body is at an incline on the ball. Your head and shoulders should be off the floor. Don’t stress on your neck and keep it natural also avoid looking up or down. Rest your arms at your sides.
Step 3: Now bend your knees into the squat position and press through the heels to come back to the initial stage. Don’t forget to contract the hamstrings.
Step 4: Do around 10 to 15 repetitions.
Note: Here, don’t forget to keep your weight in your heels rather than your toes.
8. The Reverse Plank
This exercise is great for the cores, glutes, hamstrings, and upper body.
Step 1: Don’t forget to place an exercise mat. Now sit down with your legs extended directly in front of you.
Step 2: Put hands behind you, fingers spread wide and palms down. Both the hands should be in the line of your shoulder.
Step 3: Now lift your upper body toward the ceiling. Your body should be in a straight line from head to heels. Look directly towards the ceiling.
Step 4: Engage your core, glutes, and hamstrings. Hold this position for around 15 seconds.
Step 5: Lower to the initial position. Do around 5 to 10 reps.
Note: Add a toe tap so that you can easily increase the tension on your hamstrings.
9. Traditional Squats
The squat is known to be one of the best exercises for your overall leg development. This squat can be done with or without weight.
Step 1: Keep the feet a little wider and stand straight in this position. You can do this with or without weight.
Step 2: Now engage your core and bend your legs into a squat position until thighs are parallel to the floor. And don’t forget to raise your arms in front as you squat down.
Step 3: Look straight ahead. Hold the position for a few seconds, then exhale and push the heels and return to the initial stage.
Step 4: Do 12 to 15 repetitions.
Note: Here you can use any form of the kettlebell, dumbbell to the barbell.
Now don’t wait anymore to make your legs toned up and strong, try these exercises today and feel the burn in your muscles.