6 Hamstring Exercises You Should Add To Your Workout Routine

6 Hamstring Exercises You Should Add To Your Workout Routine

Warning: If all you do on leg day is hammer away at your quadriceps with endless squats, it’s time to reconsider that approach — and include hamstring exercises on the regular.

If not, you’re literally front-loading your strength, which can have total-body consequences.

“Most people already have an imbalance of quad-to-hamstring strength, with the latter being weaker,” explains Cody Braun, CPT — Assistant Manager, Fitness at Openfit. “As squats become more and more popular, and hamstring-concentrated exercises fall by the wayside, we see that strength discrepancy growing even more pronounced.”

Such an imbalance is problematic. Your hamstrings (a group of three muscles on the back of your thighs) are primarily responsible for knee flexion and hip extension.

When your hamstrings are weak — or weaker than your quads — your risk of injury increases and your physical performance decreases.

Plus, ignoring your hamstring muscles won’t do your butt any favors!

“Well-developed hamstrings (as well as glutes) will give you an aesthetically pleasing butt crease, also known as the ‘glute ham tie-in,'” says Braun.

So, keep your squats, but balance leg day with the moves listed below. These are six of the best hamstring exercises for building strength, muscle mass, and more balanced legs.

Add a couple of these to your workouts two to three times a week. (You’ll need dumbbells for some of these hamstring exercises.)

For more exercises to add into your workout routine sign up for Openfit for free today! 

 

1. Romanian deadlift

hamstring exercises- romanian deadlift

  • Stand tall with your knees slightly bent holding a pair of dumbbells in front of your thighs, palms facing back.
  • Keeping your back flat, core engaged, and the dumbbells within an inch or two of your body, push your hips back and lower the dumbbells until your torso is nearly parallel to the floor. (Technique tip: Imagine you’re closing a door with your butt— that’s the quintessential “hip hinge” movement.)
  • Pause, and then reverse the movement to return to the starting position.

 

2. Glute bridge with calf raise

hamstrings exercises - glute bridge w calf raise

  • Lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor holding a pair of dumbbells on your hips.
  • Squeeze your glutes, lift onto the balls of your feet, and thrust your hips upward until your body forms a straight line from shoulders to knees.
  • Pause, and then reverse the movement to return to the starting position.

 

3. Dumbbell skier swing

  • Stand with your feet hip-width apart and your knees slightly bent, holding a pair of dumbbells at arm’s length by your sides, palms in.
  • Keeping your back flat and core engaged, push your hips back and swing the dumbbells in the same direction, hinging forward slightly at your waist.
  • Quickly reverse the movement, thrusting your hips forward and squeezing your glutes as you raise your torso and swing the dumbbells up to chest level.
  • That’s one rep. Continue swinging in a fluid, continuous motion without pausing.

 

4. Good morning

hamstring exercises- Good Morning

  • Stand tall with your feet hip-width apart and place your fingertips behind your ears.
  • Keeping your back flat and core engaged, push your hips back and lower your torso until it is nearly parallel to the floor.
  • Pause, and return to the starting position.

 

5. Dumbbell deadlift

hamstring exercises- dumbbell deadlift man

  • Stand with your feet hip-width apart. Hold a pair of heavy dumbbells in front of your thighs, palms facing you.
  • While keeping your back flat, your shoulders back, and your core engaged, push your hips back and simultaneously hinge forward at your waist while bending your knees. (Imagine you’re closing a car door using your butt.)
  • Lower your torso until it’s almost parallel to the floor and/or you feel a deep stretch in your hamstrings. Keep the dumbbells within an inch or two of your legs throughout the move.
  • Pause, and then slowly reverse the movement to return to your starting (standing) position.

 

6. Dumbbell swing

hamstrings exercise- dumbbell swing

  • Stand tall with your feet shoulder-width apart. Hold a dumbbell in front of you at arm’s length in your left hand.
  • Keeping your back flat, arm straight, and core braced, push your hips back, bend your knees slightly, and “hike” the dumbbell between your legs.
  • Reverse the movement by swinging the dumbbell up to shoulder level as you thrust your hips forward.
  • As the dumbbell comes back down, guide it between your legs to start the next rep.
  • Complete your set, then repeat on the other side for an equal number of reps.
Jenessa Connor

About

Jenessa Connor has written for Men’s Journal, Shape, Runner’s World, Oxygen and other health and fitness publications. When it comes to exercise, she’s a bit of a dabbler, but she always comes back to running, CrossFit and yoga. Follow her on Twitter.

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