30 Best Hamstrings Exercises for Stronger Legs

Hey there, fitness enthusiasts! We know how much you love working those biceps, back, and chest muscles, but let’s not forget about our trusty hamstrings. These often-overlooked muscles play a pivotal role in our overall strength and injury prevention. So, get ready to give your legs the attention they deserve with these incredible hamstring exercises that are bound to bring some fun to your leg day routine!

And if you’re looking to take your leg day exercises to the next level, consider incorporating a Leg Exerciser Pro into your routine. This advanced equipment can provide targeted resistance and assistance to help you achieve your leg day goals more effectively.

Why Hamstrings Matter

Before we dive into the exercises, let’s talk about why hamstrings are so crucial, especially when considering legs exercises for women. Imagine them as the body’s natural shock absorbers. Not only do they help you move your legs, but they also play a vital role in stabilizing your knees, hips, and lower back. Keeping your hamstrings in top shape is not just about aesthetics – it’s about building a foundation of strength and preventing injuries that can set you back.

Now, when it comes to targeting your hamstrings effectively, consider incorporating the best band exercises into your routine. Resistance bands can add a new dimension to your workouts, helping you achieve stronger and more sculpted hamstrings while providing versatility in your leg exercises.

1. Glute Bridge – Elevate Your Game

The glute bridge is a classic move that fires up those hamstrings while giving your glutes a solid workout. To perform this exercise, lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the ground. It’s also an excellent option for individuals looking for leg exercises for bad knees. As you push through your feet, lift your hips towards the ceiling. At the top of the movement, make sure to give your glutes a good squeeze for a count of 2. Then, lower your hips back down and repeat. Your lower body will thank you for this simple yet effective exercise, which is among the best glutes exercises while being gentle on the knees.

Glute Bridge – Elevate Your Game

How to do it:

  • Lie on your back with knees bent and feet flat.
  • Push through your feet to lift your hips, engaging your glutes.
  • Squeeze at the top for a 2-second count before lowering and repeating.

2. Single-leg Glute Bridge – One Leg at a Time

Take the glute bridge up a notch with the single-leg variation. Lie down with your back, palms, and feet flat on the floor, knees bent. Lift one leg off the floor, bending the knee and flexing your toes towards your head. Now comes the challenge – press through the foot that’s on the ground, lifting your hips evenly towards the ceiling. Keep your back straight and engage those glutes at the top to avoid arching your lower back. It’s all about balance and strength in this one!

Single-Leg Glute Bridge

How to do it:

  • Lie on your back with knees bent and feet flat.
  • Lift one leg off the floor, bending the knee and flexing toes toward your head.
  • Press your working leg’s foot into the ground, raising your hips evenly towards the ceiling.
  • Keep your back straight and engage glutes at the top to prevent lower back sagging.

3. Bench Hip Thrust – Sit, Lift, Thrive

Get ready to give those glutes and hamstrings a run for their money with the bench hip thrust. Prop your upper back and shoulders on a bench, arms hugging your chest. Place your feet flat on the floor, hips sitting low. Now, the magic happens – push through your feet to lift those hips towards the ceiling. Don’t forget to give your glutes a good squeeze at the top before lowering down with control and then repeating. Your bench just became your new best friend in the gym!

Bench Hip Thrust

How to do it:

  • Prop upper back and shoulders on a bench, arms hugging across your chest.
  • Place feet flat on the floor, sitting hips low.
  • Drive both feet into the ground, lifting hips and squeezing glutes at the top.
  • Lower and repeat; you can add weight for a greater challenge.

4. Single-leg Bench Hip Thrust – Unilateral Power

Unilateral exercises like the single-leg bench hip thrust help build strength and balance. Start by getting set up on a bench with your upper back and shoulders supported. Place your feet flat on the floor, then lift one leg, bending the knee and flexing your toes. Now, it’s time to shine – drive through the foot that’s grounded, lifting those hips and giving your glutes a mighty flex. Lower back down and repeat on one side before switching to the other. Your glutes will thank you for the attention!

Single-Leg Bench Hip Thrust

How to do it:

  • Prop upper back and shoulders on a bench, arms hugging across your chest.
  • Place feet flat on the floor, sitting hips low.
  • Lift one leg, bending knee and flexing toes toward your head.
  • Drive anchor foot into the ground, lifting hips and squeezing glutes at the top.
  • Lower and repeat all reps on one side, then switch; you can add weight for a greater challenge.

5. Swiss Ball Hamstring Curl – Roll to Glory

Time to introduce the Swiss ball into the mix! The Swiss ball hamstring curl is a game-changer for targeting those hamstrings. Position a Swiss ball in front of your feet and lie down on your back with your palms on the floor. Place your heels on top of the ball, then lift your hips off the floor. As you do the exercise, keep your back straight and your abs engaged. Roll the ball towards your glutes by digging your heels into it. Then, reverse the motion and press the Swiss ball away from your glutes to return to the start position. Roll your way to stronger hamstrings!

Swiss Ball Hamstring Curl

How to do it:

  • Position a Swiss ball in front of your feet.
  • Lie down with back and palms flat on the floor, hips and glutes off the floor.
  • Place heels on top of the ball, pressing hips and glutes off the floor.
  • Keep back straight and abs engaged.
  • Curl ball toward glutes by digging heels into it; reverse and press ball away.

6. Single-leg Swiss Ball Hamstring Curl – Balance and Burn

Taking things up a notch with balance – the single-leg Swiss ball hamstring curl. Set up the Swiss ball in front of your feet and lie down on your back, palms flat on the floor. Lift one leg straight in the air (or bent with toes flexed towards your head). Press your hips and glutes off the floor, engaging your back and abs. Dig your working heel into the ball as you curl it towards your glutes. Reverse the motion, and press the Swiss ball away from your glutes to return to the start position. It’s a balancing act that’ll leave your hamstrings burning!

Single-Leg Swiss Ball Hamstring Curl

How to do it:

  • Position a Swiss ball in front of your feet.
  • Lie down with back and palms flat on the floor, hips and glutes off the floor.
  • Lift one leg straight in the air (or bent with toes flexed toward your head).
  • Press hips and glutes off the floor.
  • Keep back straight and abs engaged.
  • Curl ball toward glutes by digging working heel into it; reverse and press ball away.

7. Cable or Band Pull-through – Feel the Resistance

The cable or band pull-through adds some resistance to your hamstring workout. Set up a resistance band or cable pulley at ankle height. Stand with your back to the column and straddle the cable or band. Grab the end and walk away until you feel that resistance. As you engage your core, hinge at your hips, and let the cable pull your hips back. Take a pause at the bottom and squeeze those glutes before driving yourself back up. The resistance adds a whole new dimension to your hamstring training!

Cable Or Band Pull-Through

How to do it:

  • Set up a resistance band or cable pulley at ankle height.
  • Straddle the cable/band between your legs, facing away from the column.
  • Grab the end and walk away until you feel resistance.
  • Keeping arms straight and core engaged, bend over at the hips.
  • Allow pulley system to drive the rope and your hips back toward the column.
  • Squeeze glutes at the bottom, hinge, then drive back to the top position.

8. Kettlebell Deadlift – Swing and Lift

The kettlebell deadlift is a powerful move that engages your hamstrings while testing your overall strength. Place a heavy kettlebell between your feet and get those legs hip-width apart, toes facing forward. Grab the kettlebell’s handle and hinge at your hips, pushing them back. As you stand up tall, make sure to give your glutes a firm squeeze at the top. Lower the kettlebell down to your shins and repeat for that kettlebell swing effect. It’s a dynamic way to show your hamstrings some love!

Kettlebell Deadlift

How to do it:

  • Place a heavy kettlebell between your feet.
  • Position legs hip-width apart with toes facing forward.
  • Drive hips back into a hip hinge, keeping core engaged.
  • Grab each side of kettlebell’s handle.
  • Stand up tall, squeezing glutes at the top.
  • Slowly lower kettlebell to shins, then repeat.

9. Dumbbell Romanian Deadlift – Hinge and Lift

The dumbbell Romanian deadlift is all about the hinge and lift motion. Stand tall with a dumbbell in each hand, palms facing you. Engage your core and hinge at your hips, lowering the dumbbells towards the middle of your shins. Rise back up, engaging those glutes for an extra boost. When comparing deadlifts vs. squats exercises, the controlled movement and focus on your hamstrings in the Romanian deadlift make this exercise a must-try for a well-rounded leg day!

Dumbbell Romanian Deadlift

How to do it:

  • Stand tall with one dumbbell in each hand, palms facing you.
  • Engage abs and hinge hips back, lowering dumbbells toward middle of your shins.
  • Stand back up, squeezing glutes at the top.

10. Barbell Romanian Deadlift – Lift with Strength

Time to step up the game with the barbell Romanian deadlift. Grip a barbell at shoulder-width and engage your core. As you lift the bar, hinge at your hips while maintaining that strong lower back. Slowly lower the barbell towards the middle of your shins and then stand tall to return to the start position. This exercise is all about lifting with strength and precision to engage those hamstrings effectively.

Barbell Romanian Deadlift

How to do it:

  • Grip a barbell at shoulder-width.
  • Engage abs to brace lower back as you lift the bar.
  • While standing, hinge hips back.
  • Slowly lower barbell toward middle of your shins.
  • Stand tall to return to start.

11. Hamstring Curl with Sliders – Slide to Success

Looking for a challenging hamstring exercise? The hamstring curl with sliders is here to slide you towards success! Lie on the ground with your knees bent, palms flat. Place your heels on sliders and lift your hips off the ground. Maintain this hip-raised position throughout the exercise. Curl your heels towards your glutes, then spend three seconds pressing them away from your body to return to the start position. The sliders add an extra layer of difficulty that your hamstrings will appreciate!

Hamstring Curl with Sliders

How to do it:

  • Lie on ground with knees bent, back and palms flat.
  • Set feet on sliders and raise hips off ground.
  • Maintain this position throughout exercise.
  • Curl heels toward glutes, then press heels away from body to start.

12. Nordic Hamstring Curl – Bow to the Challenge

If you’re up for a challenge, the Nordic hamstring curl will test your strength and control. Start by positioning both knees roughly hip-width apart and placing them on

 a mat. Drive your toes into the ground to secure your feet. Lower yourself down in a slow and controlled manner, engaging your hamstrings. To rise back up, press your hands into the ground and activate those hamstrings once again. It’s a bow to the challenge that will leave your hamstrings feeling the burn!

Nordic Hamstring Curl

How to do it:

  • Position both knees hip-width apart and place them on a mat or pad.
  • Drive toes into ground, heels secure.
  • Keep core engaged and maintain tall position from knees through shoulders.
  • Slowly lower yourself down toward ground for three seconds.
  • Press hands down into ground to return to starting position.

13. Single-leg Romanian Deadlift – Balance and Strength

Enhance your balance and strength with the single-leg Romanian deadlift. Stand tall, holding a dumbbell or kettlebell in your left hand. Lift your left foot off the floor, bending your knee slightly. Engage your core, hinge at your hips, and begin lowering the weight down your right shin. Keep your back straight and your right foot flexed. Once you’ve lowered as far as your flexibility allows, stand back up, squeezing those glutes at the top. Complete all repetitions on one side before switching to the other for a well-balanced workout.

Single-leg Romanian Deadlift

How to do it:

  • Stand tall with left hand holding dumbbell or kettlebell.
  • Raise left foot off floor, bending knee.
  • Right foot remains planted.
  • Engage core, drive both hips back into hip hinge, lowering weight down shin.
  • Reverse motion, stand back up, squeezing glutes at top.
  • Complete all reps for right side, then repeat on left.

14. Walking Lunges – Step by Step

Let’s take a step-by-step approach to the walking lunges. Start by standing upright with your feet shoulder-width apart and your hands on your hips. Step forward with your right leg, flexing both knees and dropping your hips. Lower your left knee towards the ground, then push off with your right foot to bring your left foot forward, repeating the movement. Walking lunges are a fantastic way to engage both your quads and hamstrings while also improving your balance and coordination. By executing them correctly and being mindful of form, you can maximize the benefits of this exercise while avoiding common quad exercise mistakes.

Walking Lunges

How to do it:

  • Stand upright with feet shoulder-width apart, hands on hips.
  • Step forward with right leg, flex knees (90°), and drop hips.
  • Lower left knee toward floor, then push up and forward through right leg.
  • Step into lunge on other side, alternating legs.

15. Rear-Foot Elevated Lunge – Rise Up

The rear-foot elevated lunge targets your hamstrings while adding an element of balance and flexibility. To perform this exercise, place your right foot on a bench or step, toes pointed, and foot flexed. Lower your right knee towards the floor, then press through your left foot to rise back up. This exercise is a great way to activate your hamstrings in a single-leg movement, enhancing muscle symmetry and overall leg strength.

Rear-Foot Elevated Lunge

How to do it:

  • Place right foot on bench or step, toes pointed, foot flexed.
  • Descend until right knee almost touches floor, then drive back up through left leg.
  • Maintain stable posture, and avoid sliding forward knee past toes.

16. Squat to Hamstring Stretch – Squat and Stretch

Combining a squat with a hamstring stretch is a dynamic way to engage your lower body while improving flexibility. Start by standing with your feet shoulder-width apart. Bend at the waist and grab your toes with your hands. Drop into a deep squat, keeping your back flat and your chest up. As you straighten your knees, you’ll feel a gentle stretch in the back of your legs. This exercise not only engages your hamstrings but also helps maintain and improve your range of motion.

Squat to Hamstring Stretch

How to do it:

  • Stand with feet shoulder-width apart.
  • Bend at waist, grab toes with hands.
  • Drop into deep squat while keeping arms straight, back flat, and chest up.
  • Holding toes, raise hips back and straighten knees until you feel a stretch in the back of your legs.

17. Single-leg Banded Hip Thrust – Band Power

Give your hamstrings an extra challenge with the single-leg banded hip thrust. Loop a heavy resistance band around your waist and secure it in place. Lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the ground. Lift one leg off the ground, extending it straight in the air. With the resistance band providing added resistance, lift your hips towards the ceiling, engaging your glutes and hamstrings. Lower your hips down and repeat on the same leg before switching sides. The resistance band adds an element of intensity that will have your hamstrings working hard!

Single-leg Banded Hip Thrust

How to do it:

  • Loop a heavy resistance band around waist.
  • Sit on ground, back to bench, feet flat, one loop under right heel.
  • Activate glutes and core, lift left foot to start.
  • Raise hips toward ceiling, then lower slowly to start.
  • Perform reps on one side, then switch.

18. Kettlebell Swing – Swing to Win

Enter the kettlebell swing – a powerful exercise that engages your hamstrings and challenges your overall strength. Stand tall while holding a kettlebell with both hands in front of you. Begin by squatting as you lower the kettlebell along an arc under and between your legs. With a strong hip thrust, swing the kettlebell up until your arms are parallel to the floor. This explosive movement not only targets your hamstrings but also works your core and glutes. Embrace the swing and feel the burn!

Kettlebell Swing

How to do it:

  • Stand holding kettlebell in front of you, arms extended.
  • Squat as you lower kettlebell along arc under and between legs.
  • Initiate movement with hips, driving hips and swinging kettlebell up.
  • Complete set without pausing.

19. Reverse Inchworm – Walk it Back

The reverse inchworm adds a twist to your hamstring workout. Start by bending at the waist and walking your feet out into a pushup position. As you keep your knees straight, walk your hands towards your feet. When you feel a stretch, walk your feet back out to the pushup position. This exercise engages your hamstrings and stretches your entire posterior chain, helping to improve flexibility and mobility.

Reverse Inchworm

How to do it:

  • Bend at waist and walk feet out into pushup position.
  • Keep knees straight, walk hands toward feet.
  • Feel a stretch, then walk feet back out to pushup position.

20. Banded Deadlift – Resistance Boost

The banded deadlift is all about adding resistance to your hamstring training. Begin by placing a band around your thighs, just above your knees. Stand with your feet slightly wider than shoulder-width apart and hold a moderate-weight kettlebell in both hands. Hinge at your hips and push your buttocks back, lowering your torso and the kettlebell towards the floor. This resistance-enhanced deadlift effectively engages your hamstrings and glutes. After completing a set with the band, transition to a barbell for an extra challenge.

Banded Deadlift

How to do it:

  • Place resistance band above knees.
  • Stand with feet wider than shoulder-width apart, holding moderate kettlebell.
  • Hinge at hips, push butt back, lower torso and kettlebell toward floor.
  • Maintain tension in hamstrings and glutes.
  • Push through heels to stand; after sets, remove band and load up a barbell.

21. Inverted Hamstring – Balance and Extend

Time to work on balance and extension with the inverted hamstring exercise. Stand with your feet hip-width apart. Shift your weight to your left side, lift your right knee towards your chest, and keep your elbows down by your sides with palms facing up. Hinge forward, extending your arms and your right leg back. Slowly return to the starting position and repeat on the right side. This exercise challenges your stability and engages your hamstrings while also working on your core strength.

Inverted Hamstring

How to do it:

  • Stand with feet hip-width apart.
  • Shift weight left, lift right knee to chest, elbows at sides, palms facing up near chest.
  • Soften left knee, hinge forward, extend arms, and right leg back.
  • Reverse to start, then repeat on right side.

22. Good Morning exercise – Rise and Shine

Get ready to rise and shine with the good morning exercise. Hold two dumbbells or loop a band around your shoulders and under your feet. From a standing position, slowly bend forward from your hips until your upper body is parallel to the floor, feeling that stretch in your hamstrings. Hold for a couple of seconds, then return to the starting position. This exercise provides a unique angle to target your hamstrings and lower back muscles.

Good Morning exercise

How to do it:

  • From standing position, hold dumbbells or loop band around shoulders under feet.
  • Bend forward from hips, lowering upper body to parallel to floor.
  • Hold for two seconds, return to start.

23. Kettlebell Ski Swing – Ski to Strength

The kettlebell ski swing is a variation of the traditional kettlebell swing. Grab two kettlebells that are slightly lighter than your regular swing weight. Stand tall with feet hip-width apart, shoulders retracted, and core tight. Begin the movement by hip hinging back, allowing your chest to lower towards the floor. With a powerful hip thrust, swing the kettlebells up to shoulder height. Control the weights on the way down and repeat. This dynamic exercise engages your hamstrings, glutes, and shoulders for a full-body challenge.

Kettlebell Ski Swing

How to do it:

  • Stand tall with feet hip-width apart.
  • Shoulders retracted, core tight.
  • Hip hinge back, letting chest lower, arms locked out along torso.
  • Use glutes and hamstrings to press hips forward, swinging kettlebells to shoulder height.
  • Control weights at top, hip hinge again for one rep.

24. Single-leg Wall Squat – Lean and Strengthen

The single-leg wall squat combines stability and strength. Stand with the ball between your lower back and the wall. Straighten your left leg and flex your foot. Lower your hips, allowing the ball to travel up your back, until your left leg is parallel to the floor. Return to the starting position for one repetition. Focus on engaging your hamstrings and quads as you perform this exercise, aiming for controlled movements and proper form.

Single-leg Wall Squat

How to do it:

  • Place stability ball between lower back and wall.
  • Straighten left leg, flex foot.
  • Maintain core and shoulder engagement.
  • Lower hips, allowing ball to travel up back, keeping one leg straight.

25. Reverse Airborne Lunge – Take a Leap

Ready to take a leap with the reverse airborne lunge? Hold a kettlebell at face height for balance. Stand on one foot and lift the other leg behind you, keeping your shin parallel to the floor. Shift your hips back and slowly lower until your shin meets the floor. Press through your standing heel to reverse the movement. Remember to maintain your balance and control throughout the exercise, engaging your hamstrings and quads as you go.

Reverse Airborne Lunge

How to do it:

  • Hold kettlebell at face height for balance.
  • Stand on one leg, lift other leg behind you, shin parallel to floor.
  • Shift hips back, lower until shin meets floor.
  • Press through standing heel to reverse, maintain balance on both sides.

26. Plyo Donkey Kick – Plyo Power

The plyo donkey kick is a dynamic and engaging exercise for your hamstrings. Start in a high plank position, hands under your shoulders, and core engaged. Draw your left knee towards your chest, mimicking a mountain climber movement. Explode with power, kicking your left leg out and bending the knee, while allowing your right foot to briefly leave the floor. Land lightly and extend your right leg before returning to the starting plank position. This exercise provides a plyometric challenge for your hamstrings and core stability.

Plyo Donkey Kick

How to do it:

  • Start in high plank, core tight, hands under shoulders.
  • Draw left knee toward chest like a mountain climber.
  • Explosively kick left leg out, bending knee so foot points toward ceiling.
  • Allow right foot to come off floor momentarily.
  • Land lightly, straighten right leg, lower left leg to return to start.
  • Perform all reps on left side, switch to right for next set.

27. Lateral Lunge – Side Step Strength

Give your hamstrings a side step challenge with the lateral lunge. Begin by standing while holding dumbbells in each hand by your sides. Step to the side, lowering your hips by squatting with the stepping leg, while keeping the other leg straight. Push through your bent leg to return to the starting position. The lateral lunge engages your inner and outer thighs, as well as your hamstrings, providing a well-rounded leg workout.

Lateral Lunge

How to do it:

  • Hold dumbbells, step to side, lower hips into squat position.
  • Push off with bent leg to return to starting position.

28. Glute Hamstring Raises With Slow Eccentrics – Controlled Lift

Controlled eccentric movements are the focus of the glute hamstring raises with slow eccentrics. Lock yourself into a hyperextension or glute-ham machine, feet anchored and hips over the pad. Hug a weight plate at your chest and bend at your hips to lower down slowly, then lift with the power of your glutes and hamstrings. This exercise challenges your hamstrings in both the concentric and eccentric phases of the movement, enhancing overall muscle activation.

Glute Hamstring Raises

How to do it:

  • Lock into hyperextension or glute-ham machine.
  • Feet anchored, hips over pad.
  • Hug weight plate at chest, bend at hips to lower and lift slowly for counts of 2.
  • Squeeze glutes to protect low back at top.

29. Hex Bar Deadlift – Hexagon of Strength

Engage your hamstrings with the hex bar deadlift, a compound exercise that boosts overall strength. Stand with feet hip-width apart and grip the hex bar. Maintain a natural arch in your lower back as you lift the bar, hinging at your hips. Lower the barbell towards the middle of your shins, then stand up straight, extending your hips and knees. Walking with the hex bar adds an extra dimension to the exercise, engaging your hamstrings, glutes, and lower back muscles.

Hex Bar Deadlift

How to do it:

  • Stand with feet hip-width apart.
  • Bend at hips, grasp handles of hex bar.
  • Keep lower back’s natural arch, drive through heels to stand, extending hips and knees.
  • Walk 20 yards.

30. Glute Bridge Walkout – Bridge and Walk

End your hamstring workout on a high note with the glute bridge walkout. Begin by lying on your back, knees bent, and feet close to your buttocks. Engage your abs and press through your heels to lift your hips off the ground into a bridge position. From here, walk your feet out in a V shape, taking small steps with your heels. Maintain the bridge position throughout the movement. Once your legs are extended, reverse the motion and walk your feet back in. This exercise not only engages your hamstrings but also provides a challenge for your core and glutes.

Glute Bridge Walkout

How to do it:

  • Lie on back with knees bent, feet flat.
  • Raise hips, then walk feet out in a V shape and back in.

Incorporate these exercises into your legs-day routine to build strong, resilient hamstrings and lower body muscles.

These exercises are your ticket to stronger hamstrings and a more balanced lower body. Remember, consistency is key, so make sure to incorporate these moves into your regular workout routine. Whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned fitness pro, these exercises will help you build the strong, stable legs you’ve always wanted. So, let’s get those hamstrings firing and take your leg day to a whole new level of awesome!

Conclusion:

Congratulations, you’ve just completed your ultimate guide to the 30 best hamstring exercises of all time! From classic moves like the glute bridge to challenging variations such as the single-leg banded hip thrust, these exercises are your ticket to building stronger hamstrings and a well-rounded lower body. In addition to hamstring-focused exercises, incorporating the best exercises to strengthen your legs, including both weighted and bodyweight leg exercise options, can help you achieve a balanced and powerful lower body. Whether you’re a beginner or a fitness aficionado, these exercises cater to all levels. So, lace up your sneakers, grab your favourite playlist, and let’s get those hamstrings firing for a leg day like no other. Remember, consistency and proper form are key to unlocking your full potential. Stay motivated, stay dedicated, and watch those hamstrings grow stronger with every workout!

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