Last Updated on September 13, 2022 by TJ Daniels, Certified Personal Trainer
Your hamstrings are an extremely important part of your body and an essential muscle to exercise, particularly if you are someone who is active and partakes in a lot of sports.
This guide will help you to exercise your hamstring to bring a little more definition to the muscle, as well as ensure that they are well exercised and strong.
All of these exercises can be done from the comfort of your own home and require very little equipment to complete!
If you want to create your own routine, simply pick between 3 to 4 of these exercises and do the recommended amount of reps on each exercise with adequate breaks in between sets.
Just be sure that you stretch appropriately before and after in order to prevent injury, and you should have strong, healthy, defined hamstrings in no time.
1. Good Mornings
This exercise is excellent for helping to warm up your hamstrings and is easy to complete, too! Here’s a step-by-step guide to mastering this exercise:
- Stand with your feet roughly hip-width apart, placing your hands behind your head, with your elbows open nice and wide.
- With your knees bent slightly, lean forward until your chest is parallel to the floor, and keep your hips back while ensuring that your abs are engaged and your spine is neutral.
- Squeeze your hamstrings and glutes to push your hips forwards, and return to the initial standing position.
You should aim to complete 10-15 reps of this exercise in a set for the best results.
2. Romanian Deadlift
This exercise is similar to Good Mornings but does require you to use dumbbells. If you don’t have dumbells available and aren’t in the market to buy any, you can use some cans of food from your pantry to add a little weight to each hand.
- Again, stand with your feet hip-width apart, with a dumbbell or other weight in each hand. Hold each dumbbell just in front of your thighs, with your palms facing towards your body.
- With your knees kept slightly bent, keep your hips pressed back as you lean forwards from the waist, and then lower the weights to around the middle of your shin.
- Then, squeeze both your glutes and hamstrings, push your hips forwards, and return to the initial position. This completes one rep.
Again, this exercise should be completed in sets of 10-15 reps, with adequate rest in between.
3. Single-Leg Romanian Deadlift
This variation of the Romanian Deadlift allows you to work your legs individually, which is great if you’re recovering from injury, or just want to work each leg harder.
- Stand with your feet at hip-width apart and a dumbbell in each hand.
- Keep your right knee bent slightly, move your left leg backward and upwards while leaning forward at the waist, while lowering the weight towards the middle of your shin as you would with a standard Romanian Deadlift.
- Squeezing your glutes and hamstring, lower your left leg and return to the starting position. This completes one rep.
10-15 reps complete a set and shoot for 3 sets to adequately work these large leg muscles.
4. Single Leg Glute Bridge
This exercise is also great and can be completed without the need for other equipment!
- Lie on your back and put your arms out to the side with your palms facing downward. Then bend your knees and have your feet flat on the floor, hip-width apart.
- Keep your thighs aligned, straighten your left leg, toes pointed upward, and then squeeze your hamstring and glute to lift your hips up off of the floor and engage your arms to help push yourself off the ground and lift as high as possible.
- Lower yourself to the starting position but keep your left leg lifted, this completes a rep.
For this exercise, complete 10-15 reps on each side to finish a set, and target 3 sets for each side.
5. Glute Bridge March
Another excellent exercise with no equipment necessary, this one is a step up from the Glute Bridge, so if you feel like that exercise is too easy, try this one!
- Lie on your back and lay your arms out to the sides, with your palms to the floor. Bend your knees with your feet flat on the floor with your legs hip-width apart.
- Squeeze both your glutes and hamstrings to bring your hips up off the floor and lift until your body is in a straight line from shoulders all the way to your knees. This should engage your core. Then, lift your right leg up off the ground and straighten it, ensuring your thighs are aligned.
- Lower your right leg to the starting position and then repeat this motion on your left leg, which then completes a rep.
This exercise should be done in the 10-15 reps per set range, with adequate rest in between each set.
6. Dumbbell Donkey Kicks
Another exercise that requires a dumbbell or other kind of weight, this one is excellent for people with a lower range of motion as it only requires a small move to benefit your muscles.
- Start on all fours, keeping your hands and knees at shoulder width apart. Then, place one dumbbell in the crease of your right knee and ensure it is positioned securely.
- Keep your knee at a 90-degree angle, then lift up your leg and try to reach as high as possible, while you move your foot upward towards the ceiling. You should engage your core to prevent your back from arching.
- Reverse the motion and bring your leg to the initial position, which completes one rep.
For this exercise, you’ll want to complete 10-15 reps on each leg to complete a set, while only resting once you’ve completed a full set.
7. Glute And Hamstring Raises
These exercises are excellent for developing strong hamstrings and glutes and will provide you with that nice firm appearance in your bathing suit at the beach. You can use a dumbbell or another weight to add resistance, but that is not necessary and these exercises will show great results even if you don’t want to add the additional weight.
When doing these exercises, make sure to do them slow and to squeeze your hamstring and glute muscles throughout the exercise.
- Lie flat on your back with your knees bent and your feet aligned under your knee caps.
- If you’re using a weight, place the weight above your hips and keep your body in a straight line.
- Push up with your hips, both at the same time and lift your pelvis up as high as you can, holding at the top.
- Then, slowly lower yourself to the floor and then thrust up controllably once you feel your back end touch the floor.
- Repeat these moves while keeping your form and squeezing your muscles.
Complete 10-15 reps per set and target 3-4 sets. This is another great exercise that can be done while watching your favorite tv program, which means there aren’t any excuses for not completing these workouts.
8. Ball Hamstring Curls
This exercise uses a stability ball, but you can substitute a bench or an ottoman for the big ball if you don’t have one!
- Lie on your back, arms out to the side, with palms down, knees bent, and with your feet up on the ball hip-width apart.
- Use your glutes and hamstrings to lift your hips up off the floor and form a straight line from knees to shoulders. Engage your core and straighten your legs while keeping your muscles tightened.
- Then, lower yourself and return to the starting position to complete a rep.
10-15 reps complete a set, and you should shoot for 3 sets of this exercise.
All of these exercises are good at working your hamstrings as well as a few other important areas. We tried to mix up our suggestions to ensure we were offering something for everyone and addressing all fitness levels, allowing everyone to enjoy these immensely beneficial exercises, with or without equipment.