You don’t need a loaded barbell and a weightlifting rig to get strong hamstrings.
Done correctly, bodyweight hamstring exercises can provide that sought-after silhouette And Several functional fitness facilities.
That’s right — a pair of well-developed hamstrings are good for a lot more than filling out your jeans.
“The hamstrings slow down the action of the quads during running and gait cycling,” says Alice Holland, DPT, director of regional development for Stride Strong Physical Therapy in Hillsboro, Oregon. “They also help with uphill speeds, such as curbs, stairs and hills. Without their strength, knee injuries can occur and strength is limited when attempting to climb uphill or up stairs.
In other words, whether you’re climbing stairs or hiking, you can benefit from bodyweight hamstring exercises.
And since these nine exercises require minimal space and zero equipment, there’s no excuse not to.
Add some of these bodyweight hamstring exercises to your favorite leg day routine, or combine them into one workout. Aim for three sets of 15 repetitions of each exercise.
- Stand tall with your feet hip-width apart and place your fingertips behind your ears.
- Keeping your back flat and core engaged with a slight bend in your knees, push your hips back and lower your torso until it’s almost parallel to the floor.
- Pause, and return to the starting position.
- Lie with your knees bent, feet flat on the floor, your arms by your sides and palms down.
- Squeeze your glutes and push through your legs, lifting your hips off the floor until your body forms a straight line from your knees to your shoulders.
- Pause, then slowly return yourself to the starting position.
- Place your left foot on a box, bench, or sturdy chair. Your hips, knees, and ankles should all be bent 90 degrees.
- Keeping your chest up and shoulders back, push your body up with your left leg until it’s straight (keep your right leg up).
- Squeeze your glutes at the top of the movement and then slowly lower your body back to the starting position under control.
- Repeat equally on both legs.
- Stand tall with your arms at your sides, feet shoulder-width apart and toes pointed forward.
- Keeping your back flat and core braced, push your hips back, bend your knees, and lower your body until your thighs are parallel to the floor. Don’t let your chest protrude too far.
- Pause, and then push yourself back up to the starting position.
- Stand tall with your feet shoulder-width apart and your arms by your sides.
- Keeping your chest up, core engaged and back flat, push your hips back and lower your body until your thighs are parallel to the floor.
- Back yourself up explosively, jump straight up.
- Land softly with your knees bent to absorb the impact, then immediately lower yourself into your next rep.
6. Pilates Leg Kick
- Lie in a prone position on a mat (with your stomach on the mat).
- Lift your torso up and place your elbows on the mat with your elbows directly under your shoulders and your fists clenched together.
- Draw your belly button into your spine, press your pelvis into the mat, and keep your legs and feet parallel.
- From this position, inhale as you point your toes and bend both knees to a 90-degree angle.
- Kick your heels toward your glutes twice, exhaling forcefully through both ankles.
- Exhale as you lower your feet to the mat.
- Repeat until all repetitions are completed.
7. Single-leg straight-leg deadlift
- Stand with your feet hip-width apart and your arms by your sides.
- Shift your weight onto your right leg and lift your left leg a few inches off the floor behind you. This position begins.
- With your right leg slightly bent, your back flat and your core engaged, push your hips into a hinge and lower your upper body until your torso is nearly parallel to the floor, raising your left leg behind you. Reach your left hand to the floor. Your right hand can be at the side for counter balance.
- Pause, and then lower your left leg to return to standing position. Perform equal reps on both sides.
- Stand with your feet hip-width apart and your hands on your hips.
- Keeping your chest up, back flat, shoulders back and core engaged, take a big step with your right leg.
- Bend both knees down until your left thigh is parallel to the floor. Knees should be bent at about 90 degrees, with your right knee hanging a few inches off the ground. Your left knee should be stacked just above the ankle.
- Pause, then push off your back leg to return to the starting position.
- Perform equal reps on both sides.
9. Crab Walk
- Sit on the floor and bend your knees so that the soles of your feet press into the floor. Keep your feet about hip-width apart.
- Reach both hands behind your waist and press your palms into the floor with your fingers facing forward.
- Use your glutes and core muscles to lift your hips so you create a “tabletop” position with your torso and thighs. Only your palms and the soles of your feet should touch the floor.
- Keeping hips up, step forward with your right leg and left arm, followed by your left leg and right arm.
- Continue to walk forward with the opposite arm and leg for a specified number of steps before reversing the movement and returning to the starting position.