7 Exercises You Need to Do For A Stronger Hamstring
Hamstring exercises!… Why?
Yes, this is the first question that comes to mind when you think about training your hamstrings.
Hamstring always falls at the bottom of the ladder in terms of training a muscle group.
In the name of hamstring exercises, most workout schedules include a couple of sets of Leg curls at the end of a leg workout. These under-appreciated muscles deserve a lot more attention and respect than this.
So, let us first understand why you need a stronger hamstring.
A hamstring is a group of three muscles at the back of your thighs – Bicep femoris, Semimembranous, and Semitendinosus. These muscles help in bending the knee and extending the hips backward.
- Hamstring is an important stabilizer for your knee joint. A stronger hamstring protects your knee joint from injuries.
- While running downhill, your speed is controlled by your hamstring. A stronger hamstring will give you better control over the descent and lowers the stress on your knee joints.
- Many sports like cricket, football, basketball etc. requires the ability to decelerate – instantaneously stop running and swiftly change direction. A stronger hamstring improves your ability to decelerate.
- During an explosive movement like the launch phase of sprinting or jumping, your hamstring transfers the force from the knee joint to your hip joint.
7 Exercises For A Stronger Hamstring
1. Romanian Deadlift
Romanian deadlift starts with the bar in the power cage at a height slightly below the hands so that you can safely step out of the rack with the bar.
- Place your hands slightly wider than shoulder width in a double overhand position.
- Lift the bar and walk out a few steps.
- Place your feet 8-12 inches wide with toes slightly outwards (15 degrees).
- Unlock your knees just a little to tighten your quads. This position of the knees will not change throughout the movement.
- Now push your hips back, keeping your spine neutral.
- While pushing your hips back, bring your shoulder over and in front of the bar.
- Keep going down till the neutral spine position is maintained. The bar will reach below your knees and you will start feeling the stretch on the hamstring.
- From this bottom position push your hips forward and bring yourself to the starting position.
- Breathe at the top before each rep.
2. Russian Leg Curl (a.k.a Glute-ham Raise)
- Kneel on a mat with your body in an upright position.
- Hook your feet under something firm to prevent it from lifting up during the movement.
- Keep your hands close to your chest with palms facing forward.
- Now start leaning forward by straightening your knees. Make sure to keep your back straight.
- Control the speed of the descent with your hamstrings.
- As you come close to the ground extend your hands to the floor to stop the descent.
- Push yourself back up to the starting position for the next rep.
3. Single Leg Deadlift
- Stand on one leg keeping the chest up and back in a neutral position.
- Bend the knee slightly to activate the quadriceps.
- Now bend the upper body forward at the hips till your back becomes parallel to the floor. Keep the raised leg straight.
- Bring your body up by unhinging the hips and come to the starting position.
- Complete all the reps with one leg then switch to the other leg.
4. Single Leg Bridge
- Lie down on your back with palms flat on the ground.
- Bend one leg with the heel placed under the knee line.
- Raise the other leg off the floor keeping the knee locked.
- Now push through the heel and lift your hips up to create a straight line from the raised leg to your shoulders.
- Then bring your hips down to the starting position.
- Contract your abdominal and glute muscles before each rep.
5. Leg Curl On Swiss Ball
- Lie down on your back with your feet on top of the swiss ball.
- Raise your hips off the ground by keeping the weight on your upper back and feet. This will be the starting position
- Now bend your knees to bring the ball closer to your body.
- In a controlled manner roll the ball back to the starting position.
6. Sliding Leg Curl
Note: The floor should be sleek enough to allow smooth sliding of your legs. You can either place a slider under your sole or do it in your socks.
- Lie down on your back with bent knees.
- Keeping your knees bent, raise your hips to get into the bridge position with your shoulder, hips, and knees forming a straight line.
- Now keeping your hips locked, slide your feet forward till legs become straight. Remember your butt should not be touching the ground in this position.
- Now pull the feet back towards your butt to come to the starting position.
- Repeat the movement without letting your hips drop.
7. Kettlebell Swing
- Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart with the kettlebell on the floor in front of you.
- Sit back in a half squat position and hold the handle of the kettlebell with a hook grip.
- Now pull the kettlebell towards you and let it swing between the legs.
- Without stopping, push the kettlebell forward with your hips and let it swing in front of you like a pendulum.
- Your hips should be creating this swing movement, not your arms and shoulder.
- Keep a rhythmic movement throughout.
Note: If you want to learn more about kettlebell training, read this –
Now the question is:
How can you add these exercises to your workout routine?
Here is a sample workout plan to build a stronger hamstring
Monday – Legs (Quadricep dominant)
Tuesday – Upper body (Pulling muscles)
Wednesday – Cardio/ Rest
Thursday – Upper Body (Pushing muscles)
Friday – Legs (Hamstring Dominant)
Saturday – Cardio + Core Training
Sunday – Rest