13 Hamstring Exercises That’ll Seriously Sculpt Your Legs

They'll help lift your butt too.


Roxie Jones |

Having tight hamstrings is super common, especially if you spend a good chunk of your day sitting down. In a seated position, these muscles that run along the backs of your legs are shortened, so it’s necessary to spend time stretching them in order to become more flexible and make sure your hamstrings maintain their full range of motion.

Something that’s equally important? Strengthening your hamstrings. Doing so will also help to loosen them up, plus these muscles play a major supporting role in pretty much every leg exercise. So, if you want to be able to squat lower, lunge a little deeper, and just generally be an all-around badass on leg days, spending time strength training your hamstrings is a must.

To help you get started, I’ve created a quick circuit training programme you can do at home or anywhere, really. Sprinkle these exercises into your leg routine two to three times a week or create a focused hamstrings workout for max results using my instructions below. These hamstring exercises are good for all fitness levels. The key to getting the most out of them is to concentrate on squeezing your hamstrings and letting them be the muscles that initiate each movement — don’t let your quads or glutes do all the work!

Time: 15 minutes

Equipment: Dumbbells, resistance band (optional for extra challenge, you can also use water bottles or canned goods instead), towel or piece of paper to use as sliders

Good for: Hamstrings

Instructions: Choose three moves below. For each move, do 15 reps, then continue to the next move. Repeat the entire three-move circuit two to three times.

READ MORE: DIY Your Own Butt Workout At Home With These 15 Moves

Glute Bridge

How to: Start lying on back with knees bent and feet flat on the floor, hip-width apart. Engage core, then press into heels and squeeze glutes to raise hips until body forms a straight line from knees to shoulders. Hold here for two seconds before lowering to start. That’s one rep. Complete 15 reps.

Single-Leg Glute Bridge

How to: Start lying on back with arms out to the side pressing into mat, knees bent, and feet flat on the floor, hip-width apart. Keeping pelvis level, straighten one leg toward ceiling, foot flexed so that sole point up. Squeeze glutes to lift hips evenly off the floor, then lower. That’s one rep. Complete 15 reps on each side.

Dumbbell Donkey Kick

How to: Get on all fours on top of mat. Place a dumbbell at the crease of knee. This is your start position. Keep right knee bent at 90 degrees as you lift leg into the air until thigh is parallel to floor. Reverse the movement to return to start. That’s one rep. Complete 15 reps on each side.

Reverse Plank

How to: Start seated on mat with legs extended and hands just behind bum, palms flat on the floor, fingers pointed toward body, and arms straight. Press into hands and lift hips into the air until body forms a straight line from shoulders to heels. Keep hips raised for three seconds, then lower back to start. That’s one rep. Complete 15 reps.

Reverse Plank With Toe Tap

How to: Start seated on mat with legs extended and hands just behind bum, palms flat on the floor, fingers pointed toward body, and arms straight. Press into hands and lift hips into the air until body forms a straight line from shoulders to heels. Keep hips raised while you bend right knee, and tap right toes on the floor near glutes. Extend right leg back to the starting position, and repeat on the left side. That’s one rep. Complete 15 reps.

Glute Bridge March

How to: Start lying on back with knees bent and feet flat on the floor, hip-width apart. Engage core, then press into heels and squeeze glutes to raise hips until body forms a straight line from knees to shoulders. Lift right knee toward chest. Pause, then lower right foot. Repeat with the other leg. That’s one rep. Complete 15 reps.

Glute Bridge Tiptoe Walk

How to: Start lying on back with knees bent and feet flat on the floor, hip-width apart. Engage core, then press into heels and squeeze glutes to raise hips until body forms a straight line from knees to shoulders. Keep hips level and take one step back toward glutes with right foot, balancing on toes. Do the same with the left. Reverse the movement to return to start. That’s one rep. Complete 15 reps.

Crabwalk

How to: Sit with knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Position palms behind body, just outside of glutes, fingers pointed forward. Push hands and feet to lift butt a few inches off of mat. This is your start position. Take a step forward, simultaneously moving right hand and left foot. Repeat with left hand and right foot. That’s one rep. Continue moving back and forth, alternating sides, without allowing butt to drop until you’ve finished all reps. Complete 15 reps.

Lying Hamstring Curl

How to: Start lying on back with knees bent, feet on top of a towel or paper. Engage core, then press into heels and squeeze glutes to raise hips toward the ceiling. Hold the position as you extend legs to straight. Reverse the movement to return to start. That’s one rep. Complete 15 reps.

Kick Back With Resistance Band

How to: While standing, loop a resistance band around left foot, and hold the other end in both hands. Hinge upper body forward slightly. This is your start position. Press right leg backward until it’s completely extended. Return to start. That’s one rep. Complete 15 reps on each side.

Dumbbell Romanian Deadlift

How to: Start standing with feet hip-width apart, knees slightly bent, holding a pair of weights in front of thighs, palms facing body. Keeping knees slightly bent, press hips back as you hinge at the hips and lower the weights toward the floor. Squeeze glutes to return to standing. That’s one rep. Complete 15 reps.

READ MORE: Try These Exercises To Build A Stronger, Bigger Butt

Single-Leg Romanian Deadlift

How to: Start standing with feet hip-width apart, knees slightly bent, holding a pair of weights in front of thighs, palms facing body. Keeping knees slightly bent, extend straight right leg back as you hinge at hips to lower torso. (Stop when both are parallel to floor.) Keep arms straight and let weights slide downward as you lean forward, keeping them close to body. Squeeze glutes to return to standing. That’s one rep. Complete 15 reps on each side.

Dumbbell Good Morning

How to: Stand with feet shoulder-width apart. Hold two dumbbells in hands, bend arms, and place them behind shoulders on to back. This is your start position. Keeping knees slightly bent and torso straight, slowly hinge forward from hips until upper body is parallel to the floor. Hold for a moment, then return to start. That’s one rep. Complete 15 reps.

This article was originally published on www.womenshealthmag.com 

READ MORE ON: Fitness Lower Body Workouts Workouts

Enable Notifications    Ok No thanks