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At Home Hamstring Strengthening Guide

Learn how to bulletproof your hamstrings at home.

Hamstring health is one of the fundamental components of fitness. Your hamstrings are made from a group of muscles in the back of your leg, those being: semitendinosus, semimembranosus, and biceps femoris. You use these muscles every day, whether you’re walking down the street or playing your favorite sport. This is why it is essential to optimize hamstring strength and health. In the process of doing so, you’ll need to know which exercises help to both build and optimize your hamstring strength.

Hamstring strengthening exercises to perform with equipment

Whether you’re looking for bulging muscles or a toned body, resistance in any form is the best way to build strength. Your legs are stronger than you think, which is why you’ll want to pile on the weights or resistance bands.

Deadlifts

You don’t have to go to a gym to perform deadlifts. With enough effort and determination, you can complete this exercise with just a set of dumbbells, which is going to help you gain some hard strength. The more strength you gain, the heavier your weights will need to be if you want to keep making progress. Deadlifts are some of the best ways to build strength in your legs, overall. 

When it comes to hamstring health, you may also want to try russian deadlifts, which are an alternative form of deadlifts. In this variation, you’ll need to keep your legs straight instead of bending them.

Keep in mind that you shouldn’t lock your knees when you’re doing leg workouts. This can cause unnecessary strain on your joints and on your hamstrings. To perform these safely, you should have a slight bend in your knees and instead of squatting like you would do for usual deadlifts, you should push your hips back and keep your legs as straight as possible.

One-Legged Deadlift

One-legged deadlifts are a slightly more challenging variation of conventional deadlifts. In order to do this, you can also use dumbbells or resistance bands; that said, you’re going to want to drop the weight or resistance. If, for example, you can usually deadlift for 100lbs, you should use significantly less weight for single-legged deadlifts. The reason for this is simple: you’re using a single leg to perform the exercise instead of using both legs. 

Lunges

No matter the variation of lunges you’re performing, you will find that they help to strengthen your hamstrings, as well as your legs in general. There are many variations of lunges, including the following: 

  • Walking lunges
  • Stationary lunges
  • Bulgarian split lunges
  • Curtsey lunges

These hamstring strengthening exercises can be performed at home without equipment, but you may want to use dumbbells or resistance bands if you want to work your hamstrings enough to build strength.

Hip Thrusts

Hip thrusts are some of the most efficient exercises that you can perform to increase both glute and hamstring strength. While you can do this exercise without weights, you’ll be able to gain more stability and strength over time by using weights.

Depending on your individual goals, as well as whether you’re increasing strength to improve in a sport or otherwise, you’ll want to increase the weight you’re lifting over time. This will make it easier for you to play other sports because you’ll have a healthier body and a more stabilized body, overall.

Not only this, but hip thrusts impact your posterior chain. They strengthen your glutes and hamstrings, your posterior deltoids, etc. because they force the posterior chain to work as a single unit. All of these muscles will be working together to perform the exercise, which is why it’s one of the most powerful compound movements available. 

At-home hamstring strengthening exercises to perform without equipment

If you’re lacking the time to get to the gym or if you cannot access one, you probably won’t want to use equipment for your workouts. When doing workouts with no equipment, you’ll be able to to stabilize your hamstrings and improve your overall leg health. Not only this, but doing these exercises without equipment will help you recover from injuries.

Donkey Kicks

Donkey kicks can be done with and without equipment, but they are still useful if you don’t have any equipment. These allow you to apply force to your hamstrings and as such, will help to strengthen them.

In order to perform donkey kicks, you’ll need to either support yourself on a stranding structure or you’ll need to sit in tabletop position, which you can see below.

Once you’re in either of these positions, you’ll need to keep your back straight and kick one of your legs out behind you. You should be activating your glutes during the exercise. If you don’t know how to do this, you can do some squats with or without resistance bands prior to doing your donkey kicks. During your squats, you should squeeze your glutes all the way through the exercise.

Standing Leg Curls

Most people are familiar with the leg curl machine at the gym, but not many utilise this exercise without equipment or weights. When you do a standing leg curl, you’re stretching and, thereby, strengthening your hamstrings. If you add resistance bands to this exercise, you’ll find that it’s even more effective when trying to build muscle.

Warrior II

This pose is one that is a fundamental aspect of yoga. It looks a lot like a lunge; however, Warrior II is a stationary pose that is meant to be practised for several breaths. In order to perform this safely, you should straighten your legs so that they are held strongly in place, which will stretch and strengthen your hamstrings. Like with all leg exercises, you should not lock your knees in place because, while you aren’t lifting heavy weights with this exercise, locking your knees will damage or strain the joints when you move in and out of the position.

Over time, you’ll find that the combination of pressure and resistance this places on your hamstrings will strengthen them.