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The Best Hamstring Exercises That'll Seriously Tone Your Legs

By Born Tough on

Most people misapprehend the importance of lower body workouts and end up with weak legs. It is crucial to work out properly and train all the body parts sequentially. 

If you are the same as those ignorant fitness freaks who work only to build the upper body, then my friend you are at a total loss. Your legs or lower body is your base, build a strong foundation and you’ll achieve your goals without being shaken.  

Though, if you have weak hamstrings, then there is a strong chance that you are not focusing on lower body exercises like squats or deadlifts. Moreover, lack of hamstring eccentric strength is a known cause of hamstring strains. Hamstrings are typically the vulnerable area for tears and strains, especially in training and other performance exercises like HIIT running workouts and sports. Paying attention to hamstrings is great for performance, aesthetics, and injury prevention. 

Hamstrings play a vital role in your performance, though hamstrings are extensors at the hips and flexors at the knees. There are numerous exercises that you can perform to make these stronger. Below are the best hamstring exercises that will seriously tone your legs to increase performance, strength, and hypertrophy. But before that, there are some important questions that need to be answered first.  

The Anatomy of Hamstrings

Anatomy Of Hamstring

The hamstrings run up to the base of the glutes passing from the lower portion of the thighs at the knee joint. The hamstrings often work in conjunction with the muscles of the lower back and the glutes when you bend to pick up heavy objects. However, the primary course of this muscle group is promoting core stability on the posterior (back) side of the body. 

The three primary muscles that made hamstring are:

  • Biceps Femoris 

  • Semimembranosus

  • Semitendinosus 

All these three muscles work together to flex the knee and extend the hip through movements and exercises, such as leg curl or rdl deadlifts. Furthermore, as mentioned before these muscles work in conjunction with the lower back and glutes to provide extension, abduction, lateral rotation, and stability while lifting, twisting, and bending. 

What are the Best Hamstring Exercises for Mass?

There are several exercises you can perform. Hamstring exercises for mass include leg curls, plate drags, wide stance box squats, and barbell deadlifts. 

Moreover, Romanian deadlifts or stiff leg deadlifts are great for working your hamstrings. As opposed to the regular deadlifts which put a lot of stress and workload onto your lower back, Rdl Deadlifts place the majority of the workload onto your hamstrings. 

What are the Best Exercises for Building Strong Hamstrings?

Although, leg muscles are the biggest muscle group in the body. Though they require proper technique and full-stressed exercise that intensifies the muscle to get the best shape and outcome.

Anyhow, some of the exercises are listed down below for building strong hamstrings. 

  • Bulgarian Split Squats

  • Romanian Deadlifts 

  • Lying Leg Curls

  • Kettlebell Swings 

  • Back Squat  

What are Body-Weight Exercises for the Hamstrings?

If you are not fond of weight-lifting but desire to build strong hamstrings, here are some body-weight exercises for the hamstring that will help you to build strong hamstrings naturally. 

  • Body-Weight Hamstring Curls

  • Exercises Ball Hamstring Curls 

  • Good Mornings

  • Glute Bridge 

  • Step Up

  • Squat 

  • Single leg Straight-Leg Deadlift 

  • Reverse Lunge

What is the Best Exercise for Tight Hamstrings?

If you are tense because of your tight legs, the following are the best exercises for tight hamstrings.

  • Toe Touching 

  • Supine Hamstring Stretch 

  • Beginners Supine Hamstring Stretch 

  • Standing Hamstring Stretch 

  • Easy Hamstring Stretch for Athletes

  • Advanced Hamstring Stretch for Athletes

  • Partner Hamstring Stretch

What are the Best Exercises to Isolate Your Hamstrings?

According to the studies, hamstrings are a fast-twitch muscle group that makes explosive movements challenging. If you desire to completely isolate this muscle group, the standing leg curl machines and single-leg lying may be the best exercises to isolate the hamstrings. 

As the facts vary, these two exercises might be the best but might not be the effective ones. Hamstrings work harder when your glutes are activated, though it’s maybe the best apparatus to lengthen and contract the hamstrings at the knee and hip. Rdl exercise or Romanian deadlifts with proper form maintained are also effective. 

Technique:

  • Lower the barbell to mid-shin by pushing your hips back.

  • Drive your hips forward and push your heels as you rise.

Best Hamstring Exercises That’ll Seriously Tone your Legs!

Hamstring Stretch

Single-Leg Deadlifts

Squats 

Hamstring Curls

 

Romanian Deadlift

 

Kettlebell Swings 

Exercise Ball Hamstrings

Staggered Deadlifts 

High Kick

Single Balance and Reach 

Good Mornings

Kickbacks 

Single Legged Romanian Deadlift

 

Nordic Hamstring Curl

Deadlifts 

 Exercise that will seriously tone your legs is the blend of multiple hamstrings exercises including gaining mass, building muscle, and isolating your hamstrings.  

Relevant Reading: Best Leg Exercises to Add in Your Routine

Hamstrings Stretch

Must Read: Best Stretching Exercises to Improve Flexibility and Strength 

 

Stretch 1:

  • Lie down on the floor with your legs reaching up the wall. Your bum should be slightly off the floor. 
  • Bend one leg and leave the outstretched. 
  • Push your thighs towards the wall.
  • Hold the position for a few seconds then return to the starting point. 

Stretch 2:

  • Bend your leg as much as you can by keeping the front leg straight. 
  • Hold the stretch for a few seconds then get back to starting position. 
  • Stand with one foot in front of the other foot.

Stretch 3:

  • Sit on the floor with one leg outstretched while the other is bent at the knee, rest your foot on the opposite inner thigh. 
  • Reach forward to touch the toes of the unfolded leg.
  • Hold the stretch for a few seconds then get back to the starting position. 

Stretch 4:

  • Sit on the floor with both legs out in front of you.
  • Reach forward to try and touch your toes. Try to reach as forward as you can. 
  • Hold the stretch for a few seconds then get back to the starting position. 

Single-Leg Deadlifts

  • Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart with a barbell at your shins.
  • Bend on the front side at your hips and keep the knees as fully extended as possible. 
  • Grab the barbell and then extend your hips while keeping your back straight. 
  • From the standing position, lower the weight in a slow and controlled motion. 
  • Take the weight lower to the floor, or before you touch the floor, according to your mobility. 

Squats 

  • Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Maintain the natural arch in your back by squeezing your shoulder blades and raising your chest. 
  • Grab the bar across the shoulders and hold it on your upper back. Uplift the bar by straightening your legs, and take a step back.   
  • Bend your knees and lower the weight without altering the form of your back until your hips are below your knees. 
  • Raise the bar to get back to the starting position, lift with your legs and breathe out at the top.

Hamstring Curls

  • Lay down on the machine and place your legs beneath the padded lever. Position your legs so that the padded lever is beneath your calf muscles. 
  • Grab the side handles of the machine for support, and start raising weights slowly with your legs with your toes pointing straight. 
  • Pause at the vertex of the motion, then slowly return to starting position.  

Deadlift

  • Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart by holding the kettlebell with both hands in front of your thighs. 
  • Bend forward at the hips bringing the kettlebell to the floor by slightly bending your knees and keeping your back straight. 
  • Return to the starting position and repeat.  

Kettlebell Swing 

  • Stand with your feet a little wider than shoulder-width apart. Hold the kettlebell between your legs, with your knees slightly bent. 
  • Keep your back straight, swing the kettlebell upwards until it reaches the level straight to your chest. Then bring it lower, carefully.
  • Repeat the steps. 

Staggered Deadlift 

  • Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart by shifting one foot behind you. Hold the kettlebell in both hands in front of your thighs.
  • Bend forward at the hips bringing the kettlebell to the floor by bending your knees slightly and keeping your back straight. 
  • Return to the starting position and repeat. 

High Kick 

  • Stand with your feet hip-width apart with your chest out and shoulder back by maintaining the natural curvature in your back. Your knees should be unblocked, keep your arms by your sides. 
  • Keep your leg straight and maintain the natural curvature in your back. Kick one leg directly out in front of you and touch it with your extended opposite-side arm. Maintain good form while trying to kick your foot to shoulder height. 
  • Lower your leg to get back to the starting position, take a step forward and follow the same steps with the other leg and arm. 

Single Balance and Reach 

  • Commence with a standing position with your right foot slightly off from the ground. You should be looking straight with your right arm just in front of your torso. This will be your starting stance.
  • Initiate the exercise by flexing your hip, hinge your torso down, and keep your legs slightly bent. Extend your free leg backward for balance as you reach for your left foot with your right hand. 
  • Hold the position for a few seconds then slowly return to the starting position and repeat.

Good Mornings

  • Stand with your feet a little inside shoulder-width apart with a slight bend at your knees. Place your hands intact on your chest.
  • Keep your back straight and rotate your hips to bring your shoulders down towards the floor. Stop when your chest is parallel with the floor. 

Kickbacks

  • Get down on the floor in a position with your hands under your shoulders and knees under your hips. 
  • Kick back with one leg by squeezing your glutes. 
  • Slowly return to starting position by bending your knee and lowering your leg.
  • Switch legs and repeat.

Single Legged Romanian Deadlifts 

  • Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and knees slightly bent and raise one leg.
  • Bend your hips without changing the bend in your knee and lower your torso until it is almost parallel to the ground. 
  • Tense your glutes and then bring yourself back to the starting point. 

Nordic Hamstring Curl 

  • Take a start by going on to your knees and ask your partner to hold your ankles. 
  • Keep your hands in front of you. 
  • With a little bend in your knees slowly bring your body to the ground. Perform the exercise in a slow and controlled motion.
  • Push up and get back to the starting point.  

Dumbbell Deadlift

  • Hold dumbbells in both hands and place them at your side with your arms straight. 
  • Lean forward at your hips with a slight bend in your knees. 
  • Slowly drop the dumbbells to the floor by keeping your back straight. 
  • Rise back to the standing position by engaging your core. 

Also Read: Best Workouts to Help Strengthen Your Core 

Banded Hamstring Curl

  • Stand with your feet hip-width apart and loop your resistance band right above your ankles. 
  • Give your ankle a good flex. 
  • Pull your heel toward your booty by bending your knee. 
  • Perform the exercise in a controlled motion. 
  • Once you are unable to pull it closer, stop the movement. 
  • Slowly return to the starting position, then move to the next side.  
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