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6 Hamstring Exercises For Strong, Powerful Thighs

6 Hamstring Exercises For Strong, Powerful Thighs

The importance of hamstring exercises

Every time you walk, climb stairs, or even sit in a chair, you are activating your hamstring muscles. Therefore, keeping those muscles strong is important for basic daily mobility. But they are not only used for that.

” If you work in an office, strong hamstrings will help keep your spine high and prevent your back from arching ,” which can help prevent common ailments related to poor posture, such as lower back pain, says Keith Hodges , performance and functional movement coach and founder of Mind in Muscle Coaching . The hamstrings are also important in sports.

Here we identify the hamstring muscles and offer nine exercises to strengthen them. Hodges recommends performing the following exercises two to three times a week (depending on your activity level) with at least 48 hours of rest in between. Keep doing them for six to 12 weeks and you can start to see tone and definition in your thighs, he says.

hamstring muscles

The hamstrings run down the back of the thigh and are made up of three muscles:

● The biceps femoris is located on the back of the thigh, closer to the outside of the body. It helps you bend the knee, extend the thigh at the hip, and rotate the leg from side to side when the knee is bent.

● The semimembranosus , located near the inner thigh, also flexes the knee joint and extends the thigh at the hip, and allows the hip and lower leg to rotate inward (toward the midsection of the body) .

● The semitendinosus lies between the other two muscles and performs a similar function as the semimembranosus.

Since the hamstrings support both the knee and the hip, some of these exercises focus on the hips and others on the knees. For weight-bearing exercises, use an amount of weight that will tire your muscles after about 10-12 repetitions, but not so heavy that you can’t complete at least 8 repetitions.

1. Romanian deadlift

Romanian deadlift

Hold a dumbbell in each hand.
Bend at the waist and bend your knees a little, allowing the dumbbells to drop close to the ground.
Come up to the starting position. That’s a repeat.
Try to perform between 10 and 15 repetitions.

2. Bulgarian split squat

Bulgarian split squat

Get into a split stance with your right foot forward and your left foot raised on a bench behind you.
Hold a dumbbell in each hand with your elbows close to your body.
Inhale and lower your left knee (back knee) toward the floor while keeping your torso upright.
Exhale and push your right foot (front foot) toward the ground to return to the starting position.
Complete 10 repetitions and then switch legs. Complete three sets with each leg.

3. Single leg glute bridges

Single leg glute bridges

Perform single-leg glute bridges by lying on your back with your hands palms down at your sides.
She extends one leg, squeezes her glutes, and pushes off with the other leg.
Keeping your upper back in contact with the ground, lift your hips until your extended leg forms a straight line with your back.
Repetitions: 12 to 20 repetitions with each leg.

4. Kettlebell swing

Kettlebell swing

You have to start standing with your legs wider than the width of your hips and with both hands holding the kettlebell between your legs and then you have to slightly bend your knees.
Next, you have to lean your chest forward, and swing the kettlebell back between your legs and then push your hips forward until you’re in a standing position. And then simultaneously throw your arms straight out in front of you while keeping a firm grip on the dumbbell and repeat.
You have to make sure that you are pushing your hips back and forth; these are push ups, not squats.
Complete between 15-20 swings.

5. Dumbbell lunge


Stand with your feet hip-width apart while holding a dumbbell in each hand at your sides.
Extend one leg behind you as you lean forward until your body is parallel to the ground, extending your arms toward the ground.
Go back to the starting position.
Repetitions: 12 to 20 repetitions with each leg.

6. Dumbbell side squat

Dumbbell side squat

Stand tall, holding a pair of dumbbells at your sides.
Keep your head up, brace your abs, push your hips back, and bend your knees.
Slowly lower your body into a squat, hands by your sides.
Hold this position for a few seconds.
Then push back up to the starting position.
Perform between 8 and 12 repetitions.

what you need to know

The hamstrings are essential for many types of movement, from everyday movements at home to explosive athletic movements.

Strengthening your hamstrings with these exercises can help you avoid injury and improve your posture.

Still, says Hodges, good form is important. ” Don’t be afraid to ask a professional for help to make sure your technique is correct ,” he says.

Don’t forget that recovery is key, says Hodges. He recommends taking at least 48 hours of rest between hamstring workouts.