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hamstring exercises

Hamstring Exercises

Below are exercises you can do to strengthen and tone your hamstring. Strengthening your hamstrings can help prevent hamstring injury. Performing exercise routines correctly will help you effectively and safely workout your body.

NOTE: Please talk to your doctor and consult with a certified personal trainer or fitness professional before starting any exercise program. Perform the exercises below at your own risk.

Stiff Legged Deadlift
Leg Curls
Good Mornings
Glut Ham Raises
One Leg Curls
Seated Leg Machine Curl

Stiff Leg Deadlifts

Stiff Legged Deadlift

Please note: This is an excellent exercise for the hamstrings, glutes and lower back when performed properly. When performed improperly, however, it can cause lower back pain and injury.

  1. Stand with a narrow stance, legs and upper body straight.

  2. Slowly bend over until your back is parallel to the floor.

  3. Grip a barbell on the floor. Your hands should be slightly wider than your shoulders and your grip can either be overhand or mixed if you have heavy weight.

  4. Inhale and hold your breath as you raise your body.

  5. When you reach an upright position exhale and lower the weight.

  6. You may perform this exercise from a platform for greater reach.

Leg Curls

This exercise is especially good for developing the lower portion of the hamstrings.

  1. Lie on your stomach on an angled Leg Curl bench with your legs straight out. You knees should extend out over the bench and be free of support.

  2. The back of your upper ankle should rest on the underside of the rollers.

  3. Inhale, hold your breath and lift your heels up as close as possible to the butt, Be careful to keep your knees and the rest of your body as still as possible.

  4. Contract your Hamstrings at the top of the movement, pause and lower your feet back to the starting position.

Good Mornings

This exercise helps strengthen and shape the muscles of the upper hamstrings, the lower back and the glutes.

  1. Stand upright with a barbell on your shoulders. Your feet should be shoulder width apart and your hands wider to grip the balance the weight.

  2. Your knees can be slightly bent and your back should be arched slightly.

  3. Inhale, hold your breath and bend forward at the hips.

  4. When your upper body is horizontal, reverse your direction and exhale at the top of the movement.

  5. When you are at advanced stage in doing this exercise you may perform it straight legged.


Glute Ham Raises

This exercise is a very innovative one that works the hamstrings and glutes.

  1. Position yourself on a Glut-Ham Chair or Roman Hyperextension Bench facedown with the back of your ankles tucked under the foot pads.

  2. The mid part of your thighs should be resting on the rounded part of the seat.

  3. Lower your trunk until your the top of your head is pointing directly at the floor.

  4. Raise your upper body until it is approximately 45 degree above the horizontal.

  5. Relax and lower your body repeating the first part of the movement.

One Leg Curls

This exercise is especially good for developing the lower portion of the hamstrings.

  1. Lie on your stomach on an angled Leg Curl bench with your leg straight out. You knee should extend out over the bench and be free of support.

  2. The back of your upper ankle should rest on the underside of the rollers.

  3. Inhale, hold your breath and lift your heel up as close as possible to the butt, Be careful to keep your knee and the rest of your body as still as possible.

  4. Contract your Hamstrings at the top of the movement, pause and lower your foot back to the starting position.

  5. Repeat with opposite leg.


Seated Machine Leg Curls

This exercise is completed with the use of a seated leg curl machine. The legs are locked out straight and the movement is down and in toward a 90 degree angle.

  1. Lie on your stomach on an angled Leg Curl bench with your leg straight out. You knee should extend out over the bench and be free of support.

  2. The back of your upper ankle should rest on the underside of the rollers.

  3. Inhale, hold your breath and lift your heel up as close as possible to the butt, be careful to keep your knee and the rest of your body as still as possible.

  4. Contract your Hamstrings at the top of the movement, pause and lower your foot back to the starting position.

  5. Repeat with opposite leg.


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