Here Are The Exercises That Will Make Your Hamstrings Huge and Strong!
Have you been working on your abs, shoulders, arms and chest for a while now? Wondering what is possibly lacking in your buff upper body? Wonder no more! The best way to balance that out is to pump up your legs and especially, your hamstrings muscles!
Strong hamstrings not only offer support and power for more intense moves in the gym; they also give your body that perfect proportion as they are the true measure of leg size and strength.
Additionally, developed hamstrings help prevent knee injuries and other related injuries. Not to mention, save you from the embarrassment of having the bust of a bull and a pair of chicken legs.
So, are you eager to know what are the best exercises for hamstring muscles? Keep reading for a brief background about the hamstring muscles and how to work on them.
The Anatomy of Hamstring Muscles
Before proceeding to the actual exercises, it is important for you to know the muscles of the hamstrings that you’ll be working on. This is for you to visualize them as you do your exercises.
The information will also help you pinpoint any of your problem areas. This way, you can choose the best exercises that target specific muscles. Now, let’s get started!
Your hamstring muscles are located at the back of your thighs. This might be the reason that they are often neglected because they’re not as noticed as abs or chest. Out of sight, out of mind, right?
Anyway, the hamstrings are a group of three different muscles. A hamstring may either be the semitendinosus, the semimembranosus, or the biceps femoris. They originate at the base of your pelvis and insert onto your shinbones.
Together, these three muscles function to extend your hips, bend your knees, and tilt or roll back your pelvis. Now, during hamstring exercises, you extend your hip from a flexed position and flex your knees from an extended position.
What Are the Best Exercises for Hamstring Muscles
Now that you’ve had a little bit of introduction, let’s consider these exercises and the steps on how to do them. These were chosen as the best exercises because they generally give the strength and size that we want.
○ Romanian Deadlifts
To do this, grab the handle of a barbell with an overhand grip, and your hands must be at shoulder width apart or wider. Stand with your feet under the handle and with a shoulder width distance.
Gradually bend your knees. Keep your spine straight so your back is almost horizontal at your lowest position. As your hamstrings are fully stretched, lift the bar by extending your hip and knees until your body is in an upright position.
As you do the lift, keep your back and arms straight and your chest out. You can also slightly pull your shoulders back. Then, lower the barbell and repeat. Do this for two sets and 4-10 reps.
Also, remember to maintain the barbell close to your legs as you lift and lower it.
○ Barbell Hip Thrust
Hip thrusts primarily target the hips and glutes. However, they also target the hamstrings without causing strain to your lower back.
First, sit on the floor with a bench against your back. Put your feet firmly and flat in front of you. Hold a barbell on your lap. With a stable lower back and knees, lift the barbell with a hip extension until your shoulders are in line with your knees. Then, slowly sink back to the floor.
○ Leg Curls
It was found that the different leg curl variants: standing, lying, seated or Russian leg curls, affect hamstring muscles differently. So, it is recommended to perform all of these in combination to get equal development.
You do leg curls by having weights at the back of your legs just under your calves. Then, you push these weights towards your buttocks through knee flexions. Then, you hold the fully contracted position and return to your starting position.
The only differences of the variants are the position of the body during execution. Furthermore, doing the exercises with lighter weights but higher reps train the muscles in many ways from a single angle. Changing foot positions also affect which muscle or part is emphasized.
○ Box Squats
When executed properly, box squats are a big help for your hamstrings. This exercise allows you to sit back farther than just squats.
Start in a power rack with a box of proper height behind you. Preferably, the box height should allow you to do parallel squats, but you can adjust it as desired.
Then, place a barbell across the back of your shoulders, keeping your lower back in a tight arch. Then, lift the barbell and step back into your position in front of the box. Place your feet wide apart and toes out to emphasize your hamstrings, not your quads.
With a tight back, core, and shoulders, slowly sit on the box. Your shins should be perpendicular to the ground. Pause and relax your hips. Then, rise upward while staying tight. Lead your body up with your head and never bounce from the box.
○ Glute-Ham Raises
Start with a tall kneeling position, with your heels held firmly in place by a fixed structure. Lower your body slowly to the floor to a push-up position by contracting your hamstrings.
Then, push your body back up to your starting position and repeat. Maintain a straight upper body throughout the exercise. Repeat this for no more than 6 reps.
If you’re aiming for a great body, dedication and proper nutrition go hand in hand. To help with that, you can take hydration supplements, bcaas and vitamins.
However, if you exercise to lose weight, try to find the best thermogenic fat burner that works for you. Thermogenics help your body get warm during exercise and aid in shedding excess fat.
Now that you know what are the best exercises for hamstring muscles, you can already achieve a balanced, muscular physique.
When the exercises prove to be hard for you, just remember the benefits of having strong hamstrings. Also, keep in mind that the key to success for these exercises is proper form. So, be careful of that to ensure you’re working up your hamstrings and not wasting time and energy.
If you have any questions, suggestions or anything to say, leave them in the comments section below! I’ll be happy to assist you and discuss with you there.
Emily is founder of BodyShape101.com, a blog where she and her associates talk about exercise, fitness, and yoga. Their aim is to help people like you to achieve perfect body. BodyShape101 is concentrated on exercise & fitness tips, and making the most out of it. She is also a mother of one and she tries to find balance between her passion and her biggest joy in life.