5 Best Hamstring Exercises for Stronger Legs

When it comes to training the lower body, the hamstrings, which are responsible for bending the knees and extending the legs, don’t get much attention. This is a group of three muscles located on the back of your thigh, between your hip and lower leg. You need to have strong hamstrings so you don’t have difficulty walking or running. All you need to do is include hamstring strengthening exercises in your workout routine. Read on to discover the best hamstring exercises you can do.

Many people focus more on the muscles they can see in the mirror and neglect their hamstrings when working out. If you are one of them, you are making a mistake. Fitness expert Varun Rattan says that if your hamstrings are weaker than your quadriceps (the muscles at the front of your thigh), you may develop an anterior pelvic tilt. This is when your pelvis tilts forward and your lower back arches excessively.

Include hamstring exercises in your workout routine. Image provided by: Shutterstock

Additionally, weak hamstrings can make you more prone to muscle strain, especially during explosive movements like sprinting or jumping. This is because the hamstrings have to work harder to decelerate the leg during the swing phase of running or landing after a jump. If they are not strong enough to handle the force, they may be overstretched or torn. It is therefore important to do hamstring strengthening exercises.

Strong hamstrings have many benefits:

• It improves your posture and balance
• Reduces the risk of injuries such as hamstring strains and ACL tears
• Improves your speed and power
• Prevents muscular imbalances and compensations.

Best Hamstring Exercises to Strengthen Legs

You should choose exercises that target your hamstrings and help you develop stronger legs. Here are some exercises you can do:

1. Leg curl

To do leg curls, lie on your chest on a leg curling machine with your ankles under the padded lever. Curl your legs toward your butt, then lower them back to the starting position, but be slow while doing so. The expert says don’t lift your hips off the bench and don’t use your momentum. Keep your hips pressed into the bench throughout the movement and use a slow, controlled tempo.

2. Nordic Hamstring Curl

Kneel on a mat with a partner firmly holding your ankles and keep your body straight from head to knees. Beginners can use a resistance band and wrap it around the chest, while its other end is anchored to a sturdy frame behind their feet. Slowly lower yourself forward as far as possible while resisting gravity with your hamstrings. Use your arms to break the fall and return to the starting position. Do not bend your hips or round your back during the descent phase. Maintain a neutral spine and lower yourself in a controlled manner.

3. Long Lever Hip Thrust

Lie on your back with your knees bent 110 degrees and your heels on the floor, hip-width apart. While squeezing your glutes, lift your hips off the floor into full extension. Slowly lower your hips back to the starting position. Do not extend or extend past your lower back at the top. Throughout the movement, keep your knees in line with your toes.

Opt for a Romanian deadlift if you want to target your hamstrings! Image provided by: Shutterstock

4. Romanian Deadlift

To do this exercise, make sure you stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Hold a barbell with an overhand grip just in front of your thighs. Keep your knees bent and slightly hinged at your hips. Lower the weight toward the floor while keeping it close to your legs. Stop before your lower back begins to round. Drive through your hips and squeeze your glutes to return to a standing position. Make sure the back does not round or arch during the movement. Keep your knees slightly bent and maintain it throughout the movement.

5. Kettlebell swing

Stand with your feet slightly wider than shoulder-width apart and hold a kettlebell with both hands in front of you. Hinge at your hips and let the kettlebell swing between your legs, keeping your back neutral. Next, drive your hips forward explosively and swing the kettlebell up to chest level, squeezing your glutes at the top. Let the kettlebell come back down and repeat the movement. Do not round or stretch your back during the swing. The knees should not be bent too much or locked at the top. Additionally, the kettlebell should not be lifted with the arms. Remember, this is neither a squat nor a front shoulder raise.

So, fitness enthusiasts don’t forget to strengthen your hamstrings.

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