6 hamstring exercises to get strong and 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 for that.

” If you work in an office, strong hamstrings will help keep your spine up and prevent your back from arching ,” which can help prevent very common ailments related to poor posture, such as lower back pain, says Keith Hodges , functional movement and performance 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 should start to see tone and definition in your thighs, he says.

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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 turn 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 (towards the center of the body). .
  • The semitendinosus lies between the other two muscles and performs a function similar to that of 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 exercises with weights, use an amount of weight that fatigues your muscles after about 10 to 12 repetitions, but not so heavy that you can’t complete at least 8 repetitions.

1. Romanian deadlift
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Hold a dumbbell in each hand.
Bend at the waist and slightly bend the knees, letting the dumbbells fall close to the floor.
Come up to the starting position. That’s a repeat.
Try to perform between 10 and 15 repetitions.

2. Bulgarian split squat
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Come into a split stance with your right foot forward and your left foot elevated 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 ground while keeping your torso upright.
Exhale and push your right foot (front foot) back to the ground to return to the starting position.
Complete 10 repetitions and then switch legs. Complete three sets with each leg.

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

4. Swing with Kettlebell
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You have to start standing with your legs wider than hip-width apart 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 in front of you while maintaining 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
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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
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Stand up, holding a pair of dumbbells at your sides.
Keep your head up, squeeze your abs, push your hips back, and bend your knees.
Slowly lower your body into a squat, hands at your sides.
Hold this position for a few seconds.
Then push 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 posture.

6 hamstring exercises to get strong and powerful thighs
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