9 Best Bodyweight Hamstring Exercises to Do at Home for strength

You don’t need a loaded barbell or weighted dumbbells and weightlifting rig to get strong hamstrings. If you do it properly, bodyweight hamstring exercises can provide you that strength and make you stronger hamstrings, and also get many functional fitness benefits.

However, hamstring development is essential for maximizing lower body strength, aesthetics and function. Many people do exercises that only focus on the quads and not do any exercises or movements that target the hamstrings. But that’s a big No.

We know that the gym isn’t an option for most of us or don’t have exercise equipment. If you’re looking for a hamstring workout to do at home without equipment, then here are 9 best bodyweight hamstring exercises that can help to maintain and develop hamstring strength.

Hamstring Anatomy

Hamstring Anatomy

The hamstrings are part of the posterior chain and located opposite the quadriceps. It’s composed of three muscles called bicep femoris, semitendinosus and semimembranosus. And they run down the back of your thigh, from hips to knees.

The hamstrings are highly involved during squatting, jumping, walking, jogging, running, and deadlifting. All the hamstring muscles cross both the hip and knee joints, except for the short head of the biceps femoris which only cross the knee joint.

So, if your athletes and sports professionals, then it is very important to train hamstring muscles. Below are 9 best bodyweight hamstring exercises to do at home and these exercises are surely going to be useful for you.

The Benefits of Working Your Hamstrings

There are many benefits of having strong hamstrings. Below we listed some main benefits includes:

  • Improve your posture
  • Stabilize the knee
  • Fix your lower back pain
  • Run faster
  • Improve your overall balance

9 Best Bodyweight Hamstring Exercises for Strength 

Here are the best 9 bodyweight hamstring exercises that you can do at home, and these exercises require nothing more than your body and a bench, which means you can do these exercises anywhere at any time.

Let’s get started….

01. Good Morning

The good morning exercise is one of the easiest bodyweight hamstring exercises that you can do at home for strength. This exercise mainly works on your hamstrings, lower back and also on glutes.

How to perform:

  • Stand straight with your feet hip-width apart and place your fingertips behind your ears.
  • Engage your core and keep your back flat, with a slight bend in your knee (try to keep your straight as much as possible).
  • Push your hips back and lower your torso until it is parallel to the floor.
  • Hold the position for a second and then return back to the starting position.
  • Do 2 sets of 10 to 14 reps.

02. Single Leg Sliding Leg Curl

This exercise mainly targets glutes, lower back adductors and hamstring. This exercise works well while activating hamstring muscles like bicep femoris and semitendinosus. To do this exercise all you need is your body and anything that can slide on the floor like a towel or two pieces of rug.

How to perform:

  • Lie on the floor on your back with your arms are at your sides, knees are bent and your heels are on the slider.
  • Keep your left heel on the towel or mat, and lift your right leg and your pelvis off the floor until your shoulder, hip and knee come in a straight line.
  • Then, curl your working leg slowly towards you.  
  • Squeezing the hamstring of your right leg, slide forward slowly until it is straight. Then reverse the move to the starting position.
  • Do 2 reps of 10 to 14 reps for each side.

03. Bodyweight Nordic Hamstring Curl

This exercise is best and effective for your hamstring, hips and lower back. This movement is basically of intermediate level. However, with consistent practice, you will be able to do this move.

To do this movement, you need a partner for help, but still, you can do this exercise without a partner, only need to have a loaded barbell or bench where you can hold your ankles for balance.

How to perform:

  • Start with kneeling on the floor or mat, torso upright and forward, and take help from your partner to hold your ankles.
  • Keep your hips extended and slowly lower your body forward (lower down to the floor) as far as possible or until you can’t go down.
  • Extend your arms out in front of you on the floor when you can’t go down further (to stop yourself from hitting the floor).
  • Pause the position for a second and then use your arms to push yourself back up to the starting position.
  • Maintain a neutral spine during the entire movement.
  • Do 3 to 4 sets of 10 to 14 reps.  

04. Standing Hamstring Leg Curl

Standing hamstring single leg curl is an extensive exercise for hamstrings muscles and this exercise helps to maintain strength and tone your hamstring muscles. There are many variations of these exercises like using resistance bands and dumbbells.

This exercise is generally beginner level, and it targets your hamstring, glutes and adductors.

How to perform:

  • Stand straight with feet hip-width apart, with your hands on your sides and keep your back straight.
  • Slightly bend your left knee and bring your right foot heel towards your buttock as close as possible.
  • Ensure to squeeze your hamstring muscle when you fully curl.
  • Hold the movement for a second and then slowly lower your leg to that starting position.
  • Do 2 sets of 10 to 16 reps for each leg.

05. Squats

The squats are one of the popular and easiest exercises for leg development, especially best for hamstrings. Squatting exercise focuses on the strengthening of your hamstring, rather than the flexibility part.

Squats also work on your quadriceps, glutes. To perform this exercise, you just need to have your body weight.

How to perform:

  • Stand straight with your feet shoulder-width apart, or wider if it feels more natural, resting your arms straight down at your sides.
  • Keeping back straight, face looking forward and chest up, start to lower yourself by hanging at the hips and bending the knees (as if you’re going to sit down).
  • Do not let your knees move outward or inward. Keep them lined with your foot.
  • When your thighs are parallel to the floor, pause the position for a second.
  • Then, push up back to the starting position.
  • Do 2 to 4 sets of 10 to 16 reps.

06. Single Leg Romanian Deadlifts

Single leg Romanian deadlift is one the best bodyweight exercises to maintain strength and tone the hamstring muscles. This exercise also helps to improve hip mobility, stability and overall balance.

This exercise can work on your glutes, lower back and hamstring.

How to perform:

  • Stand upright with your feet hip-width apart and your arms are straight at your sides.
  • Slightly bend your left knee and raise your right leg off the floor behind you until your torso becomes parallel to the floor, and your hands are fully extended or hand straight towards the floor.
  • Squeeze your hamstring muscles when your leg is fully extended behind you.
  • Then, slowly return back to the starting position.
  • Maintain flat back during the entire movement.
  • Do 2 sets of 10 to 14 reps for each leg. 

07. Pilates Leg Kick

The Pilates leg kick is effective and easiest exercise, and it works your hamstrings, glutes, and core.

How to perform:

  • Lie in a prone position on the floor or mat (with your belly on the floor or mat).
  • Then, lift your torso up and rest your forearms on the floor or mat, with your elbows directly under your shoulder and your fists pressed together.
  • Draw your belly button into your spine, press your pelvis into the floor, and keep your legs and feet in a parallel position.
  • Then, inhale as you point your toes and bend your both knees at a 90-degree angle.
  • Kick your heels two times towards your glutes, forcefully exhaling with both pulses.
  • Inhale, slowly lower your legs to the starting position.
  • Do 3 to 4 sets of 12 to 16 reps.

08. Stationary Lunges

The stationary lunges are effective exercise to target your hamstrings and glutes. This exercise is the easiest and beginner level.

How to perform:

  • Stand straight with your feet hip-width apart.
  • Then take one large step forward with your left foot and your right foot in the same place.
  • Lower your rear knee toward the floor as low as possible, keeping your right leg shin as vertical as possible to the floor.
  • Hold the position for a second, and then press up while pushing your heels into the floor to return back to the starting position.
  • Do 2 to 4 sets of 10 to 16 reps.

09. Bodyweight Hamstring Bridge

Bodyweight hamstring bridge is a great way to strengthen the hamstrings without gym equipment. This exercise is generally beginner to intermediate level. The bodyweight hamstring bridge targets the glutes, adductors, lower back, core and hamstring, and also improves hip mobility.

How to perform:

  • Lie flat on your back, and keep your feet on an elevated object, so your knees are bent to a 9o-degree angle, and your arms by your sides.
  • Keep your upper back on the floor, lift your hips off of the floor until your body forms a straight line from shoulder to knee.
  • When you lift your hips up, your hamstrings, glutes and hips work together and build strength.
  • Hold the movement for a second at the top, and then slowly lower to the starting position.
  • Do 2 to 4 sets of 10 to 14 reps. 

FAQs on Bodyweight Hamstring Exercises

  • What is the Function of the Hamstrings?

    The hamstrings are located on the lower posterior opposite to the quadriceps. The hamstrings play a very important role for us to run, squat, walk and do deadlift exercises

  • Can You Build Strength with Bodyweight Hamstring Exercise?

    The short answer is YES, there are many bodyweight exercises that are excellent than others for building strength. But it also depends on your goals (fitness goals), if your aim is bigger then bodyweight exercises will not be sufficient for building maximal hamstring strength.

  • Does Training Hamstrings Prevent Injury?

    Yes, many research shows that working your hamstrings can reduce hamstring injury and help to improve strength and overall balance.

  • Do Bodyweight Squats Work Hamstrings?

    The short answer is YES, if you’re looking to improve your physical fitness, overall strength and tone the muscles of your lower body, then add bodyweight squats to your workout routine and do them many times each week.

    The standard bodyweight squat can target quadriceps and hamstrings.

The Final Thoughts

There are lots of benefits of having stronger and flexible hamstrings, and the above bodyweight hamstring exercises help you to achieve both strength and flexibility.

We hope that you will utilize these effective bodyweight hamstring exercises, and the best thing about these exercises is that you don’t need any equipment to do them.

Hopefully, you like this article, if you have any questions and suggestions kindly put them in the comment box below. 

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