13 Best Bodyweight Hamstring Exercises To Strengthen Your Legs

It's time to toughen up those legs with exercises like hamstring curls and squats.

Reviewed by Sabrina Rahman, Certified Fitness Trainer Sabrina Rahman Sabrina RahmanCertified Fitness Trainer facebook_iconinsta_icon
Written by , MSc (Biotechnology), ISSA Certified Fitness Nutritionist Charushila Biswas MSc (Biotechnology), ISSA Certified Fitness Nutritionist Experience: 6 years
Edited by , BSc, Professional Certificate in Food, Nutrition and Health Ravi Teja Tadimalla BSc, Professional Certificate in Food, Nutrition and Health Experience: 8 years
Fact-checked by , MSc (Biotechnology), Certified Health & Nutrition Life Coach Payal Karnik MSc (Biotechnology), Certified Health & Nutrition Life Coach Experience: 2.5 years
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Bodyweight hamstring exercises guarantee strong and flexible legs without lifting weights and resistance training. No, you don’t need to head to the gym. You can do this lower body workout in the comfort of your home. And, you don’t need any equipment because your body is the equipment you are going to use. Here are the 13 best bodyweight hamstring exercises you must incorporate into your workout routine. Do these home workouts 3 times a week for 20-30 minutes after a 10-minute warm-up. Get ready to make your legs fitter, stronger, and more toned with these leg exercises. Swipe up!

protip_icon Workout Blueprint: Bodyweight Hamstring Exercises
  • Frequency: 3 times per week.
  • Benefits: Tone and strengthen the legs.
  • Equipment Needed: Yoga mat
  • Space Required: Small area
  • Assistance Required: No
  • Who Should Avoid: Anyone with joint injuries and anyone who has undergone surgery recently.

13 Best Bodyweight Hamstring Workouts Without Weights

Do a 10-minute warm-up to prep your muscles and prevent hamstring pull. Perform neck tilts and circles, shoulder circles, arm circles, waist circles, side lunges, and ankle circles. Choose a safe space where you can move freely. Take the support of a wall, chair, bench, or sofa to anchor your legs.

1. Hamstring Curls

How to do bodyweight hamstring curl exercises
Image: YouTube @themodernfitgirl

Work On – Hamstrings, Quads, and Glutes

How To Do

  1. Get on all fours – make sure your elbow is directly below your shoulders. Keep your neck in a neutral position.
  2. Lift your right leg off the floor and extend it. This is the starting position.
  3. Bend your knee and bring the right ankle close to your hips.
  4. Pause for a moment and extend your leg again.
  5. Do this 10 times before switching legs.
  6. Do 3 sets of 10 reps with each leg.


protip_icon Quick Tip
If you are new to hamstring exercises, try to focus on the simple exercises. Once you have mastered the beginner hamstring exercises, you can try the advanced variants.

2. Prone Hamstring Curls

Prone hamstring curl exercise for strong legs
Image: YouTube @themodernfitgirl

Work On – Hamstrings, Quads, and Glutes

How To Do

  1. Lie on your belly or in a prone position.
  2. Keep your hands close to your body and palms flat on the floor near your chest. This is the starting position.
  3. Bend your right knee and bring the right ankle close to the glutes.
  4. Lower the right foot.
  5. Bend your left knee and bring the right ankle close to the glutes. Now, bring it down.
  6. Do 12 to complete one set.
  7. Do 3 sets of 12 reps.

3. Single-Leg Glute Bridge

Single-leg glute bridge exercise for hamstring
Image: YouTube @themodernfitgirl

Works On – Hamstrings and Glutes

How To Do

  1. Lie down on a mat, bend your knees, and place your feet flat on the floor.
  2. Place your hands by your side and palms on the floor.
  3. Lift your right leg and extend it towards the ceiling. This is the starting position.
  4. Lift your hips off the floor while keeping your right leg extended. Stop when your glutes and spine are in the same line. This is the glute bridge position.
  5. Slowly bring your glutes back to the floor.
  6. Do 3 sets of 10 reps.

Note: Avoid this exercise if you have lower back pain.

4. Bridge Toe Taps

Bridge toe tap is an effective bodyweight hamstring exercise
Image: YouTube @KineticLabs

Work On – Hamstrings, Glutes, and Quads

How To Do

  1. Lie down on a mat with your hands to the sides. Bend your knees and keep your feet flat on the floor.
  2. Lift your hips off the floor. Your glutes and spine should be in the same line. Now, lift your ankles off the floor. This is the starting position.
  3. Extend your right leg straight towards the ceiling. Gently place it down with your ankles still off the floor.
  4. Extend your left leg straight towards the ceiling and gently place it down with your ankles still off the floor.
  5. Do 10 of these to complete one set.
  6. Lower your hips on the floor and take 10 seconds rest before starting the next set.
  7. Do 3 sets of 10 reps.

5.  Reverse Lunge With Pulse

Reverse lunge with pulse exercise for hamstring
Image: YouTube @MadFit

Works On – Hamstrings, Glutes, and Quads

How To Do

  1. Stand straight with your feet shoulder-width apart and hands on the waist. This is the starting position.
  2. Place your right foot back, bend your knees, and lower your body. Stop when your right knee is about to touch the floor. Keep the upper torso straight.
  3. Pulse twice – stand halfway up and again go down.
  4. Stand straight and keep your right knee bent. Do a gentle forward kick.
  5. Place your right leg back again. Pulse twice, stand up, and do a gentle forward kick keeping your right knee bent. Do 10 before switching legs.
  6. Do 3 sets of 10 reps with each leg.

6. Curtsy Lunge With Narrow Squat

Curtsy lunge with narrow squat is a powerful hamstring exercise
Image: YouTube @MadFit

Works On – Hamstrings, Quads, and Glutes

How To Do

  1. Stand straight, keep your feet shoulder-width apart, and join your palms. This is the starting position.
  2. Place your left leg diagonally across behind your right leg.
  3. Bend your knees and lower your body into a “curtsy” lunge.
  4. Bring your left leg back to the starting position and do a squat – push back your hips, bend your knees, and lower your body. Make sure your knees do not overshoot your toes.
  5. Place your right foot diagonally across behind your left leg.
  6. Bend your knees and make a curtsy lunge.
  7. Place your left foot back to the starting position and squat. This completes one rep.
  8. Do 3 sets of 8 reps.

7. Split Squats

Split squats help relieve hamstring issues
Image: YouTube @MadFit

Work On – Hamstrings, Glutes, and Quads

How To Do

  1. Stand facing away from a bench or sofa. Place your right foot on the bench or sofa and cross your arms across your chest. Keep your left knee loose and look straight. This is the starting position.
  2. Bend both your knees and lower your body. Keep your torso straight.
  3. Pause for a moment and go back up. Do this 10 times before switching legs.
  4. Do 3 sets of 10 reps with each leg.

8. Reverse Plank Ankle Taps

Reverse plank ankle tap exercise for hamstring and quads
Image: YouTube @themodernfitgirl

Work On – Hamstring and Quads

How To Do

  1. Sit on a mat, place your hands back, keep your palms flat on the floor, and extend your legs.
  2. Lift your hips off the floor and support your lower body on your ankles. Roll your shoulders back and make sure your elbows are directly below the shoulders. This is the reverse plank position.
  3. Bend your right knee and place your right ankle closer to your hips.
  4. Extend your right leg back to the reverse plank position.
  5. Bend your left knee and place your left ankle closer to your hips.
  6. Extend your left leg back to the reverse plank position. This completes one rep.
  7. Do 3 sets of 10 reps.

9. One Leg Deadlift Squats

One-leg deadlift squats are a must-do hamstring exercise
Image: YouTube @KineticLabs

Work On – Hamstrings and Quads

How To Do

  1. Stand straight with your feet shoulder-width apart. Lift your left leg off the floor and extend it to the back. Bend your body forward from the waist and keep your spine and neck in the same straight line. Extend your arms to the sides to balance your body. This is the starting position.
  2. Bend your right knee and lower your body.
  3. Pause for a moment and return to the starting position.
  4. Do 3 sets of 8 reps.

10. Donkey Kicks With Pulse

Donkey kicks with pulse keep hamstring problems at bay
Image: YouTube @KineticLabs

Work On – Glutes, Hamstrings, and Quads

How To Do

  1. Get on all fours on a mat.
  2. Lift your right leg off the floor. Keep the leg bent at the knee and kick your right foot up towards the ceiling.
  3. Bring the foot slowly down and kick up towards the ceiling again. Pulse your donkey kicks twice before placing the knee back on the floor.
  4. Do this 10 times with your right leg before doing the same with your left.
  5. Do 3 sets of 10 reps.

11. Hamstring Stretches

Best stretches for hamstring and glutes
Image: YouTube @growingannanas

Work On – Hamstrings and Glutes

How To Do

  1. Stand with your feet wider than shoulder-width apart.
  2. Bend down from the waist to touch the floor.
  3. Walk your hands to touch the right foot. Count to 3.
  4. Walk your hands to touch the left foot. Count to 3. This completes one rep.
  5. Do 3 sets of 5-8 reps.

12. Inchworm

Inchworm bodyweight hamstring exercise for strong legs
Image: YouTube @growingannanas

Works On – Hamstrings, Glutes, and Quads
How To Do

  1. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart.
  2. Bend from the waist to touch both the feet. This is the starting position.
  3. Start walking forward with your hands.
  4. Come to a plank position and walk back with your hands to the starting position. This completes one rep.
  5. Do 3 sets of 5 reps.

13. Single Leg RDL

Young woman doing single-leg Romanian deadlift exercise
Image: Shutterstock

Works On – Hamstrings, glutes, calves, lower back, and core muscles

How To Do

  1. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart with the knees slightly bent.
  2. Hold weights in each hand (optional).
  3. Shift your weight onto one leg and lift the other one off the floor.
  4. Keep your back straight and chest up, hinge at your hips, and lower your torso.
  5. If you are using weights, lower them towards the ground, or you can just let your arms hang down naturally.
  6. Keep the arms, torso, and extended leg parallel to one another.
  7. Pause briefly and squeeze the glutes. Then, return to the starting position.
  8. Do 3 sets of 6 reps.

These bodyweight hamstring exercises require no weights or equipment. However, you can also include other strength training exercises in your fitness routine to target your hammies. Scroll down to find out what they are.

protip_icon Quick Tip
Adding 10 to 16 sets per week is the maximum volume you can do to strengthen your hamstrings. Also, you can stick to a single exercise or try a few hamstring exercises throughout the week.

What Are Other Bodyweight Exercises Good For Hamstrings?

These hamstring workouts are effective for lower and upper body flexibility and strengthening:

  • Squats and squats with pulses
  • Mountain climbers
  • Box jumps
  • Squat jumps
  • Burpees
  • Frog jumps
  • Shuffle squats
  • Jump lunges

Infographic: Top 3 Bodyweight Hamstring Exercises For Strong Legs

With technological advancements making life so easy, most of us lead rather sedentary lifestyles. It takes just a weekend walk around the neighborhood to realize how your legs tremble at the slightest exertion. However, a couple of reps of some easy-to-do leg exercises squeezed into your daily routine can go a long way. Check out the infographic below where we have summarized four exercises that will not take much of your time and restore strength and balance in your legs.

top 3 bodyweight hamstring exercises for strong legs (infographic)

Illustration: StyleCraze Design Team

Hamstrings at the back of your thighs are responsible for the ease of movement, walking, sitting, and standing. The above mentioned bodyweight hamstring exercises help tone and strengthen your hamstrings without the need of any fancy equipment. Utilizing the weight of your body, all you need is 20 minutes thrice a week to give you those lean, toned, and strong hamstrings over time.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do step ups work hamstrings?

Yes, step ups work hamstrings, quadriceps, and the gluteal muscles.

Do lunges make your hamstrings bigger?

Lunges affect the muscles and may make the hamstrings bigger if done in high volume and frequency.

Are lunges or squats better for hamstrings?

Both are beneficial for hamstrings. Leaning forward in lunges and going low in squats help work the hamstrings well.

Are lunges more quad or hamstring dominant?

An upright lunge is more quad dominant. However, leaning forward works the hamstrings.

Key Takeaways

  • Bodyweight training uses the weight of your body and helps in muscle building and toning.
  • These bodyweight hamstring exercises work on your legs and hamstrings without using any equipment.
  • Add these exercises 3 times a week to your workout routine to get those perfectly chiseled, toned, and strong legs.

bodyweight hamstring exercises

Image: Stable Diffusion/StyleCraze Design Team


Learn how to strengthen your hamstrings with easy bodyweight exercises! This video will show you how to get stronger with a simple strength training tutorial. Check it out!

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Sabrina Rahman

Sabrina RahmanCertified Fitness Trainer

Sabrina Rahman is a certified fitness trainer. She coaches 200 clients every month and trains thousands of women all over the world online, face to face to help them stay healthy and lose weight. She focuses on body weight, resistance, and HIIT training, which require minimal equipment and can be done from anywhere.read full bio

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