12 Best Bodyweight Hamstring Exercises For Fit And Strong Legs

Written by Charushila Biswas
ISSA Certified Specialist in Fitness & Nutrition

Is it possible to build strong and flexible legs without weights? A big yes! But merely focusing on the quads will not cut it. Working on your hamstrings is equally important. Don’t have workout equipment or a gym subscription? Worry not. Your body weight is the best equipment you can use. Check out the 12 best bodyweight hamstring exercises that you can incorporate in your workout. Do these thrice a week for 20 minutes at home or gym and get stronger, fitter, and well-toned legs. Scroll down to begin.

12 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

Hamstring Curls

Source: YouTube

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.

2. Prone Hamstring Curls

Prone Hamstring Curls

Source: YouTube

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

Source: YouTube

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 Taps

Source: YouTube

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

Source: YouTube

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

Source: YouTube

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

Source: YouTube

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 Taps

Source: YouTube

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

Source: YouTube

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

Source: YouTube

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

Hamstring Stretches

Source: YouTube

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

Source: YouTube

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.

These bodyweight hamstring exercises require no weights or equipment. However, you can also practice other exercises to target your hammies. Scroll down to find out what they are.

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

In Conclusion

 Flexible and strong hamstrings contribute to fit and well-shaped thighs. This makes walking, running, sitting, and other activities easier and helps improve sports performance. Go ahead and include these exercises in your leg workout day to amplify your lower body strength.

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Charushila Biswas is a Senior Content Writer and an ISSA Certified Specialist in Fitness & Nutrition. She is an alumni of VIT University, Vellore and has worked on transgenic wheat as a part of her Masters dissertation from NRCPB (IARI), New Delhi. After completing her Masters, she developed a passion for nutrition and fitness, which are closely related to human psychology. This prompted her to author a review article in 2015. She has written over 200 articles on Fitness and Nutrition. In her leisure time, Charushila loves to cook and enjoys mobile photography.