12 Best Bodyweight Hamstring Exercises To Strengthen Your Legs

Reviewed by Sabrina Rahman, Certified Fitness Trainer
By Charushila Biswas, MSc (Biotechnology), ISSA Certified Fitness Nutritionist

Bodyweight hamstring exercises guarantee strong and flexible legs without lifting weights. No, you don’t need to head to the gym. You can do these exercises 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 12 best bodyweight hamstring exercises you must incorporate into your workout routine. Do these exercises 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. Swipe up!

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

How to do bodyweight hamstring curl exercises

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 curl exercise for strong legs

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 exercise for hamstring

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 tap is an effective bodyweight hamstring exercise

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 exercise for hamstring

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 is a powerful hamstring exercise

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 help relieve hamstring issues

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 tap exercise for hamstring and quads

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 are a must-do hamstring exercise

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 keep hamstring problems at bay

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

Best stretches for hamstring and glutes

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 bodyweight hamstring exercise for strong legs

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

Key Takeaways

  • Bodyweight exercises use the weight of your body to tone and build muscles.
  • 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.

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.

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author
Charushila is an ISSA certified Fitness Nutritionist and a Physical Exercise Therapist. Over a span of 5 years, she has... more

Sabrina Rahman

(Certified Fitness Trainer)
Sabrina Rahman is a certified fitness trainer. She coaches 200 clients every month and trains thousands of women all over... more

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