12 Best At-Home Hamstring Exercises For Strong And Toned Legs

Written by Charushila Biswas
ISSA Certified Specialist in Fitness & Nutrition

Hamstrings, present at the back of your thighs, make walking, running, sitting, standing, and climbing the stairs possible. They also reduce the chance of muscle pull or leg pain during daily tasks. Fit and toned hammies serve athletic goals and make your legs appear aesthetically awe-inspiring.

Thankfully, you can train your hamstrings from the comfort of your home at your convenient time. Here are the 12 effective at-home hamstring exercises you can do with or without equipment. Check them out.

12 Effective Hamstring Exercises You Can Do At Home

Warm up your muscles for 10 minutes before starting the exercises. Do spot jogging, jumping jacks, arm circles, neck stretches, arm stretches, waist circles, side lunges, and ankle circles.

1. Good Morning

Good Morning

Youtube

Works On: Hamstrings and Glutes

How To Do

  1.  Stand straight with your feet shoulder-width apart. Keep your chest out, shoulders rolled back, and hands to the side. This is the starting position.
  2.  Bend your waist while keeping your back straight. Your back, neck, and head must be in a straight line. Push out your glutes if needed.
  3.  Pause for a moment and get back to the starting position.
  4.  Do 3 sets of 8 reps.

2. Lying Elevated Marches

Lying Elevated Marches

Youtube

Work On: Hamstrings, Glutes, and Abs

How To Do

  1.  Place your mat perpendicularly near a sofa or chair.
  2.  Lie down on the mat, place your ankles on the sofa or chair, and bend your knees.
  3.  Lift your hips off the floor with the hands by your sides or on your waist. This is the starting position.
  4.  Straighten your right and left legs alternately. Place one foot on the sofa or chair before extending the other leg.
  5.  Do 3 sets of 10 reps.

3. Leg Lift Extensions

Reverse Lunges

Youtube

Work On: Hamstrings, Quads, Glutes, and Lower abs

How To Do

  1.  Stand straight with your feet shoulder-width apart, knees slightly bent, palms together, shoulders rolled back, and chest up.
  2.  Take a step back with your right leg.
  3.  Bend both knees to lower your upper body. Stop when your right knee is just about to touch the floor.
  4.  Get back up, keeping the right knee bent. Bring the knee forward and kick gently.
  5.  Place your right leg back and lower your body into a lunge.
  6.  Do the same with the other leg.
  7.  Do 3 sets of 10 reps for each leg.

4. Dumbbell Deadlifts

Dumbbell Deadlifts

Youtube

Work On: Hamstrings, Quads, and Glutes

How To Do

  1.  Hold a dumbbell in each hand. Choose slightly heavier weights than you usually go for, but avoid dumbbells that are too heavy.
  2.  Stand straight with your feet shoulder-width apart, knees slightly bent, palms facing inward, hands resting on your thighs, and elbows slightly bent. Roll your shoulders back and look straight. This is the starting position.
  3.  Bend your body from the waist, keeping your back, neck, and head in a straight line.
  4.  Slide your hands through your thighs as you bend. Stop when your hands reach the middle of your shins. Make sure to keep your back straight and shoulders rolled back.
  5.  Pause for a moment and rise. Squeeze your glutes and press your hips forward.
  6.  Do 3 sets of 8 reps.

5. Single-Leg Deadlifts

Single-Leg Deadlifts

Youtube

Work On: Hamstrings, Quads, and Glutes

How To Do

  1.  Hold a dumbbell on your right hand.
  2.  Take a step forward with your left leg and place your body weight on your left knee. Keep your left knee slightly bent. This is the starting position.
  3.  Bend down from your waist and let your right hand with the dumbbells come down close to the floor. Lift your right leg off the floor and extend it back as you bend.
  4.  Pause for a moment and get back to the starting position.
  5.  Repeat 8 times before switching the dumbbell to the other hand.
  6.  Do 3 sets of 8 reps on each hand.

6. Swiss Ball Hamstring Curls

Swiss Ball Hamstring Curls

Youtube

Work On: Hamstrings, Quads, and Glutes

How To Do

  1.  Lie down on a mat and place your legs on a Swiss ball or stability ball. Place your hands on your sides and your palms flat on the floor.
  2.  Lift your hips off the floor. Make sure your legs, hips, and spine are in a straight line. This is the starting position.
  3.  Roll the ball inward to bring it closer to your glutes. Stop when the ball is directly under your feet.
  4.  Pause for a moment and roll the ball back to the starting position. Gently lower your hips.
  5.  Lift your hips again and repeat the exercise.
  6.  Do 3 sets of 8 reps.

7. Resistance Band Lying Leg Curls

Resistance Band Lying Leg Curls

Youtube

Work On: Hamstrings, Glutes, and Quads

How To Do

  1.  Secure a resistance band to the base of a heavy chair or sofa. Make sure there are two loops.
  2.  Secure your right leg into one of the loops and lie on a mat on your belly. Keep your head down and relax your shoulders. This is the starting position.
  3.  Keeping the left leg straight, lift your right leg off the floor, and bend it from the knees. Try to bring the right ankle close to your glutes.Note: Do not force or make sudden movements to gain momentum, as you might injure yourself.
  4.  Pause for a moment and slowly lower your right leg back to the starting position.
  5.  Do 10 reps before switching legs.
  6.  Do 3 sets of 10 reps for each leg.

8. Quadruped Single Leg Curl

Quadruped Single Leg Curl

Youtube

Works On: Hamstrings, Glutes, and Quads

How To Do

  1.  Get on all fours. Make sure your elbows are directly under your shoulders.
  2.  Lift your right leg off the ground and extend it back.
  3.  Bend your right knee and bring your right ankle close to the hips.
  4.  Extend your right leg back.
  5.  Do this 10 times before switching legs.
  6.  Do 3 sets of 10 reps with each leg.

9. Bulgarian Single-Leg Romanian Deadlift

Bulgarian Single-Leg Romanian Deadlift

Youtube

Works On: Hamstrings and Glutes
How To Do

  1.  Hold a dumbbell in each hand.
  2.  Stand facing away from a sofa or a bench. Place your right foot on the sofa or the bench. Keep your left knee soft, hands by your sides, shoulders rolled back, and look forward. This is the starting position.
  3.  Inhale and bend your body from the waist. Keep your back, neck, and head in a straight line.
  4.  Stop when you reach a little more than halfway through your shin.
  5.  Pause for a moment and return to the starting position. Exhale as you do so.
  6.  Do 8 repetitions before switching legs.
  7.  Do 3 sets of 8 reps for each leg.

10. Nordic Curls

Nordic Curls

Youtube

Work On: Hamstrings, Quads, Glutes, and Deltoids
How To Do

  1.  Kneel on a mat and face away from your sofa. Secure your ankles under the sofa, as shown in the image. You can also ask your partner to hold your ankles. This is the starting position.
  2.  Slowly and gently, let your upper body fall on the mat. Keep your back straight. Place your palms in a push-up position to prevent injury.
  3.  Push back up to the starting position.
  4.  Do 3 sets of 8 reps.

11. Standing Hamstring Curl

Standing Hamstring Curl

Youtube

Works On: Hamstrings

How To Do

  1.  Stand near a wall with your feet hip-width apart. Place your right palm on the wall for support. Keep your left hand on the waist. This is the starting position.
  2.  Lift your left foot off the floor, bend your knee, and bring your left ankle close to your glutes.
  3.  Pause for a moment and bring your foot back to the starting position.
  4.  Do 12 repetitions before switching legs.
  5.  Do 3 sets of 12 reps for each leg.

12. Inchworm

Inchworm

Youtube

Works On: Hamstrings, Quads, Glutes, Abs, and Shoulders

How To Do

  1.  Stand straight with your feet hip-width apart. Bend down from your waist and touch the toes with your fingertips. This is the starting position.
  2.  Walk forward with your hands and come to a plank position.
  3.  Pause for a moment. Walk on your toes until your toes and fingertips are close, and you are back to the starting position.
  4.  Do this 5 times.

You can easily practice these hamstring exercises at home. Make sure to warm up and cool down before and after the exercises. If you feel cool-down stretches are not enough, there is another way to relax your hammies.

Best Way To Relax Hamstring Muscles Post Workout

A great way to relax the hamstrings post-workout is to use foam rollers. If you do not have a foam roller, use a sturdy water bottle. Here’s how to use a foam roller or water bottle to massage your hamstrings.

Best Way To Relax Hamstring Muscles Post Workout

Youtube

  •  Place the foam roller on a mat. Sit on the mat and place one leg on the foam roller.
  •  Place both the palms on the floor behind you for support and lift your hips. This is the starting position.
  •  Slide your body forward and let the foam roller roll and move up towards your glutes.
  •  Slide your body back to the starting position and let the foam roller move down towards the back of your knees.
  •  Do this 15 times for each leg.

Foam rolling is an excellent way to relax your muscles, and hamstrings are no exception. Vibrating foam rollers also help relax the muscles, improve flexibility, and prevent injuries.

How Often Should You Do Hamstring Exercises?

Include any five of these hamstring exercises thrice a week in your leg routine for effective results.

Hamstring exercises are great for your legs. However, it is best to avoid them in certain situations.

When To Avoid Hamstring Exercises

Avoid hamstring exercises if you have:

  •  A pulled leg muscle
  •  Leg pain and injury
  •  Recently got leg surgery

Conclusion

Strong, flexible hamstring muscles enable steady and agile movement. Your hammies contribute to superior lower body strength required for daily activities, from walking to dancing and working out. Practice these hamstring exercises at home thrice a week for about 20 minutes. Take your leg workout to the next level, and you will notice a visible improvement.

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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.