Choosing the right exercises for your muscle groups can be hard, and it’s no different for your hamstrings. The hamstrings aren’t a muscle you can see in the mirror, which usually means it is a little neglected. A lot of people have a hard time even flexing their hamstrings, unless they are touching them and/or looking directly at them. These movements are ideal for proper hamstring training, so make sure to try them out!
1 - Romanian Deadlift
The Romanian Deadlift, or RDL, is the king off all hamstring work. You can use barbells, dumbbells, resistance bands, and even the cable station. If you want to build a little more unilateral strength and stability, try doing these one leg at a time.
2 - Lying Leg Curls
Your gym might not have a lying leg curl machine for you to use. If they don’t, you can substitute it with dumbbell leg curls, although this usually requires a partner. The machine is a much better workout than with a dumbbell or bands, so I’d just skip this if the machine isn’t available.
3 - Good Mornings
Good mornings require proper form to ensure you don’t hurt yourself. While some people think this movement is a simple bend at the hips, you need to push your hips back throughout the ROM to maximize safety and effectiveness. Place the barbell on your upper back like a back squat if you are just starting out. It should feel like you are stretching your hamstrings during this exercise, which you actually are doing. Don’t let your ego win by going as heavy as possible. Instead, make use of lighter weights and perfect form.
4 - Seated Leg Curls
Seated leg curl machines are more common than lying machines. It does hit the hamstrings a bit differently than the lying leg curl, so you can do both if you have access to both. I like to do a 2 down, 1 up rep scheme to really overload the negative portion of the movement to fatigue the hamstrings.
5 - Stability Ball Leg Curls
This is the only body weight movement that is awesome for the hamstrings. Hip Bridge works great until you get too strong for this simple movement. Hip thrusts can be used for hamstrings, but I prefer to use them to focus on glutes. So, the ball leg curl is the best body weight option. Whether you use both legs, or just one, this movement is awesome for high rep training. It depends on how strong your hamstrings are.