THE BEST EXERCISES TO STRENGTHEN, TONE AND SHAPE YOUR HAMSTRINGS
The hamstrings consist of three muscles located at the back of the upper thigh. These muscles are responsible for flexing the knees and assisting the glutes when we move the thigh backward and extend the hip. Working the hamstrings helps tone and shape the back of the thighs, lifts the glutes and increases speed and endurance. If strong, sculpted hamstrings are what you’re after, add these 10 exercises to your workout schedule and become one with the deadlift!
1 ROMANIAN DEADLIFT
The romanian deadlift targets the back of the legs and glutes, and strengthens the lower back and calves. When performed correctly, this exercise helps prevent injuries in the hamstrings and lower back.
2 SINGLE LEG DEADLIFT
Working on one side at a time improves body simmetry and challenges the stability and strength of the core muscles. The single leg deadlift also enhances balance and posture and increases hamstring strength.
3 HEEL BEATS
The heel beats is a Pilates move that targets the glutes and the hamstrings and slims down the legs. This exercise strengthens, tones and sculpts the posterior chain muscles and lengthens the hamstrings.
4 LUNGE BACK KICK
The lunge back kick moves the hamstrings through their full range of motion activating the muscles more effectively for a better training stimulus.
5 PILATES GRASSHOPPER
The grasshopper is a pilates move that strengthens and lengthens the hamstrings and lifts the glutes.
6 BULGARIAN SPLIT SQUAT
The bulgarian split squat is a great exercise for building hamstring strength while also minimizing strain on the lower back. Push slowly through the heels to take the stress away from the quads.
7 HAMSTRING CURLS
This exercise isolates the hamstrings and the glutes and works both the knee flexion and the hip extension function of the hamstrings.
8 FRONT AND BACK LUNGES
Lunges work the hamstring muscles when you step forward and backward. As you lunge the hamstrings help flex and stabilize the knee, and as you stand back up they work to extend the hip.
9 PLANK LEG LIFS
The plank leg lifts is a full body exercise that trains not only your hamstrings but also your core, legs, glutes, and shoulders. This exercise strengthens and tones your whole body and improves your posture and stability.
10 DUMBBELL SWING
The dumbbell swing is a great exercise to finish your hamstring training. This dynamic movement targets the glutes, thighs and core muscles and helps you develop strength, explosive power, and endurance.
FINAL TIPS FOR STRONG AND SHAPELY HAMSTRINGS
TIP 1 – Start your hamstring training with a lower body warm up.
TIP 2 – Choose appropriate ankle weights and do 3 sets of 12 to 15 repetitions. It’s important to start light and build up the weight as your strength increases.
TIP 3 – Finish the workout with a lower body stretching routine.
TIP 4 – Do 30 minute cardio workouts at least 3 times a week and add upper body, core and lower body workouts to your weekly schedule.
TIP 5 – Eat 20-30 grams of protein per meal to build and maintain your muscle mass.
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