Hamstrings are the forgotten muscle. When we think of legs, most of us will head straight to quad work. This is great and totally necessary, but without balance in your training, you are not going to go very far. It is extremely important to include a range of hamstring exercises into your training, and you often need to isolate them relatively. There are very few people out there that actually have adequate hamstring development, and there is usually a lot of work needed.
Why You Need To Work Your Hamstrings
- Balance Training: Most guys and gals will head into the gym and start squatting and leg pressing. This is great, and is probably a whole lot more than most people do, but at the end of the day we need balance in our training. Do unto your hammies that you do unto your quads.
- Prevent Knee Injuries: Having huge quads in itself can sometimes cause problems. But without some big hamstrings behind them, you are looking at even more danger. Balance is the key, and none of us want to get injured.
- Improve Performance: You hamstrings are without a doubt the key to performance. Without strong hammies, you can’t run fast, you can’t jump high and you will not be explosive. You want to improve all these thins, which any athlete does, then you need to do some serious work on your hamstrings.
7 Great Hamstring Exercises
Here are 7 of my favourite hamstring exercises, and some vids and pics on how to perform them.
Swiss Ball Hamstring Curls
This is a great exercise for general hamstring conditioning, it is tougher than it looks. Try it with one leg if two legs is too easy.
The standard exercise, I like to do them with two legs up and one leg down, to get an extra eccentric element. Works them harder and gets faster results.
Stiff Leg Deadlift
Tough exercise but great for building your hamstrings.
Single Leg Stiff Leg Deadlift
Same thing as above but single leg, has a balance element to it. You can do it holding a medicine ball like the vid, or dumbbells at your side.
Quite tough, I would recommend getting a handle on the other exercises before moving to this one. But it does work your hamstrings well.
Super tough, try it once and you will be sore for days!
For those sprinters out there, this is a great eccentric way to work your hamstrings, not for bulk. This is also an easy exercise to do at home, you don’t need any equipment and can get a lot out of it.