Hamstrings are similar to other muscles that require training to grow them. Using the right bodyweight hamstring exercises, you can get strong and flexible legs, prevent injuries, and enhance your functional fitness. You must know that building, growing, and strengthening your hamstrings without equipment or weights is not so difficult. You can do so in the comfort of your house using just your body weight.
This article will inform you how you can work your hamstrings without any equipment when you are at home. It lists some useful hamstring exercises without equipment that can be done without a gym. Plus, they are very effective and show genuine results.
What are hamstrings?
Hamstrings are the muscles at the back of your legs or precisely, they form the three muscles at the back of your thighs. These muscles help you bend your leg using your knee. They are used daily when you run, walk, and climb and descend stairs. When you work your hammies, they grow and become strong, thus adding to your overall body functionality.
Warming up your hamstrings
Before you start exercising, you must properly warm up your hamstring muscle just like you do for other muscles. It is very common for people to get a pulled or torn hamstring since these muscles are more prone to injury. A 10-minute warm-up session will prepare your muscles and avoid any hamstring pull.
Some of the hamstring stretches that you can do before doing any physical activity are listed below:
- Simple hamstring stretch: In this, you have to sit while extending your legs outwards and then bending forward from your waist while locking out your knees. Then, you need to extend your arms in front, which will make you feel a slight pull at the back of your legs. You need to stay in this stretch for 30 to 60 seconds and then go back to the initial position. Repeat this two to three times.
- One leg hamstring stretch: This is the same as the simple hamstring stretch; you just have to do it with one leg at a time and keep the other leg bent so that your sole aligns with your other thigh. Start with your left leg and then your right leg.
- Standing hamstring stretch: In this, you have to stand and cross your right leg over your left leg. Keep your spine straight while locking out your knees so that your legs are straight. Bend at your hip to bring your chest toward your thigh and hold this position for 30 to 60 seconds before going back to the initial position. Repeat this with your other leg now.
You will feel a slight pull when you do these hamstring stretches. However, do not keep pushing yourself till you feel pain because then you might pull the muscle. This means if you cannot reach the floor or your toes, then also it’s okay.
Just do it till you feel your muscles stretching and with time, you will be able to bend more with increased flexibility. You can also perform some general neck circles and tilts, shoulder circles, waist circles, arm circles, ankle circles, and side lunges for warming up.
Top hamstring exercises without equipment
These are the five hamstring exercises without equipment that just require your body weight. You can do them thrice a week for 20 to 30 minutes after warming up for 10 minutes. Do these hamstrings exercises consistently to also increase your muscular mass, strength, and endurance.
1. Glute hamstring walkout
This exercise can be done by anyone. It targets your legs, butt, glutes, and hamstrings. This exercise works your hamstrings in two ways, by extending your hips and flexing your knee. It has a longer time under tension or TUT as compared to others. This is because you just have to take five to eight steps to extend your legs before returning to your starting position while engaging your glutes and core. For this, you have to:
- Lie down on your back while keeping your feet flat on the ground and knees bent so that they point upwards.
- Raise your back and butt in the direction of the ceiling while contracting your abs, core, and glutes, thus forming a straight line from your shoulders to knees. This way only your shoulders are left on the floor. Do not hyperextend your lower back or let your back curve a lot in order to lift your hips. At the same time, do not drop them so that your body sags.
- Walk one of your feet away from your glutes till your legs are fully extended or nearly straight while keeping your hip lifted. Keep your weight in your heels; you can also lift your toes off the floor for this.
- Hold this position for a while.
- Bring your feet back toward your glutes to the initial position with your feet almost a foot away from your butt and then do this with your other leg.
2. Toe-elevated Romanian deadlift
This exercise is for every level and it targets your glutes, hamstring, abs, butt, and legs. For this, you need to:
- Stand keeping your feet shoulder-width or hip-width apart while elevating your toes on a low step or book and keeping your arms straight in front of you.
- Hinge your torso forward and push your butt back as much as you can so that your back stays flat.
- Lean forward so your torso is almost parallel to the floor while slightly bending your knees. This will engage your glutes, core, and upper back.
- Push your buttocks forward to go back to the standing position.
3. Single-leg Romanian deadlift
Anyone can do this unilateral lower body workout, which targets your abs, butt, and legs. It is the same as the Romanian deadlift but is done with a single leg at a time. This exercise focuses on each side separately and is great for any strength or muscle imbalances. You have to:
- Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart.
- Put your left foot back towards the left side while bending your knee and standing on the toe of your rear leg.
- Keep your weight in your right leg that is planted on the ground with just a slight bend in that knee. This is your starting position.
- Push your buttocks back while tilting your torso in the front and keeping your back flat. This will engage your glutes, core, and standing leg.
- Bend in the front till you are almost parallel to the floor and try to reach it with your hand. However, do not put your weight on your arms.
- Bring back your hips in the front to go back to the initial position.
- Do it with your other leg after you finish all your reps in this position.
4. Sumo squat to stand
This is for all levels and it targets your legs and butt. It strengthens your hamstrings. Just make sure that you do this work out slowly as it fully stretches your hamstring and do not go beyond your range. You need to:
- Stand with your feet a bit wider than shoulder-width apart, facing outwards at 45 degrees.
- Lower down in a full squat while bending your knees and keeping your back up, chest upright, hands together, and knees aligned to your toes.
- Return to the standing position while pressing your heels. This will completely extend your hamstrings.
- Bend your knees again to return to the same squat position and then repeat this.
5. Single-leg glute bridge
This exercise uses a single leg at a time and works on your glutes and hamstrings. It focuses on each side individually, which is great for people whose one side is stronger. However, you must not do it if you suffer from lower backache. In order to do this workout, you need to:
- Lie on a mat with your feet flat on the ground and knees bend.
- Put your hands on your sides with your palms on the ground.
- Raise your right leg vertically in the air towards the ceiling and your left foot on the floor. Alternatively, you can also cross your right leg over to rest your foot on the other knee. This is your initial position.
- Raise your butt off the ground till your shoulders, spine, glutes, and knees are in a straight line. Keep your right leg stretched and your left foot on the floor while engaging your glutes and abdominal muscles. This is called the glute bridge.
- Bring back your glutes slowly to the ground so that you return to the initial position.
- Repeat this 10 times and then switch legs.
These hamstring exercises without equipment are great to strengthen your hammies and make them strong and flexible so that you have well-shaped and fit thighs. They will also make your legs strong, toned, and fit.
You can easily do these exercises in your home or anywhere else without going to the gym. They will make your daily activities, such as sitting, walking, and running easier and enhance your overall sports performance as well.
With different bodyweight options, you can add any one or all of these exercises to your leg workout routine in order to strengthen your lower body. Plus, you can use them as a warm-up prior to starting with lifting exercises.