Don't Forget Your Posterior Chain - Hamstrings Exercises For The Criminally Insane

Hamstrings consist of biceps femoris, semitendinosus, and semimembranosus. Hamstrings are mostly active during knee flexion. Semitendinosus and semimembranosus also rotate the knee and tibia medially when the knee is flexed. Yet, there is a great trick to put hamstring muscles on fire. Find a drill that gives the highest amount of pressure on its biggest muscle - biceps femoris!

There are many variations with kettlebells, dumbbells, resistance bands. You can even use a partner or other objects to keep your legs steady. When it comes to hamstring training, creativity comes first. Technique comes second. And the movement speed comes third. To place greater load on your hamstrings, perform the exercise slower.

The squat is a great hamstring drill. But let's think creatively. We’ll describe to you the three best hamstring exercise without squatting movement!


Top 3 Most Demanding And Most Effective Hamstring Drills


Nordic Hamstring Curl

This exercise is nicknamed "hamstring killer"  for a reason. Try to perform it slowly and you will see why.


·        Kneel keeping your hands next to your body. Make sure the partner sits on the top of your heels and lower third of your calves. This is your starting position.

·        Keeping your back flat and glutes tightened, start descending slowly. When you can't go more drop down into push-up position putting your hands in the level of your shoulders. Inhale.

·        Explode of your arms and push your body backward. Return to the starting position keeping your back flat all the time. Exhale as you ascend.

·        Perform the desired number of repetitions.

Mistakes and tips:

·        Look straight ahead all the time, not to the left or right.

·        If you curve your back, it is cheating.

·        Perform the exercise as slow as possible for the greatest effect.

·        Keep your glutes tightened all the time.

·        Do not move your hips, keep them stationary.

·        If the partner can't hold your legs, you can put them onto a machine or another stationary object.

·        Don't fall like a tree in the beginning phase of an exercise.

·        Put your arms narrower than your shoulder-width when you touch the ground. This will make the exercise harder.

·        Your stomach or chest mustn't have any contact with the surface.


Single Leg Lying Hamstring Curls With Resistance Bands

We recommend you do one leg each so you can apply more pressure to it.


·        Fasten the resistance band to some solid object like a pole or a pipe. Lay prone making sure your band is extended when your working leg is put inside it.

·        Flex your leg trying to touch your buttocks. Exhale.

·        Return to the starting position with control. Inhale.

·        Perform the desired number of repetitions. Switch your legs and perform the same movement pattern for the opposite leg.

·        Continue until the remainder of the set.

Mistakes and tips:

·        The resistance band has to be tightened in the starting position. It leads to the greatest effect.

·        Do not lift your body off the ground.

·        You mustn't lift your hips off the floor, it is cheating.

·        Look straight ahead all the time.


Dumbbell Stiff-Legged Single Leg Deadlift

This exercise is technically harder. Yet, there is no need to worry. When you master the technique, you can build tremendous hamstrings in a very short period of time.


·        Begin the exercise standing with your feet shoulder-width apart. Pick up the dumbbell off the ground and stand straight with your core tight. Keep your chest up, chin tucked in, and hold the dumbbell in your left hand. This is your starting position.

·        Begin to bend over slowly and extend your right leg behind you. Keep your left leg as straight as possible throughout the motion. Try to bring the dumbbell as close as possible to your left foot and exhale.

·        Return to the starting position with control and exhale.

·        Perform the desired number of repetitions. Switch your legs and perform the same movement pattern for the opposite leg.

·        Continue until the exercise is completed.

Mistakes and tips:

·        You will definitely need some core control and stability since you need to balance on one foot. The exercise is not for beginners.

·        As you bend over the goal is to maintain the straight line from your heel to your head.

·        If you are a beginner use the stable structure for support to prevent dropping and balance loss.

·        You can perform the movement with a slight kickback if you are an advanced practitioner.

·        You must keep your back and head flat all the time. Forget about being a hunchback!

·        Forget about rotating your body to the sides.


Final Word

We hope we’ve loaded your brain with ideas on how to strengthen your hamstrings. Don't give up and be creative. If the exercise is too hard, try performing an easier one! Hamstrings can be hard to strengthen but your persistence will surely pay off in the end!