We wanted to give our readers more information on how to start building up strength and training their hamstrings. We aim to target muscles in your legs (that’s right, there’s no skipping leg day on our watch). So read along for excellent variations of some hamstring exercises and appropriate stretching movements.

Hamstrings are part of your posterior chain, meaning the backside of your body, and they are located opposite your quadriceps. Your hamstrings are a group of three muscles, including:

  • biceps femoris
  • semimembranosus
  • semitendinosus

These muscles help everyone walk, squat, jump, and perform other basic movements like extending your hip or flexing your knee.

We are starting this article with a series of stretching movements you can integrate into your routines for relief and increased flexibility. You could also jump ahead to go straight into the hamstring exercises suggestions in this blog.

All About That Stretch

There are several benefits to stretching, and while its effectiveness varies greatly depending on various factors, some people will feel motivated to include stretching movements in their routines to:

  • Avoid Injuries
  • Improve mobility in your legs and thighs
  • Decrease muscle soreness
  • Prevent lower back pain

Like we mentioned, stretching can be highly beneficial as a complement to your hamstring exercises. Still, you should always consult with a professional to ensure the activity is safe for you.

Static and Dynamic Stretches to Complement Hamstring Exercises

Static stretches are the ones where you hold the same position for some time. These are best after you finish your workout routines.

Dynamic stretches involve energetic and controlled movements to help warm up your body in preparation for more vigorous and demanding movements. Try those before you start your workout.

Keep in mind that none of the movements we will list below should cause any pain. If you feel any such sensation in your hip, thigh, or lower leg, stop immediately and get in contact with a doctor to check what could be the problem.

Simple Hamstring Stretch

Proceed with caution if you have any lower back pain.

  1. Sit on the floor with both legs out straight. This is your starting position.
  2. Reach forward, bending at the waist and extending your arms. Try to keep your knees straight and avoid rounding your back.
  3. Hold the position for 15 to 30 seconds.
  4. Relax into your starting position.
  5. Repeat three times.

The idea is to feel a gentle pull in the back of your thighs. Avoid rounding your back to prevent unnecessary stress in your lower back. If you feel any pain, you should stop the movement and slowly relax back into a more comfortable position.

A Standing Variation

This might be one of the easiest hamstrings stretches available, but always advance at your rhythm and try doing this near a wall or column you can grab onto if you lose balance.

  1. Stand up straight. This is the starting position.
  2. Extend one leg in front of you, resting that heel on a stool or another elevated surface.
  3. Keep your knee straight.
  4. Keep your back straight, reaching up with your arms.
  5. Lean forward, bending slightly from the hips until you feel a slight stretch in your hamstrings.
  6. Hold the position for 15 to 30 seconds.
  7. Relax into the starting position.
  8. Repeat three times.
  9. Switch legs and repeat the entire process.

Try Some Hamstring Exercises

Keep in mind these are all bodyweight versions of highly-efficient exercises to ease you into a better lifestyle.

Single Stiffed-Legged Deadlift

Deadlift variations are great exercises. This exercise version won’t stress your back muscle too much and is a good alternative if you want to build muscle.

  1. Stand with your feet together and extend your arms to your sides for balance.
  2. Lift one leg behind you as if you were kicking backward, but keep it straight at the knee
  3. Keep your working leg straight and hinge forward at your hips, reaching towards the floor with your arms. Go as low as you can go.
  4. Keep your back straight.
  5. Return to your starting position and repeat.

Balance can be tricky for this movement. You could try holding onto a solid object with one hand or picture a single spot on the wall and lock your eyes there while performing these movements.

Try the Glute Bridge

This is another basic lower posterior chain exercise. Untrue to its name, this is a hamstring exercise most people can do. Start doing a two-legged variation if you are starting, and slowly progress to a single-legged variation if you wish to increase the resistance level.

  1. Lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet closer to your glutes.
  2. Extend your arms to either side.
  3. Tighten your core.
  4. Lift your hips off the floor while squeezing your glutes and hamstrings.
  5. Lower your hips back to the floor.
  6. Repeat.

The Takeaway

It would be best if you tried working out all your muscle groups, gradually increasing resistance to build up your strength and improve your overall health. Remember to stop any of these exercises if you feel pain during any of the movements. The idea is to build muscle and increase your strength, not ruin your body.

You are always welcome at our installations; get in contact with us to learn more about becoming a member of our athletic club and become a part of Newport Beach’s fitness community.

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