The hamstrings are an important part of “leg day” that shouldn’t be avoided. They serve many functions outside of the obvious, such as allowing us to flex or bend our knees. They also help us thrust our hips, tilt our pelvis and run fast, and they assist in building amazing glutes! So how can you build stronger hamstrings? Integrate these training tips:
- Use deadlifts: Deadlifts are a fantastic exercise to strengthen your hamstrings. You can choose a variation such as Romanian deadlifts or sumo deadlifts to effectively strengthen the hamstrings. I’d suggest starting with a lighter weight when performing these exercises, as I’ve seen far too many people utilize other muscles if they go too heavy. You also can cause serious harm to the back and spine if you don’t have your form dialed in. As you perform them, use your lats to pull the bar back into your body, and sit your hips back as you feel a stretch in your hamstrings. Also, focus on keeping the weight as close to your body in a vertical position as possible, and fully extend your hips at the top of the movement.
- Train unilaterally: While people tend to get caught up in lifting heavy weights, it’s important to remember that you can build significant strength by working one limb at a time. Single-leg deadlifts are a fantastic exercise to isolate the hamstrings without putting too much load on the spine. They also require stabilization and balance, recruiting muscles throughout the hamstring and thigh that are crucial when it comes to improving hamstring strength.
- Do glute-ham raises and stability ball hamstring curls: These are awesome exercises to build stronger hamstrings. Unfortunately they are often forgotten about or overlooked. The portability and stabilizing benefits as well as the isolating effect make this duo far superior to most other leg exercises.
- Seek variety: Avoid monotony in the gym. Challenge your hamstrings, just like any other muscle group, with a variation of speeds, weight and volume!