The hamstring muscles, along with the quads, are the largest muscle groups in the human body. Strong, developed legs are not only necessary for a balanced bodybuilding form, but they are also specifically needed to lift heavy weights from a standing position.
The following hamstring exercises are some of the best to effectively develop your hamstring muscles, giving them mass, tone and definition.
Top 5 Hamstring Exercises
These top 5 hamstring exercises work to produce maximum results in hamstring development. Employ these hamstring exercises throughout your strength training program. To develop massive hamstrings as well as fantastic physique, tackle the MP45 Program that uses H.I.S.T. (high intensity stimulation training) methods to bulk you up quick.
Hamstring Exercise #1 – Barbell Deadlift –
The deadlift is a staple exercise for building leg strength as it employs all the leg muscles to accomplish it. By using proper barbell deadlift form, you not only utilize all the muscles of the leg, but you also improve stability and core strength.
Hamstring Exercise #2 – Stiff Leg Deadlift –
This is a powerful hamstring exercise because it better incorporates the backs of the legs for lift strength whereas most of the power to perform a standard deadlift is derived from the back (lower and upper). To perform the stiff leg deadlift, start from a slightly raised platform which allows you to reach a lower weight threshold than normal providing a greater stretch of the hamstrings. Once you lift the weight to the top, bend over slightly until you reach a comfortable stretching of the hamstrings. Then drive the weight back upwards using your hips.
Hamstring Exercise #3 – Wide Stance Box Squats –
Regular squats are good for the legs overall. However, by stepping up onto a box or other solid platform, you increase the amount of stress placed on the hamstrings. By using a wide stance at the start and finish of each box squat, you increase the load on the hamstrings. Use your legs and hips to drive the weight from the stance to the top of the box (platform).
Hamstring Exercise #4 – Lying Leg Curls –
By completing leg curls from a lying position, you specifically target the hamstring muscles for further development and definition. Using a leg curl machine armed with an appropriate weight, lie on your stomach, place your ankles beneath the foot pegs and curl the weight until you feel a comfortable stretching of the hamstrings. Avoid hyperextension of the knees at the end of the release portion of the exercise.
Hamstring Exercise #5 – Plate Drags –
This is another good hamstring builder that uses the resistance of weight plates to develop hamstring muscles. Grab some free weights, lay on the floor facing upwards and fully extend your legs. Place the heel of one foot in the center hole of a weight plate and bend your leg toward you, dragging the plate as you do. Extend your leg by dragging the plate back to the starting position. Repeat using the opposite leg. Build to larger weight plates as you develop hamstring strength.