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Which Are The Best Exercises For Hamstrings?

Discover the most effective exercises to strengthen your hamstrings and enhance your lower body strength in this comprehensive article.

  • 30 Oct 2023
  • 4 min read

When aiming to develop a strong and balanced lower body, it’s important not to underestimate the significance of the hamstring muscle group. Despite this, hamstrings are frequently disregarded during workouts. These muscles are pivotal in stabilising the hips, supporting the knees, and boosting overall athletic capabilities. You can efficiently focus on these muscles and reinforce them by integrating appropriate exercises into your workout regimen. Within this guide, we will delve into the optimal exercises for hamstrings that will set you on the path to attaining a well-proportioned and sculpted lower body.


Best exercises for hamstrings

Some exercises that work the hamstrings include:

  1. Deadlift
  2. Glute-ham raise
  3. Bulgarian split squats
  4. Hamstring curls
  5. Stretches


1.    Deadlift

While the deadlift is known as a full-body exercise, it’s worth noting that it heavily involves working out the hamstrings, especially during the initial phase of the lift.


To perform the deadlift:

  • Stand with your feet hip-width apart, with the barbell over your midfoot.
  • Use an overhand or mixed grip to bend your hips and knees while gripping the barbell.
  • Keeping your back flat, drive through your heels, and lift the barbell while extending your hips and knees.
  • Lower the barbell back to the ground with control.


2.    Glute-ham raise

The glute-ham raise is a lesser-known yet incredible exercise among the effective workouts for hamstrings development. This movement targets the hamstrings and engages the glutes and lower back.


To perform the glute-ham raise:

  • Secure your feet under the footpads of a glute-ham raise machine or have a partner hold them down.
  • Maintain a straight posture and lower your body until your torso becomes parallel to the ground.
  • Use your hamstrings to return to the beginning position.


3.    Bulgarian split squats

While primarily known as a quadriceps exercise, the Bulgarian split squat can also engage the hamstrings effectively, especially when performed with an emphasis on the lowering phase.


To perform the Bulgarian split squat:

  • Stand a few steps away from a bench or elevated surface, with your back to it.
  • Place one foot behind you on the bench and the other in front.
  • Step into a lunge, keeping your front knee from extending past your toes.


4.    Hamstring curls

You can use the hamstring curl machine for this exercise. This machine directly targets the hamstrings. It’s a great option for fully engaging these muscles without involving other muscle groups.


To perform the hamstring curl:

  • Adjust the machine’s settings to fit your body; ensure your ankles remain aligned with the machine’s axis.
  • Secure yourself in the machine and grip the handles if available.
  • Curl your legs upward, contracting your hamstrings fully.
  • Slowly lower the weight back and reach your starting position.

Also read:

5.   Stretches for hamstrings

Stretching your hamstrings is essential for maintaining flexibility and preventing muscle tightness. Here are some effective stretches for the hamstrings.


  1. Standing hamstring stretch:
  • Stand up straight and keep your feet hip-width apart.
  • Extend one leg forward and place your heel on a slightly elevated surface, like a step or a low bench.
  • Hold a straight (but not locked) knee and hinge at the hips so that it touches your toes.
  • Feel the stretch in the back of your extended leg.
  • Hold for 20-30 seconds; now switch legs.


  1. Seated hamstring stretch:
  • Place your feet flat on the floor in front of you and sit down.
  • Bend one knee; now place your foot's sole against the opposite leg's inner thigh.
  • Lean forward from your hips, reaching your hands toward your toes on the extended leg.
  • Keep your back straight; avoid rounding your shoulders.
  • Remain in this position for 20-30 seconds, then switch legs.



Strong and properly developed hamstrings are vital in achieving lower body balance and enhancing overall athletic performance. The above best exercises for hamstrings enable the effective engagement of these muscles from various perspectives, ensuring their comprehensive growth. It’s important to initiate your routine with a suitable weight load and emphasise correct posture to optimise the advantages of each exercise while mitigating the potential for injury.

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