Hey. Hi. Hello!
We did it. I made it through 8 days straight of working, and let me tell you it was a roller coaster of emotions. Traffic was slow, sales were low, commission was 100% NOT made this week. But ya know what? That’s ok because I survived, and we’re in Flo Rida now, ready to get scared at Halloween Horror Nights, and eat my way around the world at the Food and Wine Festival!
A while ago I posted an article about the best glute exercises. Everyone these days is really trying to work on their instagram booty, and honestly, I support that. Since I already have that blog up, I debated not posting that, because honestly half of the exercises that are great for the butt are also great for targeting the hamstrings too. (Also, if I’ll be honest, I once saw a video of a guy who had wicked defined hamstrings and it hurt my soul because it looked really gross. I’m not encouraging you to take it that far, but like just follow me here, this article will be worth it.)
I’m a quad-dominant person, which means the majority of my lower-body power comes through my quads. I think any ex-soccer player is the same way. Our quads are jacked, and will remain jacked because we just can’t stop working out. However, the glutes and hamstrings aren’t doing anything but chilling back there AND IM SICK OF THAT. I’m not here for any muscles to slack off. So, I’ve been working on getting my glutes and hammies to do werk.
The glutes and hamstrings make up the posterior chain of the legs, so, as I said before, a lot of exericses that are listed here and on my glutes post are going to definitely target both of these muscle groups. However, each of these movements can be modified so that they can add increased tension to either the glutes or the hammies, depending on what muscles you’re looking to target on a given day.
I’ve found that it’s especially good to start with some banded activation work to get these things (aka your hamstrings) awake and ready to go. Also, taking the movements slower and using ligher weights until you can find the form that best adds tension where it should be. So, without further adieu, let’s get down to business (to defeat the hamstrings).
Good mornings are basically weighted hip hinges aka the first part of your squat. It’s best done with something that will evenly add tension across the body as opposed to with dumbbells. You want to push your hips out while keeping your spine neutral, basically as if you’re trying to close the door with your (toned and defined) ass. I love to throw this in at the beginning of a compound leg day, because they’re great for preparing your hamstrings to take some load on the way up from squats.
Variations: Using barbell, Using EZ Bar, Using large resistance band around body
Lying Leg Curls
Every gym has a hamstring machine. I’d say the majority of them are the lying leg curl, but some of them are the stupid seated hamstring curl. If you belong to a gym that has one of those, cancel your membership immediately and find somewhere else. I find absolutely nothing effective about that machine. The lying leg curl I find is more effective, especially if you work to keep your hips ground into the machine. I just feel the tension more where I’m supposed to because they’re really doing work, as opposed to on the stupid seated machine. Can also work really well if you place a dumbbell between your feet on a bench or the floor.
Variations: With the machine, On bench with dumbbell between feet, Using large resistance band tied to a surface
There’s no way a deadlift wouldn’t make this list (in fact they make it twice). Compared to a regular deadlift, the romanian deadlift is so so so SO good for the hamstrings. Basically, it’s a straightleg deadlift (with a lil bend in the knee). You most likely won’t be able to pull as much weight as you normally could in a deadlift, but you’ll feel this so much more. It can sometimes be a hard position to get used to, but once you find the foot width that works, it’ll be amazing. Plus, there’s 1001 different variations to try!
Variations: Using barbell, Using dumbbells, Using kettlebell, Using EZ bar, Toes elevated, Heels elevated, Using a large resistance band around body
Glute bridges are, obviously, really really great for the glutes. However, I always find that my hamstrings want to take over halfway through, especially if I keep my toes elevated so I’m really driving the movement up through my heels. Like the Romanian Deadlift, there are so many different variations for this one, but as long as you’re driving up through your heels, you’re going to feel it in your hamstrings no matter what.
Variations: Single leg glute bridge, Incline glute bridge, Using gliders, using a medicine ball, Using resistance band, Weighted glute bridges
Single Leg Deadlift
Another deadlift variation, I told ya’ll this was coming! If I had to name my favorite hamstring exercise, it would be this. Definitely saved the best for last. While it’s the hardest one to master, because of balance and all that, it’s 100% the most effective. It’s really good for the core too, because you have to keep your core engaged so that you don’t tip over. When I first started, I liked to hold onto a bench or railing as I neared the bottom of the movement so that I didn’t fall. It’s basically a Romanian Deadlift on one leg, because your standing leg doesn’t ever really have a huge bend in it. Drive through the heel, and stop once you feel your hamstrings engage or else you’ll lose the tension. Give it a try, won’t ya!?
Variations: Using dumbbells, Using kettlebells, Bodyweight
Well that’s all I’ve got for you today. I hope you liked it. I don’t care if you didn’t because I’m going to go live my life and spend a lot of money that I don’t have on really small portions of food.
Until next time!