The Best Hamstring Exercises for Beginners

If you're a beginner and want to work your hamstrings, this list contains the best exercises for these muscles. It will really help you!
The Best Hamstring Exercises for Beginners

Last update: 17 April, 2019

Hamstrings play a major role in many daily activities such as running, jumping, walking, and riding a bicycle. For this reason, we’ll provide you with a list of the best hamstring exercises for beginners. These will help you strengthen your muscles and avoid future injuries.

The use of this set of muscles located in the lower part of our bodies also involves several other large muscle groups, frequently the buttocks and quadriceps. Therefore, every time you exercise your hamstrings it’s likely you’re also burning a large number of calories and strengthening other areas.

Given that hamstrings are connected to your hips and knees, the general movements of these joints depend on one another. If you’ve never exercised these muscles, it’s possible that you don’t fully understand how they may help you when they’re in top shape.

If you want to improve your strength and endurance in this area, it’s important to know some exercises to begin with. Here, we’ll present you with a list of the best exercises for hamstrings for beginners. You can include them in your next workout.

The best hamstring exercises for beginners

1. Leg curls with a Swiss ball

The first hamstring exercise for beginners on our list is leg curls with a Swiss ball. While laying on your back, place your hands on the Swiss ball. Pull with your fingers towards your shinbones.

Then, squeeze your buttocks until your body is aligned from your ankles to your shoulders. Keeping your hips elevated, pull your heels towards your buttocks. Let the ball roll slowly while you stretch your legs.

hip elevation for hamstrings

This hamstring exercise for beginners improves the stability and strength in your hamstrings as well as your buttocks and lower back. We recommend doing a total of 2 sets of 10 repetitions each. Rest for 30 seconds between each set. The key to obtaining the stability on the Swiss ball is to make sure your back is straight during the entire exercise.

2. One leg squats: Ideal hamstring exercises for beginners

To begin this second exercise, you must assume a crouch position and keep your feet on the ground. Place your left foot in front of you and try to keep your balance with your other foot.

Return slowly to the squat position, balancing your body weight on your right leg. Do this exercise 10 times with each leg.

one leg squat hamstring

Your back and arms should be straight, parallel to the ground to maintain your balance. This is a more complicated exercise, therefore, it may take you some time to master it.

3. Hamstring exercises for beginners: lunges

To start doing lunges, you must stand with both feet together. Then, take a long step forward with your right foot. Next, lower your body until your rear knee is barely above the ground and your front thigh is parallel to the ground. To finish, stand up again and place your left foot forward and repeat the movement.

lunges for hamstring

Continue alternating steps to complete the established number of repetitions. You can do this third exercise using a dumbbell or just your body weight.

4. Elevated bridge

To do this hamstring exercise for beginners, you must begin stretched out on the ground, face up, close to an elevated surface such as a chair or table. To procede, bend your knees and place your feet over the surface we mentioned. Next, raise your hips from the ground until your knees, hips and shoulders form a straight line.

elevated bridge for hamstrings

Then, slowly move your left leg toward your chest. Lower your leg slowly and repeat with your other leg. Do this exercise for one minute with each leg.

Don’t forget your hands should be on the ground to support yourself. Be careful with your posture since you’re not only working your hamstrings and hips but also your lower back.

Finally, we remind you that hamstring muscles are very prone to injuries and strains. This is true especially for athletes who do not warm up properly. Therefore, you must make sure you warm up carefully before you start any training routine.

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Do a leg workout at least once a week. If you really don't know where to begin, here are six great leg exercises and how to do them.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

    • Croisier, J. L., Forthomme, B., Namurois, M. H., Vanderthommen, M., & Crielaard, J. M. (2002). Hamstring muscle strain recurrence and strength performance disorders. American Journal of Sports Medicine30(2), 199–203.
    • Brughelli, M., & Cronin, J. (2008). Preventing hamstring injuries in sport. Strength and Conditioning Journal30(1), 55–64.

The contents of this publication are written for informational purposes. At no time do they facilitate or replace the diagnoses, treatments, or recommendations of a professional. Consult your trusted specialist if you have any doubts and seek their approval before beginning any procedure.