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Hamstring Workouts at Home: Bigger Legs with No Gym
It’s time to start doing hamstring workouts at home.
Maybe you do them at the gym, maybe you don’t.
For some, there’s a good chance that you can’t.
Gyms are expensive, you need to drive there, and with work, school, and family — that gets hard to do.
So, in this article, we are going to get you on your way to doing hamstring workouts at home so you don’t need the gym.
That’s right, bigger hamstrings, nicer legs, no gym!
Though you won’t be in the gym, I still suggest you use a leather weightlifting belt for some of these exercises I am going to suggest.
Before we get into all of that, and the exercises I suggest, let’s discuss your hamstrings first.
What are Hamstrings and Why Should We Care?
Where are they Located?
Hamstrings are part of the posterior thigh.
The muscles run along under your buttocks and end near the back bend of your knee.
If you are standing straight and reach down to touch your toes, you’ll feel the tension in the backs of your legs.
This tension is felt on your hamstrings.
Practice doing that movement to get an understanding of the hamstring location, and you’ll be able to have a better connection to the muscle.
What is their Function?
The main function of your hamstrings is to help with your hip and leg mobility.
Basically, the muscle attaches to the hip and runs to the knee, as we stated earlier.
But, what this does is allow for your knees to bend.
Also, the muscle attachments allow for your lower legs to bend inward and outward.
Hamstrings help with the hips in allowing you to go from sitting to standing.
Furthermore, they allow your hips to extend, particularly in helping to project you forward while running.
Essentially, without the use of your hamstrings, you’d pretty much be sedentary at all times.
Is Training them Necessary?
I’m going out on a limb (sorry) saying this, but no, they don’t need to be trained.
However, should they be trained? Most definitely.
Several people don’t do specific hamstring training outside of their daily movement and activities that involve their legs and bending.
But, those are the people who will complain most about feeling weak or having “tightness” in their legs.
So, why not train and strengthen your hamstrings to live an overall better life, right?
You’re probably thinking, “I don’t train hamstrings because I don’t go to the gym!”
Well, lucky you, because this article is all about hamstring workouts at home.
That means, fortunately (or unfortunately if you’re lazy), no excuses!
Who Should Focus on Hamstring Strength?
Truthfully, everyone should.
But, if you don’t want to focus on hamstring strength, you can always do the exercises in order to stretch the hamstrings and remain nimble.
However, training your hamstrings so they grow and get big and strong is ideal — even for ladies!
A lot of women out there avoid strength training and building muscle because they don’t want to look “big” and “bulky,” but that’s no reason to avoid building your strength.
So, all of you readers out there, I highly suggest you focus on hamstring strength.
Make your hamstring training a part of leg day, or on a day you do accessory movements to target certain areas.
For example, you can have a relatively easy day of abs, calves, and hams!
Yet, I still believe it is good to specifically target your hamstrings within your leg day routine.
Regardless, however you decide to train is up to you, but make the effort to actually do so.
Hamstring Workouts at Home for Athletes
In my recommendations for hamstring workouts at home for athletes, I have agility, speed, and explosiveness in mind.
Athletes are often put in positions of needing to be continually active and moving, so hamstring strength and looseness is quite important.
Sure, most athletes will have private gyms or special training facilities they can go to.
But, maybe you are an amateur athlete who needs to train at home, or you are so dedicated you want to train in the gym and at home!
Either way, the two hamstring exercises I think athletes should focus on are glute ham raises and stability ball hamstring curls.
Glute Ham Raises
For glute ham raises, you usually perform them on a machine at the gym.
Or, with the help of someone else.
In that case, you can definitely do glute ham raises at home with a family member or workout partner.
However, there are also ways to do them without anyone else.
This is a great exercise because it takes a lot of strength and can put your hamstrings under some serious stress.
But, it’s definitely a great move for athletes and those who want to gain some range of motion and very strong hams.
What you would do (with a partner) is have someone hold the backs of your ankles down to the ground.
Facing the ground, you will then lower yourself to the ground and then raise your body back up until you are completely vertical.
Sounds hard, right? Well, that’s because it is!
The other, harder way, is to do it by your lonesome.
For this, you just need something to keep your feet pinned to the ground by the heels or ankles.
Some people do this by putting their feet under their couch, under a car or by having a barbell hold them down.
You can even clamp your door in between your feet to do it (just make sure you have a solid “grip”).
All of these options work, just make sure you are stable and secure when held down and you can focus on the exercise.
Stability Ball Hamstring Curls
These stability ball hamstring curls are great as a hamstring workout at home.
But, obviously, you need an exercise ball or some other large rolling object to use.
For this exercise, you’ll lay on your upper back and have your feet up on the ball.
With your body completely straight, you’ll then roll the ball inward towards your body and bend your knees.
This will be the hamstring curling process.
I think all people can benefit from this movement, but especially athletes.
This exercise gives you a lot of free range of motion and the opportunity to adjust your angles to the curl.
It will further benefit the use of your hamstrings, hips, and the control of your feet.
Hamstring Workouts at Home for Bodybuilders
For bodybuilders, I’d recommend two exercises that I believe will get you some nice, meaty, massive hamstrings.
Not only strength and better agility, but mainly some gigantic and aesthetic legs.
Have you seen massive hamstrings? They look nutty but in a good way.
So, for bodybuilders, the hamstring workouts at home I’d direct you towards are stiff-legged deadlifts and good mornings.
Now, stiff-legged deadlifts are optimally performed with a barbell.
So, if you have one at home, bonus!
If not, don’t worry, there are ways around this.
Basically, you can use a kettlebell, dumbbells in each hand, a box, a laundry basket that’s full, etc.
Anything you can hold in front of you that has (fairly) even weight distribution.
Then, once you have your source of weight, you will hold it in front of you while standing straight.
Slowly bend at your hips, lowering the weight down in front of you, keeping your legs as straight as possible.
As you lean forward and down, you’ll feel an intense stretch in your hamstrings.
Out of all of these workouts, this may be the one that really gets your tight hamstrings burning.
If you are using a barbell, then I also suggest using our genuine leather weightlifting belt, as it’ll help you lift heavier, more safely.
People often misconstrue “at-home workouts” with “easy” or “basic” workouts, but that isn’t true.
Even owning the bare essentials like a barbell and some weight plates can make your hamstring workouts at home insanely tough.
Give these stiff-legged deadlifts a shot, especially if you are looking to grow your hammys.
Like stiff-legged deadlifts, good mornings are best done with a barbell.
You would put the barbell on your back like a high-bar squat position.
Then, you’d simply push your hips back and bend forward until you are parallel to the ground.
Your back should be completely straight, not rounded.
As with all the exercises in this article, you do not need to use additional weight.
You can simply perform the movement with just your body and perfect form.
However, adding in the weight will make this one of the best hamstring workouts a bodybuilder can do.
Basically, anyone can fall in love with good mornings, but typically it is great for weightlifters.
Also, make sure when you bend, look straight down at the floor, do not crane your neck up or try to look straight ahead.
Doing this, especially with added weight, will put undue stress on your neck, shoulders, and spine.
Before you perform good mornings with a barbell, try to execute the exercise with perfect form weightless, first!
Hamstring Workouts at Home for Average Joes and Joettes
For all you average people out there, who rarely train and don’t go to a gym, I have something special for you.
Nothing too hard, nothing too crazy, and exercises that can easily be done at home.
Maybe you are more about living healthy without gaining muscle or striving for a sports career.
That’s totally fine and I applaud you for seeking out information regarding any sort of exercises at all.
So, you average folk out there, let me recommend some hamstring workouts at home that will help you stay stretched and give you longevity to stay mobile.
Two exercises I want you to focus on are bodyweight squats and towel hamstring stretches.
Now, squats are just great in general.
But, for all of you average folks who want to remain healthy and have strong hamstrings, do squats.
Bodyweight squats are awesome, don’t require any equipment (besides your own motivation), and are effective.
I would recommend doing your bodyweight squats slow, controlled and with a pause at the bottom.
What this will allow is a nice stretch and constant tension while you are in the squat position.
Go deep, as to feel the stretch in your hamstrings, and rise up nice and slow.
The other variation of the squat you can do is the Bulgarian split squat.
This is basically squatting unilaterally and activating one hamstring at a time.
Switch off legs, repeatedly, until you tire out your hamstrings.
You can optimize this workout with weights (barbell, dumbbells, kettlebells, etc.) if you have them.
Or, just stick to bodyweight, but do it slow and controlled, as you would the traditional squats.
Towel Hamstring Stretches
I think my favorite thing about towel hamstring stretches is that they’re simple.
Plus, all you need is a long dish towel or hand towel.
That’s it; the accessory needed is only a towel.
Or, if you don’t want to use one of your precious towels, you can use an old t-shirt or tank top.
For the movement, you’ll want to either place the towel around the back of your knee or around the base of your foot.
The exercise is better to ease into by going behind your knee, as there is less stretching involved.
Whereas, using your foot to push the towel up will give you a better stretch but also be far more challenging.
Do what feels right, and start at a pace that is manageable for you.
If you have extremely tight hamstrings, there’s a good chance this will be difficult to perform.
But, it is definitely one of the best hamstring stretches for your average individual looking to stay loose and keep mobility in their legs.
Hamstring Workouts at Home: Final Thoughts
Can You Do All of These Exercises if You Want to?
Yes, of course, you can.
I simply broke up these exercises into different categories to help give you an idea of what hamstring exercises can achieve.
There’s a good chance you are an average person who enjoys bodybuilding and also participates in sports.
But, the reality is, all of these exercises are just plain good for your hamstrings and you should be doing all of them — if you can.
Don’t confine yourself to just one or two.
Whatever your at-home gym, living room, bedroom, basement, etc. allows, go ahead and do it.
Also, don’t forget that there are other hamstring strengthening exercises you can do.
Building your legs will generally help build your hamstrings as well.
Optimizing Your Hamstring Workouts at Home
Lastly, I want to speak about optimization of these workouts.
Hamstring workouts at home need to follow one simple rule: they don’t rely on a gym.
But, that doesn’t mean you can’t invest in certain things for your home/home gym.
Think about it, the money spent on equipment and accessories that you use at home will (usually) be more beneficial to you than a gym membership.
The perks of a gym membership include the social aspect, various equipment you didn’t buy and don’t need to store, water fountains and showers, other luxury services like saunas, steam rooms, basketball courts, pools, etc.
Yet, if you pay for the membership and never go, none of that matters.
However, if you buy equipment for your home and need to store it, take care of it, and see it all the time, you will either end up using it or being constantly bothered that you aren’t using it.
At that point, you either sell the equipment or use it as a coat rack.
Still, I like to give you people the benefit of the doubt and say you will use it.
With that being the case, the cost spent on the equipment is well worth it after a few weeks use as opposed to going to a gym.
So, in order to optimize your hamstring workouts, I suggest investing in a barbell, an exercise ball, and a weightlifting belt.
That’s pretty much it! Everything else you need can be found around the house.
The barbell for squats, deadlifts, and good mornings.
Your exercise ball for hamstring curls and stretches.
And lastly, a genuine leather weightlifting belt to keep you safe during your hamstring workouts at home!