The Three Best Hamstring Exercises That Do Not Use Machines

 

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3 Best Hamstring Strengthening Exercises Movement #1: Romanian Deadlift. If you’ve got a barbell and some plates to load, you have access to a movement that will give you a better physique, a bigger squat and deadlift, a faster 40-yard dash and a higher vertical jump. The Romanian deadlift (RDL) is the king of hamstring exercises.

Don’t push hips too high as you can cause stress to your lower back. Hold the position for several seconds and go back to the starting position. Do 3-5 sets.

The Best Hamstring Workouts Without Equipment. Three different muscles make up the hamstring muscl. Here are 10 of the BEST hamstring exercises you can do WITHOUT a machine. Having strong hamstrings doesn’t just come from doing seated and lying leg curls on machines.

Machines have their place. If you don’t have a Swiss ball at home, a rolling desk chair can work as well. 3) Slider Leg Curl.

See the directions above. If you don’t have furniture sliders, you can use dish towels on a waxed floor. Paper plates will also work. 4) Bulgarian Split Squat. See the directions above. Complete Hamstring Workouts.

Another huge benefit in doing hamstring exercises like this is back pain reduction. So many people go through life with super tight hamstrings which can lead to lower back discomfort and stiffness. Other variations of this exercise involve the usage of an exercise ball or a machine.

But the standing hamstring curl is one of the best hamstring exercises without weight and uses no equipment other than your own body weight. The exercise can also be performed lying down, on your stomach. Stand on a firm surface, with your legs kept slightly. This is your traditional weight room machine leg curl, married to gluteand hamstring-challenging instability. The best part: It’ll rock your lower body with only bodyweight and gravity.

Specifically, the calf exercises that do not engage the hamstrings are calf raises and calf presses. Calf raises are exercises where weight is placed above your body, requiring you to raise your. Exercises 1-5 are excellent for beginners, as they create foundational strength through your hamstrings, glutes, and entire posterior chain.

You’ll hit the bodyweight moves at a high volume. To use the exercise list optimally, you will want to choose 1-3 of these exercises to work into each workout. For full body workouts, choose only one exercise each day.

In a 3 day split you would choose one conventional deadlift, one stiff leg or good morning, or one.

List of related literature:

The endeavor is further complicated by the fact that keeping the knees straight during the leglift stretches the hamstring muscles, which are antagonists to the iliacus, psoas, and rectus femoris muscles.

“Anatomy of Hatha Yoga: A Manual for Students, Teachers, and Practitioners” by David Coulter
from Anatomy of Hatha Yoga: A Manual for Students, Teachers, and Practitioners
by David Coulter
Motilal Banarsidass, 2004

Single straight leg raise-supine, alternate knee bent, raise leg straight up and down, stretching the hamstring in the back of the leg, hold at maximal stretch for 5 seconds, lower with control, switch legs left and right, 10 repetitions each.

“Obstetric and Gynecologic Care in Physical Therapy” by Rebecca Gourley Stephenson, Linda J. O'Connor
from Obstetric and Gynecologic Care in Physical Therapy
by Rebecca Gourley Stephenson, Linda J. O’Connor
Slack, Incorporated, 2000

These exercises include single-leg seated knee extension (leg extension machine), leg press, hip extension and abduction (hip machine), and calf raise exercise (both soleus and gastrocnemius)

“Tennis Medicine: A Complete Guide to Evaluation, Treatment, and Rehabilitation” by Giovanni Di Giacomo, Todd S. Ellenbecker, W. Ben Kibler
from Tennis Medicine: A Complete Guide to Evaluation, Treatment, and Rehabilitation
by Giovanni Di Giacomo, Todd S. Ellenbecker, W. Ben Kibler
Springer International Publishing, 2019

Such exercises include the hundred, the leg circle, the single straight-leg stretch, swimming, the seated spinal twist, the side kick, and the leg pull-up.

“Methods of Group Exercise Instruction” by Mary M. Yoke, Carol Armbruster
from Methods of Group Exercise Instruction
by Mary M. Yoke, Carol Armbruster
Human Kinetics, 2019

In addition, the squatting exercise requires movement from the ankles, knees, and pelvis, as well as effort from the posterior calf muscles (i.e., gastrocnemius and soleus), the quadriceps, and the back extensors.

“Scientific Foundations and Principles of Practice in Musculoskeletal Rehabilitation E-Book” by David J. Magee, James E. Zachazewski, William S. Quillen
from Scientific Foundations and Principles of Practice in Musculoskeletal Rehabilitation E-Book
by David J. Magee, James E. Zachazewski, William S. Quillen
Elsevier Health Sciences, 2007

During stance, mostly the extensors contract: gluteus maximus early on, quadriceps in the middle, and plantarflexors (soleus and gastrocnemius) toward the end; during swing, instead, the flexors contract: iliopsoas (for hip), hamstrings (for knee), and tibialis anterior/toe extensors (for ankle).

“Physical Diagnosis Secrets E-Book: With STUDENT CONSULT Online Access” by Salvatore Mangione
from Physical Diagnosis Secrets E-Book: With STUDENT CONSULT Online Access
by Salvatore Mangione
Elsevier Health Sciences, 2012

• In step 1, contract the abdominals to create a slight posterior pelvic tilt and prevent the lower back from arching as the hip flexors contract to help support the legs, especially as the knee extensors straighten the legs.

“Pilates Anatomy” by Rael Isacowitz, Karen S. Clippinger
from Pilates Anatomy
by Rael Isacowitz, Karen S. Clippinger
Human Kinetics, 2019

To make this exercise more effective, do the movements in a 4-count sequence1) step to side, keeping hips and shoulders square, 2) lower body into a squat, 3) stand, 4) drag non-lead leg in, placing feet together.

“Fitness Instructor Training Guide” by Cheryl L. Hyde, American Association for Active Lifestyles and Fitness
from Fitness Instructor Training Guide
by Cheryl L. Hyde, American Association for Active Lifestyles and Fitness
Kendall/Hunt, 2002

These exercises include the hurdler’s stretch; the single-leg or double-leg inverted hurdler’s stretch; deep knee bends, lunges, or squats (with or without weights); the standing straight-leg toe touch; the arch or bridge; the standing torso twist (with or without weights); inversion; and the shoulderstand or plow.

“Science of Flexibility” by Michael J. Alter
from Science of Flexibility
by Michael J. Alter
Human Kinetics, 2004

Exercises that involve hip extension (e.g., stiff-leg deadlift, good morning) and those that involve knee flexion (e.g., lying leg curl) are viable choices.

“Science and Development of Muscle Hypertrophy” by Brad Schoenfeld
from Science and Development of Muscle Hypertrophy
by Brad Schoenfeld
Human Kinetics, 2020

Alexia Lewis RD

Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and Certified Heath Coach who believes life is better with science, humor, and beautiful, delicious, healthy food.

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53 comments

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  • It’s been 9 months after my distal femur surgery. I recovered a lot but I find it difficult to walk down stairs specially if stairs with different sizes.

  • How about more of proper/weightless/functional exercises for the back upper legs, mid section(glutes and front lower abdomen), along with lower back and trapezeeee..thanks..you would be too kind

  • I loved this video! I really liked how you explained each of the exercises slowly haha:) can you do one on how to get rid of back fat?:)

  • Hey. Recently I fell and it my head while playing soccer, the thing is that my head is fine. but not my neck. If I try to turn my neck it gets tight and its like a bruise on my pulse area.

  • I wish you could see all the people you are helping with your videos. Helping people feel better & helping people learn. I love your videos. Thank you for making them.

  • BOB AND BRAD I love you both! I LOVE your wall anchors. SO clever and so economical. Strong enough for Big Foot! Thank you for all the exercises that don’t need special equipment. Your own body weight I can be great for resistance training. No need for a gym membership. No need to waste time traveling back and forth.

  • What should be the strongest thighcalf ratio❓��… My ratio is 21″-14″…is it ok for me? Or I need to grow up a bit more??. Please tell me sir… ����

  • dear sir can i have your mail id pls?
    end your expert advice for hamstring injury, on mail i can send you MRI and do better for a young patient 21year old.
    thanks

  • I suffer from knee pain after exercises like squats and deadlifts…any alternative exercises that can build without inducing pain? thanks.

  • Great work as always! Just a tiny thing: At 3:16 you say “eccentric hip extension” in reference to lifting your leg up. Doesn’t it have to be hip flexion then?

  • What I like about these videos is that P.Ts show a different ways of doing the exercises. they provide another perspective when doing the exercises and that is very useful for both patients and therapist.

  • I think that is awsome showing my PT tomorrow haven’t got time to do the same thing over…. Something new yea..Thank you so much..
    God Bless

  • Most of these I can’t do because I have huge glutes which overcompensate. Why do u suggest in order to not hit my glutes too much?

  • Is this more of a romanian style sumo deadlift? It looks great for time under tension, however, I thought the sumo deadlift was supposed to be pulled from the floor, requiring a dead stop between reps?

  • I like the prone leg curl exercise, but the following day i get knee pain (only in one of them). I see that one person mentioned in the comments to flex the hip of the resting leg. Tried that, didn’t help. Any suggestions how not to hurt the knee with this exercise?

  • Excellent vids you put out. Thank you. On the Prone Leg Curl I would have liked to see more hip flexion on the ‘non-exercising’ leg to reduce the LB extension stress.

  • Do either Barb and/or Brad read these messages and respond or is there a Proxy on their behalf? I must know these things!! And PS these hamstring exercises are so good but they’re almost more brutal to do than going to the gym and using hamstring machines!!! I guess that means it’s a good thing LOL

  • The only issue I have with doing single legged cable, is the amount of time it takes going from leg to leg. It’s too much rest between each set in my eyes, very good video though mate. Keep up the good work.

  • Thank u, but there is a research, comparison of hamstrings muscle activation during high speed running and various hamstring strengthening exercise, which show cases few more exercise. Can u please demostrate them, as they are hard to follow fron the text.

  • Great video, I like the variations using the cable pulley system. I just now need to adapt these exercises to make them more achievable for my elderly clients….

  • So if you’ve had a hamstring injury near the top of the muscle while sprinting, the best exercises to prevent recurrence would be those where you bend at the hip rather than the knee (i.e. the last two)? Is that correct?

  • Dude you’ve just been killing the videos recently. I mean you’re always killing it but recently I just feel like you’ve been on FIRE!!! LOVE IT!:)

  • I think you are limiting your viewership a whole lot by appending “for golfers”. I don’t golf, I do bodybuilding… I have tried a bunch of these and really felt hams working!

  • are there any exercises you would recommend for the abductors or adductors? I’ve been through all of your videos I think and there’s no content related to them.

  • I dont know… you dont have a nice legs or butt so seems like that routine doesnt work….keep it up tho, personally i would prefer to find and try something different…

  • This is absolutely something I’ve been waiting for. Every time I use the hamstring machines at the gym, specifically when I lay on my stomach, the back of my knees pop when I am lowering the weight down. It’s very uncomfortable. Thank you guys!

  • When it comes to hamstrings I can only choose 2 exercises at most since I work quads/hams/glutes on the same day, what would be the best 2 between sumo deadlifts, romanian deadlifts and one leg bridges? I didnt include the machine curls since I dont do machines.
    And if I have to choose only one which one is the best? Thanks

  • I read plenty of great reviews on the net about how Clegenatur Methods (just search it on google)can assist you increase your breast size by two cups. Has anyone tried this popular breast enhancement methods?

  • Hamstrings are like the most known unknown. Nobody cares about them until you injure one. Great video on the most overlooked part of physique.

  • I have spent months investigating top exercises with kettlebell for losing weight and discovered an awesome resource at Bell Train Blueprint (check it out on google)

  • pretty sure your comparison of sdl and sumo are reversed. You sit back in a sdl but you have to bring your hips low and pull into the bar to get leverage for sumo.

  • remember beginners: bigger weights+small reps makes your muscles big/strong but no strength and less good shape! lighter weights+bigger reps makes your muscles less bigger and stronger but much more strength and well better shaped and more healthy imo…

  • Awesome! Thanks! I’ll have to use a mat at the gym for my knees, but I want to try this. I guess it’s bye bye to the hamstring machine!

  • I love your videos cus it goes straight to the point unlike other videos that blabbers alot and having to skim through the video:O

  • When you do static stretching, you’re telling your muscles to relax. So it’s not good to do while in the middle of working out. Save it for later. Dynamic stretching during or before the workout.

  • Pretty sure what you’re describing as a SDL is a RDL. SDLs start from the floor. RDLs start from the top and the weights never touch the ground while performing the movement, which is what you are doing.

  • Dear please help i had acl reconstruction and meniscus also in feb 2019 yet my bend is come only around 100′ and i have huge stiffness problem. Please help me how yo get improve.

  • Much respect to you my brother. I have learned so much from you. And you also helped me get through injuries that nobody else was able to. Thank you and God Bless.

  • Is it harder for taller people to do the last variation, the hardest one? I notice as a college athlete many of the taller athletes seemed to have to work harder to accomplish that feat. I was a college offensive lineman and all of us were at least 6’3 and all weight 290 lbs plus.

  • Thanks for watching guys you can see the full exercise breakdown by clicking on the ‘Aug’ newsletter shown on my signup page here: http://bit.ly/RobRichesFitPlan

  • That car tyre one looked good, and I never thought sumo deadlifts really hit the hamstrings until I saw them working during your set! Good, helpful vid:-)

  • I think I must be doing it wrong and pushing up on the ball too much. I don’t really feel it in my hamstrings and glutes. I’m trying to fix it, but I can’t seem to get it.

  • Can I do the last exercise for proximal hamstring rehab?

    Also, if I experience slight pain (2/10) should I stop or will the pain eventually go away after a few sessions because of strengthening in that region?

  • Glad I watched this. I’ve been trying to incorporate these into my leg day, but using the swiss ball for support might make these a little more effective for me. Thanks Jeff!

  • One of the first videos I watched of Jeff…… my hamstrings ( age 50 at the time ) have improved since I started following Jeff ( along with just about everything else ) you will not go wrong with this man!

  • I am a sprinter and I was looking for the use of hamstring cause I was not able to push my limits. After trying this exercise for 2 months I noticed a change in my speed. Thanks Jeff

  • I started doing these and damn, they are hard. I know them by nordic curl and I’m doing assisted negatives with a pretty heavy band… That alone makes for a pretty good burn.

  • I like to do hamstrings on my arms day.  Some great instructional ideas here Rob.  I do the “goblet”. I wonder which of the 5 you’ve got in the video accomplishes much the same muscle fatigue as does the goblet.  Cheers!  Brian in Toronto

  • Thank you. I have ALS. But i found 2 exercises from you. that attacks my weakest muscles of the body. Thank you so much. Hopefully i can delay it as much as possible. Keep moving

  • Video sacks.. jumping and did not show full picture… even man seems good and knowledgeable… + music added much louder then voice… that make it not fun to watch. Anyway nice try…

  • this blew my mind. your arms are just backwards legs. same mechanical setup. bicep = hamstring. tricep = quads. forearm = calf. palm = heel. even the hinges are on the same side. there’s bone on one side of your forearm just like your shin is on the opposite side of your calf.

  • I needed this workout, back in my 20’s because my hammies were truly underdeveloped but now I am here, working my hammies (they’re not as underdeveloped now) the correct way.

    Where are you located, if you don’t mind me asking?

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