9 Hamstring Exercises You Can Do At Home (No Equipment Needed)

Looking to give your hamstrings some much needed love?

We’ve got you.

Below, is a list of the 9 best hamstring exercises you can do at home, that don’t require any equipment. That’s right… there are quite literally zero excuses for not giving them a go!

To create an effective hamstring workout, pick 4 of the exercises below and do 3 sets of 8-12 reps for each.

Thinking of skipping leg day? Think again… Training the quads, glutes and hamstrings is vital for proper functional movement, as well as improving posture and addressing muscular imbalances that can lead to injuries (such as lower back ache).

With so many of us spending a big chunk of our day sat down (whether that’s for driving, working at a desk, or relaxing in front of the TV), our hamstrings (and glutes) aren’t being activated and engaged, which makes them weaker. This weakening of the posterior chain is bad for all sorts of things, including posture, balance and strength… resulting in poorer athletic performance and an increase risk to injuries.

So, without any equipment needed for these at-home hamstring exercises, pause what you’re doing and dive into a quick hamstring workout right now.

Good Mornings

Good Mornings are a great, low impact hamstring exercise that help to test your hamstring and glute strength, as well as your balance. They can be used as a way to warm up the muscles, or as a main exercise in a workout.

For progression, you can hold a plated barbell, dumbbells or use a resistance band, but the movement is also effective as a bodyweight exercise without any equipment.

  • Stand with your feet shoulder width apart and legs straight (but don’t lock your knees).
  • Hinge at the hips to lean forward. If you can get your upper body parallel to the floor that’s great, but if that’s too challenging, just go as low as feels comfortable.
  • Squeeze your glutes and hamstrings to pull your body back upright to the starting position.
  • Repeat this for repetitions.

Glute Bridge

Glute Bridges are a fantastic exercise to strengthen the hamstrings and glutes. It’s easy to add progression to the exercise by changing the speed of the movement, as well as pausing during the lift.

This is also a perfect exercise for beginners and those looking for simple movement to get started with.

  • Lay on the floor (or yoga mat if you have one), with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor.
  • By squeezing your glutes and hamstrings, lift your glutes off the floor.
  • Pause for a moment, before lowering your glutes back down.
  • Repeat for repetitions.

Single Leg Glute Bridge

Before you think about adding weight to Glute Bridges, a really easy and effective way to add progression is to do a single leg variation. This will also create instability so will provide additional benefits of developing your balance and stability in the lower body.

  • Lay on the floor (or yoga mat if you have one), with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor.
  • Lift your right foot off the floor by straightening your leg at the knee.
  • By squeezing your glutes and hamstrings, lift your glutes off the floor.
  • Pause for a moment, before lowering your glutes back down.
  • Repeat for repetitions and on the other leg.

Single Leg Romanian Deadlift

Single Leg Romanian Deadlifts are another great way to strengthen your hamstrings and glutes. The move also requires good balance as you’re leaning forward on one leg. It’s also easy to add resistance to this movement by holding dumbbells or kettlebells if you wish.

The move starts in an upright position, as opposed to a traditional barbell deadlift, which starts by lifting the weight off the ground. This changes the dynamics of the movement quite a lot (considering they share the name “deadlift”).

If you followed along to Good Mornings as mentioned previously, this exercise is a similar movement but involves lifting one leg behind you. As your upper body leans forward, one of your legs is pulled behind. This means more strength from your hamstrings is required to pull your upper body back to the starting position.

Due to doing the movement on each leg, this is great to identify and combat any muscular imbalances.

  • Stand with your feet shoulder width apart, with your knees slightly bent.
  • Shift your weight onto your right foot and pull your left leg backwards. At the same time, lean forward with your upper body, until your body is roughly parallel to the floor.
  • Squeeze the glutes and your right hamstring to lift your upper body back to an upright position, whilst also bring your left leg back to the starting position.
  • Repeat for repetitions and on the other leg.

Single Leg Hip Thrusters

Hip Thrusters are like the cousin of the Glute Bridge… they are similar exercises, but differ slightly in how they are performed.

Hip Thrusters require a bench or raised surface to perform the movement on. By resting your shoulders and upper back on the raised surface, it means you can increase the range of motion for the glutes and hamstrings.

If you enjoy Hip Thrusters, lots of “glute trainers” are basically focused on this movement. Our recent review outlines the best glute trainers and machines for the home. These machines usually help you to add resistance in a convenient way.

Single Leg Hip Thrusters are a variation that makes the movement more difficult.

  • Rest your upper back on a bench or raised surface, with your feet flat on the floor.
  • Lift one leg off the floor so your remaining leg is supporting you.
  • Squeeze your glutes and hamstrings to lift your glutes off the floor until your torso is parallel with the floor.
  • Pause for a moment before lowering your glutes back down again.
  • Repeat for repetitions and repeat on the other leg.

Floor Glute Ham Raises

Glute Ham Raises are often done on a piece of specialist equipment… however, you can do them at home. You either need to find a training buddy who can hold your feet or figure out a way to weigh down your feet (under a piece of furniture, for example).

This movement really isolates the hamstrings and is a great way to leverage eccentric training for this muscle group. By lowering yourself slowly to the floor, you can really push the hamstrings into overdrive and keep them activated for much longer. Eccentric training is also associated with more muscle growth.

  • In a kneeing position, either fix your feet under a secure surface or get a training buddy to hold your feet behind you.
  • Bend at the elbows to keep your hands level with your chest.
  • Slowly lower your chest to the floor, squeezing the hamstrings to prevent you falling suddenly.
  • Once your chest is close to the floor, put your hands out and go into a push up position.
  • Push down to launch your upper body back up to the starting position.
  • Repeat for repetitions.

Donkey Kick

Donkey Kicks are a great way to activate the glutes and hamstrings, as well as opening up the hips and improving range of motion and flexibility in this part of the body.

You can also add dumbbells or use a resistance band to increase resistance if you wanted.

  • Start in a quadruped position (on all fours), with your hands and knees placed shoulder width apart.
  • Lift one knee off the ground and kick in an upward direction, keeping the leg at a 90 degree angle.
  • This involves hinging exclusively at the hip, as opposed to the knee.
  • Return to the starting position and repeat for repetitions.

Kickbacks

Kickbacks is another great exercise that not only tests your hamstring strength, but also your balance. You can also use resistance bands to increase difficulty.

  • Stand with your feet shoulder width apart.
  • Pull one leg behind you by squeezing your glutes and hamstring, keeping your legs straight.
  • Return that leg to the starting position.
  • Repeat for repetitions and repeat on the other leg.

Hamstring Curls

Hamstring Curls usually involve using an exercise ball, but any ball or object that could roll would also work (for example, an office chair with wheels will still allow you to activate the hamstrings).

  • Lay on the floor with your knees bent and feet placed on the exercise ball (or office chair if you don’t have one).
  • Squeeze your hamstrings and glutes to bring the ball (or chair) towards you.
  • Pause for a moment, before pushing the ball back to the starting position.
  • Repeat for repetitions.

Related Articles

Lateral Side Squats – How to Perform, Benefits and Muscles Worked

How to do Glute Cable Kickbacks

7 Hip Adductor Stretches