3 Exercises to Define your Hamstrings
If you are wanting to shape, strengthen and show off your legs, then it's pivotal that you perform some hamstring exercises to help develop your posterior.
The exercises which I outline in this article won't be your typical machine-based exercises, either.
These will not only strengthen your hammies - but will also give you a strong butt and core to go with it!
Let's dive straight into the exercise so you can put them to good use.
1. Band Pullthru
This exercise is one of my go-to exercises when it comes to strengthening the 'posterior chain' - this group of muscles includes your glutes, hamstrings and lower back.
The reason I rate it so highly is because it is low-impact, easy to learn and also uses a method called 'accommodating resistance'.
Using a band means that the tension (resistance/load) is changing constantly through the motion.
In the bottom position the band is on less tension, meaning less muscle contraction.
But, at the top - when you push your hips through - the band lengthens and requires more muscles to contract in order to finish the exercise.
This is great for glute development, too - AKA shaping your butt.
HOW TO: BAND PULLTHRU'S
2. DB Front-loaded goodmorning's
The next progression that we use is a dumbbell variation of the Goodmorning exercise.
Again, this exercise is fairly easy to learn, especially if you have practiced the band pullthru beforehand.
There are a few keys to perform this exercise correctly, though. Below are the key points to do this safely and correctly:
HOW TO: DB Front-loaded goodmorning's
Grab a light-to-medium dumbbell and hold it horizontally on your chest - pulling it to the chest (keep it close)
- Place your feet hip-width apart, with your toes facing forwards
- Take a breath in and brace your abs hard
- Unlock your knees (soft knee) and push your hips back (hinge) until you get a mild stretch in the back of your legs (hamstrings)
- Push your hips forward, squeeze your glutes (butt muscles) tight and stand tall (No leaning back)
Here we have Sarah performing a set of the goodmorning's:
3. Barbell RDL
The last exercise in the hamstring development category that we use, is called an RDL - short for, Romanian Deadlift.
This exercise uses a bar and allows for greater weight to be used in comparison to the previous two exercises.
You won't have to worry so much about holding the weight on the chest, but will have the chance to strengthen your grip, whilst simultaneously strengthening your hamstrings.
The most important thing to remember - as well as keeping your back straight - is to keep the bar close to your body as you perform it.
The further the bar drifts away from you, the more stress gets placed upon your low back.
I recommend trying to maintain the bar over your mid-foot, from start to finish.
In the video, we have Sharon working on some preparation prior to lifting the bar (Broomstick RDL) , to drill the movement pattern so that it can replicated under load.
HOW TO: Barbell RDL
There you have it. 3 world-class exercises to assist in developing your hamstrings, along with your glutes, lower back and core muscles.
If one of the options doesn't feel right or is too easy/hard, there are other options. find the best fit for your body and your strength level.
Give those 3 exercises a try and let me know what you think of them.
NOTE: Exercises 2 & 3 may result in some muscle soreness due to the specific type of muscle contractions. Apologies in advance.
Until next time,
Develop your hamstrings.