You know your hamstrings are important for athletic performance and general strength. Hamstring strength can make all the difference when it comes to sprinting in a game or hitting another PR in the gym. We know that Deadlift variations are great for building the hammies, but what should you do after you deadlift to directly target them? Hamstring Curl machines have their place and are a great option, but there are many other ways to build the strongest hamstrings in the game. Here are some of the best!
Stability Ball Hamstring Curl
- Place your feet on a stability ball with your heels into the ball and your toes up. Bend your knees toward your chest.
- Place your hands on the ground, palms down, at approximately a 45-degree angle.
- Extend your hips fully up as high as you can.
- Slowly extend your legs, rolling the ball out away from you while keeping your hips elevated.
- Once your legs are fully extended, curl your legs back to the starting position. Make sure to keep your hips elevated the whole time.
Single-Leg Stability Ball Hamstring Curl
- Set up like you did for the Hamstring Curl, but raise one leg above the ball and straighten it.
- Keeping your hips up, extend your leg out until it reaches full extension.
- Curl back in while keeping your hips elevated.
Valslide/Slideboard Hamstring Curl
- Place your feet on Valslides (furniture sliders) or a slideboard, dig your heels into the ground and keep your toes up.
- Raise your hips and extend your legs out to full extension.
- Return to the starting position and repeat.
- To regress the movement, extend your legs very slowly then lower your hips to the ground and return to the starting position.
- Hold a kettlebell or dumbbell in one hand and slightly lift your same-side foot off the ground.
- With a slight bend in your down-leg knee, hinge at the hip, lower the weight toward your down foot and simultaneously raise your back leg up.
- At end range, your torso should be parallel with the ground.
- Reverse the motion and return to the starting position.
- If balance is an issue, hold a PVC pipe in your free hand to steady yourself or hold onto a squat rack.
- Set up on a GHR machine so you are perpendicular to the floor with your feet against the plate and your knees on the pad.
- Slowly lower yourself while extending your knees until you are parallel with the floor.
- Keeping a flat back, press your feet into the plate and curl your way back to the starting position.
- If you have trouble with the movement, check out this article to regress and improve your GHR technique.
Band Leg Curl
- Hook a light band to a squat rack or solid object.
- Lie on the ground facing away from the rack and hook the band around your feet.
- Bring your heels toward your butt and return to the starting position.
- This movement should be performed quickly, using a full range of motion, and for high rep sets (15+ minimum).
Use these exercises in conjunction with your main posterior chain exercises like Deadlifts and Squats to build bulletproof hamstrings! Refer to the video above for visual representations of the exercises.
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