For individuals who want to train their hamstrings, the muscle group running up the back of the leg from the knee to the butt, there are a variety of easy activities that will tone and strengthen these essential power-lifting muscles. Here are some of the top hamstring building activities recommended by a variety of trainers and others.
- Deadlifts and "Good Mornings" - These activities can only be done at home if you have a home barbell set. Both of them, though, are beneficial for the hamstrings, which play a unique role in lifting a load. A simple deadlift involves bringing a barbell and a set of weights from the floor to a spot above the head or shoulders. Modified deadlifts known as "good mornings" involve holding the barbell behind your back while going from a squatting to a standing position.
- Foam Roller Exercises - Other home hamstring exercises can be a blend of stretches and muscle toning. The bio foam roller hamstring exercise is an excellent example of this. Foam roller users can place rollers under the feet or lower legs, raise their body up with their arms, and roll back and forth. Variations of this exercise provide good workouts for the hamstrings, and using the foam roller on the hamstring area can massage the muscles and help loosen them.
- Kickbacks - These handy hamstring activities can be done at home with no gear at all. For a kickback, position yourself on the ground, on hands and knees. Then extend one leg up behind you and kick upward. The kickback works the hamstrings and related muscle groups "against the grain" and helps toughen up these workhorse muscles.
- Walking Lunges - These hamstring helpers can be done with or without free weights. Essentially, the participant goes forward from a standing position into a lunge with one leg, and goes down almost to the floor before reversing direction back up to a standing position. Any amount of free weight increases resistance for more aggressive muscle strengthening.
- Jumping - Modified long jumping or rhythm jumping also works the hamstrings, although not in an isolated way. Jumping activities really work a wide variety of muscle groups, and if done with a jump rope or similar tool, can vastly improve agility as well.
- Step Ups - this classic exercise also works the hamstrings. You don't need any gear except for some raised surface. Simply practice stepping up onto a raised surface, first with one leg, then the other, and then back down again. Stairmaster and related machines can be good, too.
- Leg Presses and Curls - For these items, you will need a home gym machine. Leg presses and leg curls each rely on a specialized fixed weight machine for resistance. However, if you do have a multi-use machine in your garage, basement or other fitness space, you can add these to your hamstring repertoire.
All of the above are popular workouts for the hamstring muscles that you can do in the comfort of your own home, provided you have some of these basic fitness tools.