4 Bodyweight Exercises to Strengthen Hamstrings

September 13, 2012 | John M. Cissik

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Strong hamstrings are critical if you want to sprint fast, jump high and be agile. Also, strong hamstrings reduce the risk of strains and tears—both common injuries among athletes.

For these reasons, most strength training programs include a great deal of hamstring work. However, traditional hamstring exercises don't always transfer well to the playing field. Below are four hamstring exercises that mimic athletic movements and can be performed without equipment.

Exercises to Strengthen Hamstrings

Inchworms

For this drill, you need a 10- to 20-yard course. Begin at one end facing the course. To perform the drill:

  • Assume push-up position
  • Walk feet towards hands until stretch is felt in back of legs; keep legs straight
  • Walk hands forward to return to push-up position; keep legs straight
  • Continue for specified distance

Sets/Distance: 2-3x10-20 yards

Crab Walks

  • Sit on ground with back to course
  • Place hands on ground under shoulders and feet on ground under knees
  • Extend arms and lift hips toward sky
  • Walk backward for specified distance

Sets/Distance: 2-3x10-20 yards

Partner Sprinting

For this drill you need a five- to ten-yard course and a partner who is close to you in size. Begin at one end facing the course. Partner stands in front of you. To perform the drill:

  • Assume starting stance facing partner with partner's hands on your shoulders
  • Sprint forward for specified distance with partner providing resistance
  • Switch roles and repeat

Sets/Distance: 2-3x5-10 yards

Eccentric Hamstring Curls

This is an advanced exercise and should be done only when you are thoroughly warmed up.

  • Kneel on ground with knees, hips and upper body in straight line
  • Have partner hold ankles to ground
  • Slowly lean forward taking as long as possible to reach ground; keep body in straight line
  • Catch body with hands during descent
  • Push body up to starting position
  • Repeat for specified reps

Sets/Reps: 2-3x3-5

Photo: Gabbyandlaird.com

John Cissik
- John M. Cissik is the president of Human Performance Services, LLC, which helps athletes solve their strength and conditioning problems. He has worked with athletes...
John Cissik
- John M. Cissik is the president of Human Performance Services, LLC, which helps athletes solve their strength and conditioning problems. He has worked with athletes...

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