4 Bodyweight Exercises to Strengthen Hamstrings

September 13, 2012 | John M. Cissik

Must See Sports Injuries Videos

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


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...
Must See
NFL Wide Receiver Randall Cobb Outworks Everyone
Views: 28,507,498
Abby Wambach Will Do Whatever It Takes
Views: 4,541,559
Why NFL Wide Receiver DeSean Jackson Counts His Blessings
Views: 6,278,447

Featured Videos

Get in Shape for Baseball With Austin Adams' Metabolic Conditioning Circuit Views: 2,372
A Day in the Life With Kansas City Chiefs Tight End Travis Kelce Views: 7,149
Eastbay Path to the Pros Episode 4: Skill Training Views: 330,200
Load More


STACK Fitness

Everything you need to be fitter than ever

STACK Conditioning

Sport-specific conditioning programs

Coaches and Trainers

Tips and advice for coaches and trainers


Latest issues of STACK Magazine


Women's sports workout, nutrition and lifestyle advice


Gaming, entertainment and tech news

Basic Training

Military-style training for athletes


Find the latest news relevant to athletes

Most Popular Videos

Paul Rabil's Box Jumps
Views: 848,711
Perfect Dwyane Wade's Signature Euro Step
Views: 1,309,063
Colin Kaepernick's Core Workout
Views: 883,074
Abby Wambach Will Do Whatever It Takes
Views: 4,541,559
Dwyane Wade Jumps Onto a 42" Box
Views: 10,741,081

Load More
More Cool Stuff You'll Like

Bulletproof Your Body with 5 Easy Injury Prevention Exercises

Bulletproof Your Body with Easy Exercises You Can Do at Home You must always be doing something to be better than your competition! Good is the enemy of...

Megan Rapinoe

5 Bodyweight Exercises to Prevent Baseball Injuries

Achilles Tendon Ruptures: Prevention and Recovery

Sports Hernias: What You Need to Know

Quarterbacks: 4 Tips to Keep Your Throwing Shoulder Healthy

Avoid Low-Back Pain With These 7 In-Season Exercises

How to Prevent Baseball Injuries During the Off-Season

Impressive Advances in ACL Rehab

6 Simple Tips to Prevent Knee Injuries

The Secret Weapon Powering Stephen Curry's Resurgence

Why Strengthening This Muscle May Fix Knee Pain

5 Tips to Intelligently Train Through Lower Back Pain

The 8 Most Dangerous Exercises for Your Shoulders

4 Strategies to Prevent Tommy John Surgery

Connective Tissue: The Key to Preventing ACL Injuries

4 Sports Massage Techniques to Relieve Tight Muscles

7 Ways to Fix Back Pain

5 Exercises to Prevent ACL Tears

Predicting the Impact of DeMarco Murray's Hand Injury

STUDY: Imaginary Exercise Helps You Recover Faster From Injury

Coaches: Prevent Injuries With the Recovery Management Tool

Basketball Players: Prevent Ankle Sprains With These 3 Exercises

How to Keep Your Feet Healthy On and Off the Field

2 Ways to Fix Anterior Pelvic Tilt

6 Steps for Recovering From a Season-Ending Injury

Prevent ACL Injuries With This Hamstring-Focused Workout

6 Ways to Prevent Common Sports Injuries

What You Need to Know About Tiger Woods' Back Injury

3 Steps to Prevent Soccer ACL Injuries

Outsmart Injury With These 4 Predictive Tests

How to Treat Piriformis Syndrome

3 Ways to Prevent the Most Common Hockey Injury

5 Things You Can Do to Prevent Muscle Injuries

Tips for Working Out With a Hand or Arm Injury

Pectoral Tendon Ruptures and Injury Prevention

10 Ways to Fix Back Pain

Evan Gattis's Protection-Enhanced Catcher's Helmet

How to Train With Running Blisters

How to Prevent Injuries With 3 Yoga Poses

The Future of Sports Injury Rehabilitation

8 of the Most Ridiculous Off-Field Athlete Injuries of All Time

Eliminate Elbow Pain with These 3 Methods