Hamstrings are basically group of muscles that are located in the rear part of our thighs. These muscles help in flexing the leg in the knee joint. Usually many people neglect hamstring exercises in their daily workout routine. But these exercises are necessary for nice toning of thighs, and also to avoid injuries. Stretching the hamstring muscles before any workout helps in avoiding injuries in legs. The exercises are helpful for sportsmen, especially for runners. Performing hamstring exercises at home can help strengthen the knee joint as well as lower back.
There are various methods to perform hamstring exercises. These can be performed with weights, without weights, weight machines, etc. You can always perform simple exercises at home to strengthen your hamstring muscles. Here are some very simple exercises with steps. They require no special equipment.
✦ Donkey Kicks
This is one of the best hamstring exercises to do at home, as it gives effective results. First get yourself into a kneeling position by placing your palms flat on the floor, and resting your body on palms and knees. Your thighs should be now perpendicular to the floor, and your torso should be parallel to the floor. Now, lift your left leg towards your back, and straighten it completely. Try to lift your left leg by keeping it straight, without bringing any bend in your thigh or knee. Your left leg should now align with your torso. Then lower the left leg, but do not touch the ground. Do 10 repetitions, and repeat the same for other side.
✦ Bench Hip Raises
Bench hip raises is also one of the most effective hamstring exercises without weights. Apart from the hamstrings, this exercise also targets your back and glutes. You will require a raised platform to perform this exercise. Lie down on your back near the platform with your feet resting on its edge, and your arms placed towards your sides. Your thighs should be perpendicular to the floor, and your forelegs should be parallel to the floor. This is your starting position. Now, gently raise your hips off the floor, and hold the position for few seconds. Lower your body, and repeat this exercise 15 times. You can also perform this exercise by resting your foreleg on an exercise ball, and following similar steps.
✦ Hamstring Stretch
This is one of those simple strengthening exercises that you can easily perform at home. First sit down on the mat on your hips, with your legs straight in front of you, and your back straight, perpendicular to the floor. Now, stretch your arms, bend your back, and rest your stomach on your thighs. Rest your palms below your forelegs, and touch your head to the knees. Hold this position for 30 seconds.
✦ Exercise Ball Hamstring Curl
This is a very tough hamstring exercise that uses Swiss ball or exercise ball. First lie down in a bridge position on the floor, with your hips completely off the floor. Balance your entire weight on your shoulders, and spread your arms towards your sides. Keep your heels firmly on the exercise ball. Now, raise your hips and torso off the floor, and try to pull the ball towards yourself by rolling your heels on it. Perform 10 repetitions.
Exercise Ball Hamstring Curl
✦ Hamstring Curls
If you want to perform hamstring exercises with weights, then this is a good exercise for you. You will require a bag filled with sand that can be tied comfortably to your ankles. Tie this bag to your right leg, just above your ankle and stand on a step. Now, raise your right leg in backward direction, and bring a 90 degree bend in your right knee. Stretch your arms towards your sides to balance your body weight. Try to keep your back straight, and avoid leaning forward. Hold this position for about 2 to 3 seconds, and place your right leg on the step. Repeat the exercise 10 more times, and then repeat the same for the other side.
These were the simple hamstring exercises to perform at home. You can include them in your daily exercise routine, and get well-toned and strong thighs. For effective results, it is recommended that you perform these exercises, at least twice a week.