The hamstring. Is there a more vital—yet more neglected muscle?
Responsible for extending and contracting our legs, your hamstrings are in charge of much of our movement, and even help prevent back and knee pain.
Yet we repay this service by building up our calves, quads, and glutes.
This can of course come back and hit us when we least expect. A torn hamstring is in fact the most common kind of sports injury, and definitely not something you’d want to endure.
Yet it keeps happening, and for a simple enough reason: practically invisible, the hamstring is incredibly easy to forget about.
As you’ve certainly guessed by now, we will dedicate today’s article to the most important muscle that you’ve never work out. Follow this advice, and you will stay lean, mean, and always upright!
Hamstring Problemsand What Causes Them
Your hamstrings can essentiallyunderperform in two ways: they can be just weak, or they can be weak and tight.
Weak hamstrings will hurt your posture andlead to back pain, besides making regular movements like standing up slightlymore difficult and unpleasant for reasons you may or may not realize outright.Additionally, weak hamstrings will not properly play the role of support toyour other muscles, which will open them up for injuries.
Tight hamstrings however, may be torn withactivity, which not only hurts, but will likely force you under the knife.Ouch!
But it doesn’t have to be this way. Exercising the hamstrings not only makes them stronger, but also more flexible.
As an added bonus, most of these moves will also work your glutes and even core! Just don’t forget to warm up beforehand, perhaps even stretch! Injury may happen to the best of ‘em, but that doesn’t mean that it has to happen to you!
The List: 15Calisthenics Moves for Your Hamstrings
For easier reference, we will separatethese exercises into three difficulty tiers: Beginner, Intermediate, andAdvanced. If you are just starting out or perhaps recovering from an injury, weobviously recommend the Beginner exercises. If however, you are an experiencedcalisthenics practitioner, feel free to dig into the meat of the article.
Let’s start with a true classic. Whole thisone does require a bit of gear (or at the very least some improvisation orassistance), it is an all-around solid move that you shouldn’t avoid.
Inchworms are an excellent way ofstretching out your hamstrings while also working out your upper body and core.
These seem easy enough, but done properlywill hit both your hamstrings and your entire posterior chain. Just keep bothyour back and legs straight!
For hamstrings and glutes. Anotherexcellent place to start with. Just keep your posterior tight and elevated.
These are an all-in-one move that not onlyworks your hamstrings, but also your shoulders, triceps, lower back, and glutes.
Like the natural leg curl, this one isexcellent. A bit more difficult, but comes with more payoff. Hits your back,glutes, and core.
Yet another move that may require a bit ofequipment or improvisation, these will set your legs on fire! As an addedbonus, they will also hit your lower back muscles.
A great way to engage your hamstrings and glutes. What is also nice about it is the fact that you can fine-tune the difficulty by moving closer to (making the move easier), or away from the bar (making it more difficult).
We love bridges, and given that this one isfocused on your hamstrings, we just had to list it here. An all-around greatexercise for your entire lower body.
Yet another move that requires either apiece of gear or assistance. Here your efforts will go toward lowering yourselfrather than raising yourself up. Hits both your hamstrings and glutes.
Reverse lunges specifically target yourhamstrings and glutes, making them one of the most effective moves on thislist, bang-for-buck wise.
Think of the hanging leg curl, but withadded elevation. Said elevation transfers into significantly greater intensity.
The added elevation, as you will notice foryourself, will make a lot ofdifference. Does everything the glute bridge does, but is of course harder andmore rewarding.
Utterly brutal, but oh so effective. Workspretty much everything but your arms and shoulders.
Like everything on the Advanced tier, thisone is difficult and taxing, but hits your hamstrings, glutes, and most of yourposterior chain. Well worth the suffering. For an added challenge, try theone-legged version.
These will cover all your hamstring-relatedneeds, and then some. Remember: the fact that you can’t see it, does not in anyway lower its importance.
Good luck, and feel the burn!
Chris is an experienced Calisthenics practitioner focused on isometric exercises and street workout. He founded thehybridathlete.com in 2017, which was subsequently acquired by theyhybridathlete.com
He is based in Portland and has been working out using solely his own body weight and bars for the past 6 years.