Hamstrings are muscles that you’ll find down the back of your thighs, just under the hip to below the knee.

You engage these muscles the most when you’re running, climbing, and jumping. Keeping them strong can help you build your backside 🍑 and prevent injury.

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Your hamstrings are a group of three muscles (the biceps femoris, semimembranosus, and semitendinosus) that are found in the back of your upper leg.

Hamstring muscles are in charge of hip and knee movements. The ones you do while you’re walking, bending your knees, squatting, or tilting your pelvis (you know, the sexy stuff).

Unfortunately, hamstring injuries are also one of the most common sports injury and they can lead to a long recovery period. Plus, these injuries can repeat themselves. No thanks 🙅‍♂️!

But working these babies out keeps ‘em strong and can help prevent injuries.

Your body weight is all it takes to get your hamstrings fired up. Use good form and trust us, you’ll feel them burning in no time — at home, no equipment required.

1. Glute bridge

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Image by Dima Bazak

How to do it: Lying on your back with bent knees and feet flat on the ground, place your arms on your sides with palms facing down. Raise your hips high off the floor until your hips, knees, and shoulders make a straight line.

Give those glutes a nice squeeze and engage your core, but careful that your back isn’t overextending. Pause for a few seconds when your hips are fully raised before slowly going back down to starting position.

Reps/Sets: 3 sets of 10 reps

Pro Tip: Tuck your chin in a little bit during this exercise. Is it a cute look? No. But it may help you thrust those hips even harder.

2. Single-leg glute bridge

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Image by Dima Bazak

How to do it: Lie down on your back with those knees bent and shoulder-width apart. Place your arms at your sides with your palms down. Lift your right leg straight up, high to the sky, with your foot flexed.

Making sure your upper back is firmly planted on the ground, engage your glutes, and move through your left heel as your hips rise up until you make a straight line with your hips, knees, and shoulders. When your hips rise, freeze for a second, engaging your glutes before lowering back down. Repeat and switch sides.

Reps/Sets: 3 sets of 10–15 reps per side

3. Marching glute bridge

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Image by Dima Bazak

How to do it: Lying on your back, have your knees bent and shoulder-width apart. Place your hands by your sides, palms facing down.

Pressing your heels into the floor, thrust your pelvis up until your hips, knees, and shoulders make a straight line. Keep your bridge for a second while you raise your right knee toward your chest until your hips hit a 90-degree angle. Bring your heel back to the ground and raise the left knee the same way.

Reps/Sets: 3 sets of 5 reps each leg

Pro tip: As you’re raising and lowering your knees, make sure your back isn’t overextending and that your pelvis isn’t dipping.

4. Single-leg deadlift

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Image by Dima Bazak

How to do it: Stand with your feet hip-width apart. Leaning forward at your hips, move your weight onto you left leg while the right leg extends behind you. With a slight bend in your standing leg, gradually bring your extended leg back to starting position. Repeat and switch sides.

Reps/Sets: 3 sets of 15–20 reps per side

Pro tip: For tight hips, use a smaller range of motion.

5. Walking lunges

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Image by Dima Bazak

How to do it: Standing straight, feet shoulder-width apart, keep your hands by your sides, clasped in front of you, or even placed on your hips. Using your right leg, step forward pressing your weight through your heel. Bend your right knee, dropping down, parallel to the floor in a classic lunge position. Pause here for a second.

Next, without budging the right leg, bring your left foot forward, repeating the same move for the leftie leg. Pause again as your left leg is parallel, lunge style. Keep doing this, “walking” ahead as you lunge, and alternate legs.

Reps/Sets: 3 sets of 10 reps per side

6. Bulgarian split squat

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How to do it: Standing a couple of feet in front of a step or bench, put your left foot (toes down) on the step. Bend your right knee, dropping your body toward the ground until both knees have a 90-degree bend. Squeeze your glute as you bring yourself back to the starting position, making sure your weight is in your right leg. Repeat and switch sides.

Reps/Sets: 3 sets of 10 reps per side

Pro tip: If your right knee reaches in front of your ankle as you drop down, push your right foot farther out in front.

Adding a couple of dumbbells — or a kettlebell — is another way to power up your hamstring game.

7. Dumbbell deadlift

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How to do it: Holding a dumbbell in each hand (either in front of you or at your sides) fold forward at your hips with a slight bend in your knees.

Slowly drop the dumbbells to the floor but be sure your back doesn’t round here. Engage your core and glutes to rise back to standing position. Repeat.

Reps/Sets: 3 sets of 12–15 reps

8. Single-leg dumbbell deadlift

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How to do it: Hold a dumbbell in each hand at your sides. Slowly hinging at your hips, raise your left foot behind you, with a slight bend in your right knee. Move down until your chest is nearly parallel to the ground. Then press through the floor with your right leg to come back to the starting position. Repeat and switch sides.

Reps/Sets: 3 sets of 5–6 reps per side

9. Weighted glute bridge

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How to do it: Lay flat on your back, with your feet on the floor hip-distance apart. Hold a dumbbell above your hips and thrust your hips up. Make your body a straight line from shoulders to hips. Pause here before slowly coming back down to the ground.

Reps/Sets: 3 sets of 10 reps

10. Dumbbell elevated hip thrust

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How to do it: Grab a sturdy box or a bench so you’re resting your back against an elevated surface. Have your knees bent with your feet flat on the floor. Your feet should be shoulder-width apart and your shoulder blades should rest on the box. Place a dumbbell on top of your hipbones. Tuck your chin and push through your heels until you see your thighs are parallel to the floor with your legs at a 90-degree angle. Give those glutes a good squeeze here before coming back to start.

Reps/Sets: 3 sets of 12 reps

11. Weighted swing

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How to do it: Hold the top of a dumbbell (or a kettlebell) with both hands in front of you and your feet shoulder-width apart. Bend your knees a little, making sure your back isn’t rounding. Next, push your hips back, swinging the dumbbell between your legs. When the weight is behind you, engage your glutes as hard as you can and thrust your hips forward to get the dumbbell to swing up to chest level. Engage your glutes, core, and quads at the top of the swing, allowing the dumbbell to swing back down between your legs naturally. Repeat.

Reps/Sets: 2–3 sets of 10 reps

12. Dumbbell good morning

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How to do it: Stand nice and tall with your feet shoulder-width apart. Hold a dumbbell at the base of your neck, resting on the top of the shoulder blades. Keep a soft bend in your knees and engage your glutes. Bend at your hips, maintaining a flat back the whole time. Drop down so your chest is parallel with the floor. Push your feet forcibly into the floor, flexing your core. Now flip this movement into reverse, thrusting your hips forward while you stand nice and tall.

Reps/Sets: 3 sets of 8–12 reps

Tips: Keep your eyes looking ahead. You need your head to be aligned with your spine throughout this movement — don’t raise it up.

13. Dumbbell sumo squat

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How to do it: Get into a nice wide stance, toes pointed out. Hold the top of a dumbbell between your legs. Next, bend your knees, dropping your hips in a deep, wide squat. Your thighs should be parallel with the ground and the weight on the back in your heels. To get back up, straighten your legs completely and squeeze those glutes at the top.

Reps/Sets: 3 sets of 8–10 reps

14. Reverse dumbbell lunge

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How to do it: With a dumbbell in each hand, stand nice and tall, feet shoulder-width apart. Your arms should be hanging straight down by your sides. Drive your chest out as you take a big step backward, dropping your back knee toward the floor, maintaining a straight front shin as much as possible. Now use your leg muscles and core to thrust yourself back to starting position. Repeat and switch sides.

Reps/Sets: 3 sets of 12–15 reps per side

Tips: Keep an eye out that your front knee isn’t caving in. You’ll also want to get into your lunge by dipping your hips instead of pushing your knee forward.

If you’re looking for added resistance without using weights, grab a resistance band and get to work with these banded hamstring power moves.

15. Banded glute bridge

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How to do it: With a band secured right above your knees, lie flat on the ground, arms at a 45-degree angle. Raise your hips up, squeezing your glutes and pushing your heels into the ground. Now push your thighs out a little when you come up, slightly stretching the band. Bring your thighs back in and dip your hips back down with control.

Reps/Sets: 3 sets of 10 reps

16. Leg bridge knee drive with band

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How to do it: Start by lying on your back with knees bent and your band looped just above your knees. Have your feet planted firmly, and your arms down by your sides (palms down). Lift your hips up and raise your left leg (bent knee) up toward the sky. Engage your glutes as you raise up your hips, pushing through your right heel. Bring your leg and hips back to the ground with control. Repeat on the other side.

Reps/Sets: 3 sets of 10–12 reps on each side

17. Banded single-leg Romanian deadlift

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How to do it: Place your feet hip-width apart and place the band under the ball of your right foot. Then stagger your stance a bit by putting your left foot a few inches behind your right. Drive forward at your waist grasping the band using two hands, and extend your left leg behind you as you slightly bend your right knee.

Keep your right foot firmly on the ground. Putting plenty of tension on the band, push back up with your right leg muscles, keeping your shoulder blades back and together, chest lifted. Keep your left leg slightly staggered as you stand. Repeat and then move to the next side.

Reps/Sets: 2–3 sets of 10 reps on each side

18. Banded staggered stance deadlift

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How to do it: Place the band under the ball of your right foot. Hold the band with both hands as you stand straight up, feet below your hips. Stagger your left foot a few inches behind you with your knee slightly bent so your toes are pointed. Bend forward at your hips, lowering your torso until it’s nearly parallel to the ground. Keep your back straight and your neck neutral. Pause for a second here. Squeezing your glutes, hinge back up, bringing your torso back to starting position. Repeat before starting the next side.

Reps/Sets: 3 sets of 10–15 reps on each side

19. Banded hamstring curl

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How to do it: Stand with your feet hip-width apart and loop your resistance band right above your ankles. Give your ankle a good flex and pull your heel toward your booty by bending your knee in a controlled motion. When you can’t pull it any closer, it’s time to stop. Slowly return to start and repeat before moving to next side.

Reps/Sets: 3 sets of 12–15 reps each side

Tips: Swap out your resistance band for heavier ones as you build strength.

20. Standing resistance band kickback

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How to do it: Wrap your resistance band right above your ankles. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart so the band is taut. With your hands on your hips, engage your core, and kick your right leg back behind you (keep your leg straight and really squeeze your glutes). Bring your leg back to starting position, maintaining tension in the band. After your set is complete, switch legs and repeat.

Reps/Sets: 3 sets of 10–15 reps on each side

Tips: If you need a little help with balance, have a chair or another sturdy object nearby to lean on.

21. Banded good morning

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How to do it: Standing on your band, feet below your hips, carefully put one end around the back of your neck. Grabbing the band at your shoulder level, pull up a little to lessen the tension on your neck. Start the exercise by slightly unlocking your knees and bending forward from the hips as your spine stays neutral. Move down until your spine is parallel to the floor. Push through the entire foot as you lengthen your hip back to starting position.

Reps/Sets: 3 sets of 10–12 reps

Your hamstrings are responsible for hip and knee movements you use all the time. Keeping them strong doesn’t just help tone up your butt and legs, it can also help prevent injuries.