Top 5 Hamstring Exercises

My Favourite Hamstring Exercises For Prevention & Rehabilitation

 

As promised my favourite hamstring exercises for prevention and rehabilitation. They are in no specific order and can all be used to serve different purposes.

 

1. Romanian Deadlifts

 

Barbell Romanian Deadlifts are a great exercise to strengthen the glutes and hamstrings. I have found Barbell RDLs to be an effective way to focus on maximum strength development through the hamstring complex. Its an exercise that can be performed quite heavily whilst utilising good range of movement.

 

Single Leg RDLs on the other hand I have found to be a good exercise to assist in developing endurance and stability. Due to the stability component of performing this exercise on one leg it limits the amount of weight the exercise can be performed with and is better served to be used to utilise endurance and stability again whilst utilising good range of movement.

 

2. Glut Ham Raise

 

Glut Ham Raise is another exercise that can be used to develop endurance and or strength. Its a great and difficult exercise to perform well and when performed well can be a useful tool in prevention and or rehabilitation. The only drawback is not many gyms have this piece of equipment.

 

3. Seated Hamstring Curls

Seated Hamstring Curls are a good alternative to an RDL for anyone who doesn’t like to lift using a barbell or is not confident of their technique. If performed with heavy load and good control it can be a good alternative to an RDL and again can be performed with a single leg.

4. Split Stance Zerchers

 

Zerchers are very similar to RDLs but are performed using a split stance with a straight front leg which puts the hamstring in a lengthened position. It can  be used eccentrically to increase the angle at which peak torque is generated by the hamstring which can help to reduce the risk of sustaining a hamstring injury. Zerchers are very easy to perform and do not require any specialist equipment.

 

 

5. Partner Nordic Fallouts

 

A Partner Nordic Fallout is probably the most difficult hamstring exercise that can be performed. The mechanics are very similar to a glut ham raise however they require a lot of strength to be performed through good range and are really only a worthwhile exercise if performed through range. Again if performed well and through good range they can be a good exercise to increase angle to peak torque. Great exercise for prevention but remember good range is key and its important to try and put the hamstrings under as much strain as possible on the way down and up through the movement. This will ensure relevant strengthening through range.

 

 

These are my favourites, please feel free to add your own.

 

 

3 comments

  1. Niall

    Regarding Seated hamstring curls- these were always exercises that many people were warned away from due to their lack of ‘functional movement’. why do you think they would be beneficial? many gyms have these machines but appears to me people don’t use them properly or use them or don’t integrate them into a well rounded program

    1. Stephen

      Hey Niall,
      I understand why you have been warned away from them, however its important to remember that not all people are efficient weight lifters and have to rehab alone in many cases. More often than not if this is the case exercises like RDLs get performed very badly and people complain of feeling it in their back more than their hamstring. Its very hard to get a leg curl wrong and very simple to make it more effective by using it single leg or eccentrically. Also you must remember that all exercises don’t have to be functional, you could get somebody to put more force through a hamstring on a leg curl than on some more functional exercises. One of the biggest goals of rehabilitation is to increase the tissues ability to withstand force. So sometimes functionality is not necessary in all exercises we prescribe. And its a given for me that all programs should be balanced and well rounded.
      Cheers for the feedback and hope you enjoy the reading.
      Stephen

  2. Rory

    Hey Stephen

    Great blog, really enjoyable. How would you rate Swiss ball leg curls? I suppose you’re limited in terms of load so maybe as an assistance exercise? Single leg version? For RDLs are you looking for slight knee bend or a strict stiff leg version?

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