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Best Bodyweight Hamstring Exercises For Strong And Toned Legs

Updated: Apr 19

Looking to get strong and toned legs without hitting the gym? Many people want this but think they need fancy equipment or a personal trainer. Here's the good news: You don't need heavy weights or a gym membership to train your hamstrings effectively.

Bodyweight hamstring exercises are perfect for building strength, power, and endurance right at home.

Our guide offers the best bodyweight exercises for every level of fitness, from beginners to advanced athletes. Whether you're looking to start simple with Good Mornings and Glute Bridges or challenge yourself with Bulgarian Split Squats and Nordic Hamstring Curls, we've got you covered.

Discover how these exercises will help sculpt those legs into the strong foundation they're meant to be. Keep reading for leg day success!

Key Takeaways

  • Good Morning, Bodyweight Romanian Deadlifts and Crabwalk exercises are great for beginners wanting to strengthen their hamstrings at home without equipment.

  • Intermediate workouts like Reverse Lunges and single-leg Deadlifts focus on building muscle tone and improving stability in the legs.

  • Advanced exercises such as Bulgarian Split Squats, Jump Squats, and Nordic Hamstring Curls challenge your leg muscles more for increased strength and flexibility.

  • Consistently doing a variety of bodyweight hamstring exercises helps prevent injuries and enhances overall lower body strength and muscle tone.

  • Incorporating these exercises into your routine can significantly improve athletic performance by developing powerful, toned legs.

The Importance of Hamstring Training

Moving from an overview of why strong and toned legs are crucial, focusing on hamstring training emerges as a key element for achieving these goals. Strong hamstrings play a pivotal role in maintaining balance during both everyday activities and rigorous strength training routines.

They support movements essential for athletic performance, including running, jumping, and sprinting. These muscles work in harmony with your quads to stabilize your legs and prevent injuries.

Hamstring exercises enhance muscle strength without the need for equipment, making them ideal for at-home workouts.

Effective hamstring workouts target the biceps femoris, semimembranosus, and semitendinosus—the trio that compose this critical muscle group. Incorporating specific exercises into your regimen ensures comprehensive leg development and contributes significantly to overall lower body strength.

Especially considering hamstring activation can be achieved through simple bodyweight moves like lunges or squats; these practices leave no room for excuses when it comes to building powerful legs.

Beginner Bodyweight Hamstring Exercises

Build strength and improve muscle with beginner bodyweight hamstring exercises. Incorporate hamstring walk-outs, leg lifts, and good mornings to strengthen your hamstrings.

Good Morning

Good mornings are a superb choice for anyone starting their journey to stronger and more toned legs. This exercise targets the hamstrings and lower back, crucial areas for overall leg strength and stability.

Stand with your feet hip-width apart, hands on your hips or behind your head. Hinge at the hips, keeping your back straight, then bend forward as far as you can while maintaining a flat back.

Slowly return to the starting position. From personal experience, focusing on slow and controlled movements during this exercise significantly enhances its effectiveness.

Incorporating good mornings into your routine not only improves hamstring strength but also helps prevent injuries by strengthening the lower back. Many beginners overlook the importance of these foundational muscles when working out.

Yet they play a vital role in movements such as squats and deadlifts that come later in progressive training routines. Squeeze your glutes as you rise to add an extra challenge and further engage those key muscle groups.

Bodyweight Romanian Deadlift

The Bodyweight Romanian Deadlift is a stellar choice for beginners aiming to strengthen their hamstrings without the need for equipment. By focusing on the hip-hinge movement, this exercise ensures you're targeting the back of your thigh effectively.

I've personally incorporated it into my routine and noticed improved stability and balance, which echoes its reputation for enhancing those aspects alongside strength. It's simple yet effective: stand straight, hinge forward at your hips while keeping your legs straight but not locked, and lower your torso until you feel a stretch in your hamstrings.

The beauty of Bodyweight Romanian Deadlifts lies in their simplicity and impact on hamstring development.

Moving on from beginner exercises like the Romanian deadlift prepares you well for more challenging movements like Crabwalks that further engage your leg muscles.


Crabwalk is an effective bodyweight exercise that targets the glutes and hamstrings, helping to strengthen and tone the legs. It is a simple yet powerful full-body crawling movement that enhances leg strength, balance, and endurance.

This exercise requires no equipment, making it accessible for anyone looking to improve their lower body strength. By performing crabwalk regularly, individuals can build joint strength, core stability, and functional power.

The benefits of crabwalk extend beyond just the legs; this exercise engages the upper body and core muscles while utilizing one's own body weight for resistance. Not only does it help in toning and strengthening various muscle groups throughout the body but also supports fat burning.

Integrating crabwalk into workout routines offers a holistic approach to enhancing overall physical fitness. Crab walking forward activates hamstring muscles significantly, making it an integral part of any training regimen aimed at improving leg muscle strength.

Intermediate Bodyweight Hamstring Exercises

Maximize your hamstring workout with these challenging exercises and take your training to the next level. Ready to elevate your fitness routine?

Reverse Lunge

To perform a reverse lunge, stand with your feet hip-width apart and step your right foot back into a lunge position. Keep your chest up and core engaged as you lower your body down until both knees are bent at a 90-degree angle.

Push through the heel of your left foot to return to the starting position. Focus on engaging the hamstrings, glutes, and core throughout the movement for maximum benefit. This intermediate-level exercise not only strengthens and tones the legs but also engages the core, glutes, and upper body for an overall effective workout.

Once you have mastered the proper form, reverse lunges can be practiced regularly to enhance their effectiveness over time. This versatile exercise contributes significantly to lower body strength and stability while offering multiple benefits for toning and strengthening various muscle groups simultaneously.

Single-leg Deadlift

Coming off of the reverse lunge, let's delve into the single-leg deadlift. This exercise is a fantastic way to strengthen and tone your legs - especially those hamstrings! By standing on one leg with a slight bend, and maintaining a straight posture while hinging at the hips, you engage not only your hamstrings but also your glutes.

This intermediate bodyweight hamstring exercise contributes to overall leg strength and muscle tone. It's an effective way to build single-leg strength and improve body control without wobbling around.

Incorporating single-leg deadlifts into your workout routine will add significant value to building strong and toned legs. Trust me; this exercise targets key areas like the hamstrings and glutes to provide that firmness and stability that we all desire for our lower bodies!

Advanced Bodyweight Hamstring Exercises

Advanced Bodyweight Hamstring Exercises challenge your leg muscles for maximum strength and flexibility, helping you achieve toned and powerful legs that boost overall athletic performance.

Bulgarian Split Squat

The Bulgarian split squat is an advanced bodyweight exercise that targets the quads, hamstrings, glutes, and calves. This unilateral leg exercise effectively strengthens the muscles of the legs and promotes muscle balance.

As a certified strength and conditioning coach, I've seen firsthand how this exercise can help build strong and toned legs while improving overall lower body strength. The focus on the front leg works to even out muscle development in the quads, glutes, and hamstrings.

As a professional in the fitness industry, I recommend incorporating the Bulgarian split squat into your workout routine if you're looking to enhance lower body strength. Its ability to engage multiple muscle groups makes it one of the most effective exercises for building strong and defined legs.

Jump Squat

Transitioning from the Bulgarian Split Squat to jump squats, this dynamic exercise adds a plyometric element to your lower body workout. Jump squats engage all the leg muscles, including hamstrings, quadriceps, and calves.

These explosive movements effectively build lower body power and endurance while targeting the hamstrings for strength and tone. Perfect for home workouts with no equipment needed, incorporating weighted or plyometric variations can further boost power and enhance vertical jump performance.

Nordic Hamstring Curl

To perform the Nordic hamstring curl, start by kneeling on a mat with your feet secured under something sturdy. Slowly lean forward from your knees, lowering your body by bending at the hips until you're almost parallel to the ground.

Use your hamstrings to control the descent, then push yourself back up using your hands for support if needed. This exercise effectively targets and strengthens the hamstrings, offering benefits for improved athletic performance and reduced risk of injury.

The Nordic hamstring curl is well-known for its ability to enhance hamstring muscle strength and reduce the likelihood of acute injuries. It's a challenging yet effective movement that requires the controlled engagement of the hamstrings throughout each repetition.

Workout Plan for Bodyweight Hamstring Exercises

To effectively target the hamstrings and create a well-rounded workout, incorporate these bodyweight exercises into your routine. Strengthen your lower body with this workout plan for bodyweight hamstring exercises:

  1. Good Morning: Stand with feet shoulder-width apart, hands behind your head. Hinge at the hips to lower your torso until parallel to the floor, then return to the starting position.

  2. Bodyweight Romanian Deadlift: Stand with feet hip-width apart, knees slightly bent. Hinge at the hips to lower your torso while raising one leg straight back, then return to the standing position.

  3. Crabwalk: Sit on the floor with knees bent and feet flat. Lift your hips off the ground and start walking forward on your hands and feet.

  4. Reverse Lunge: Start standing with feet together, step one leg back into a lunge position, then return to the starting position.

  5. Single-leg Deadlift: Stand on one leg, hinge at the hips while extending the opposite leg straight back, then return to an upright position.

  6. Bulgarian Split Squat: Stand facing away from a bench or elevated surface, place one foot behind you on the bench, and lunge down using only the front leg.

  7. Jump Squat: Begin in a squat position, jump explosively into the air, then land softly in a squat position.

  8. Nordic Hamstring Curl: Kneel on a soft surface with ankles secured under something sturdy; lean forward slowly until you are almost parallel to the ground and lift yourself back up using only your hamstrings.

Incorporating these exercises will aid in preventing hamstring injuries and enhancing overall strength and muscle tone in your lower body.


Get ready to sculpt and strengthen your legs with these dynamic bodyweight hamstring exercises. Whether you're a beginner or a seasoned fitness enthusiast, there are options for every level to keep challenging and toning those hamstrings.

These exercises not only help build strength but also contribute to improved performance in various physical activities. With a combination of dedication and consistency, these exercises will pave the way for strong and toned legs that you'll be proud of.

So dive into these effective bodyweight hamstring exercises today!


1. What are the best bodyweight hamstring exercises?

The best bodyweight hamstring exercises include leg curls, single-leg deadlifts, and exercises that focus on knee flexion to strengthen and tone your legs without any equipment required.

2. How do I perform a leg curl for my hamstrings?

To do a leg curl, lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Lift one foot toward the ceiling while keeping your hips elevated, then lower it back down in a controlled manner.

3. Can I target both my right and left hamstrings equally?

Yes! By alternating between lifting your right leg and left leg during exercises like single-leg bridges or curls, you ensure both sides of your hamstrings get an equal workout.

4. What should I keep in mind to avoid injury while doing these exercises?

Always remember to keep your back straight and avoid overextending your knees. Start slowly with each exercise to build the strength of your hamstrings gradually.

5. Are there specific exercises for improving hamstring strength after an injury?

After experiencing a hamstring injury, gentle stretches and light resistance exercises under professional guidance can help rebuild strength safely. Always consult with a healthcare provider before starting any new exercise routine post-injury.

6. Why are bodyweight hamstring exercises important for overall fitness?

Bodyweight hamstring exercises help build strength in the legs without additional weights or equipment, making them accessible anytime and anywhere for maintaining strong and toned legs.

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