5 Best Calisthenics Hamstring Exercises to Sculpt Your Legs

The hamstrings, located on the back of the thigh, are a group of three muscles – the semitendinosus, semimembranosus, and biceps femoris.1 Anatomy, Bony Pelvis, and Lower Limb, Hamstring Muscle – Stat Pearls (NLM Journal) These muscles are involved in various calisthenics lower body exercises, such as squats, lunges, and bridges.

By bolstering your hammies, you can increase your lower body strength, balance, and flexibility, enhance your athletic performance, and minimize the risk of injuries.

In this article, I’ve shared the five best calisthenics hamstring exercises that can help you reinforce your posterior thighs without using major gym equipment.

Whether you’re a newbie or working out for a while, you can integrate some of these exercises into your workout routine to progress your lower body health.

5 Best Calisthenics Hamstring Exercises to Bolster Your Legs

  1. Single Leg Deadlift
  2. Single-Leg Elevated Bridge
  3. Nordic Hamstring Curl
  4. Sliding Curl
  5. Glute Bridge Walkout

1. Single Leg Deadlift

Calisthenics Hamstring Workout

About Exercise

Benefits

  1. Enhances balance and stability by focusing on one leg at a time.
  2. Makes the lower body firm and flexible.
  3. Engages the core for better abdominal strength.
  4. Prevent muscle imbalances and improve muscle symmetry.

How-to Guide

  • Set-up: Stand upright with your feet together and arms straight against your thigh.
  • Execution: Hinge forward by raising your right leg behind until your torso and leg are parallel to the floor.
  • Finish: Pause for a few seconds, then return your legs to the start. Repeat on the opposite side.

Recommended Reps and Sets

Perform three to four sets of eight to ten reps per leg.

2. Single-Leg Hamstring Bridge

About Exercise

  • Difficulty Level: Beginner to Intermediate
  • Muscle Worked: Hamstrings, Buttocks, Lower Back, and Abdominals
  • Equipment Needed: A Flat Bench or a Box; you can also do it using the bed at your home.

Benefits

  • Engage the hamstring and glutes simultaneously.3 Lehecka, B J et al. “BUILDING A BETTER GLUTEAL BRIDGE: ELECTROMYOGRAPHIC ANALYSIS OF HIP MUSCLE ACTIVITY DURING MODIFIED SINGLE-LEG BRIDGES.” International Journal of Sports Physical Therapy vol. 12,4 (2017): 543-549.
  • Enhance hip stability and flexibility.
  • Activates the core muscles, improves posture, and makes the lower spine less susceptible to injuries.
  • Helps correct muscle imbalances between the legs.

How-to Guide

  • Set-up: Lie on the floor with your face up and position your right foot on the bench with your fingers pointing upward. Lift your left leg off the ground and hold it in a diagonal position with your knee softly bent. That’s the start.
  • Execution: Brace your core and lift your hips off the floor until your hamstrings are fully engaged.
  • Finish: Pause for a moment, feel the work in your hammies, then return to the start.

Recommended Reps and Sets

Perform two to three sets of 10-15 reps on each side. You can also do extra reps and sets for your weaker side.

3. Nordic Curl

About Exercise

  • Difficulty Level: Intermediate
  • Muscle Worked: Lower Back and Rear Thigh
  • Equipment Needed: It requires no equipment but the support of a partner.

Benefits

  • It isolates and strengthens the hamstrings and glutes effectively.
  • Increase flexibility in your posterior chain muscles.
  • Improve your ability to control the body balance.
  • It helps recover hamstring injuries and reduce pain.4 van Dyk N, Behan FP, Whiteley R. Including the Nordic hamstring exercise in injury prevention programmes halves the rate of hamstring injuries: a systematic review and meta-analysis of 8459 athletes. Br J Sports Med. 2019;53(21):1362-1370. doi:10.1136/bjsports-2018-100045

How-to Guide

  • Set-up: Sit on your knees with your chest up and back straight. Keep your arms crossed over your torso, and ask your partner to hold your ankles for support. That’s the start.
  • Execution: Keeping your knees on the floor, slowly lower your body as close to the ground as possible.
  • Finish: Pull your body back to the start and repeat. You’ll feel the contraction in your biceps femoris.

Recommended Reps and Sets

Aim for three to four sets of 10 to 12 reps.

4. Sliding Leg Curl

About Exercise

  • Difficulty Level: Beginner to Intermediate
  • Muscle Worked: Glutes, Hams, and Core
  • Equipment Needed: Core Sliders/ Workout Sliding Discs

Benefits

  • Reinforces posterior thigh and glutes maximus.
  • Bolster the abdominal muscles and help sculpt the core.
  • Develops functional and athletic fitness where legs are involved.

How-to Guide

  • Setup: Lie on the floor with your arms straight at your sides, knees bent, and your heels on the sliding discs.
  • Execution: Slowly slide your heels toward your glutes by bending your knees. Keep your hips elevated and focus on using your hamstrings to perform the curl.
  • Finish: Extend your legs back to the starting position in a controlled manner.

Recommended Reps and Sets

Perform three sets of 10-15 reps.

5. Glute Bridge Walkout

About Exercise

  • Difficulty Level: Intermediate
  • Muscle Worked: Hamstrings, Glute, and Lower Back
  • Equipment Needed: None

Benefits

  • It works on multiple muscles simultaneously, including the rear thigh.
  • The bridge walkout is a dynamic exercise that also burns decent calories in a short time.

How-to Guide

  • Set-up: Lie on the ground with your knees bent, arms straight by your sides, and feet flat on the ground.
  • Execution: Lift your hips off the ground, get into the bridge position, and walk your feet out until your legs are straight.
  • Finish: Reverse the movement and return to the start.

Recommended Reps and Sets

Perform three sets of 8-10 times.

References

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Murshid Akram
I'm an online personal trainer, fitness blogger, and fitness enthusiast. I love researching and writing about exercise and nutrition. I share science-based, practical, and logical information that can help you achieve your desired fitness goal.
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