15 Best Glute and Hamstring Workouts with PDF

glutes and hamstrings workout

Whether you’re a bodybuilder or an athlete, strengthening your glutes and hamstrings is crucial for improving overall performance and minimizing the risk of injuries.

You can do numerous exercises to bolster these muscles at home and the gym.

In this article, I’ve shared some best glute and hamstring exercises that you can do with your body weight, dumbbells, barbells, and machines to build strength, mass, and mobility.

The strong hams and glutes help enhance jumping, running, sprinting, deadlifting, squatting, and cycling.

Whether you’re a male or female, you can integrate these exercises into your training program to build powerful and sexy glutes and hammies.

Should You Train Hamstrings and Glutes Together?

Yes, you can train your hamstrings and glutes together. Both muscles are located on the back of your lower body and connected to each other and work together in many lower body compound exercises, such as deadlifts, lunges, squats, and hip thrusts.

Training these muscles at the same time can help improve your overall lower body’s strength and power and improve athletic performance.

The glute and ham also provide stability to the thoracic, lumbar spine, and peripheral joints and reduce the risk of low back injuries. (1)

Moreover, training both muscle groups simultaneously allows you to optimize your workout time by efficiently targeting multiple areas at once.

How Do You Build Hamstrings and Glutes?

how to workout hamstrings and glutes

You can do a myriad of exercises to build your hamstring and glutes at the gym as well as at home.

Working out at the gym provides you with greater options than at home.

You can do plenty of exercises to build bigger glutes and hamstrings at the gym, such as Romanian deadlifts, hip thrusts, weighted step-ups, hamstring curls, and more.

When it comes to training at home, you can still perform numerous exercises, such as leg lifts, Nordic curls, reverse lunges, leg slides, glute bridges, and glute kickbacks.

10 Best Glute and Hamstring Exercises to Build Muscle at the Gym

Best Glute and Hamstring Workout
  1. Romanian Deadlift
  2. Hamstring Curl
  3. Barbell Good Morning
  4. Step up
  5. Hip Thrust
  6. Weighted Glute Bridge
  7. Cable Pull Through
  8. Belt Squat
  9. Lunges
  10. Hex Bar Deadlift

1. Romanian Deadlift

LevelMuscles WorkedEquipment Needed
BeginnerBiceps Femoris, semitendinosus & Glutes MaximusBarbell and weight plates

The Romanian deadlift helps build stronger hamstrings – demonstrated in a study published by the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research. 1Muscle activation during various hamstring exercises – National Institute of Health Database

It also activates the lower back and the glutes and improves hip mobility, making it an efficient exercise to incorporate into your glute and hamstring gym workout routine.

How to perform an RDL step-by-step:

  1. Set the appropriate weight in the bar and place it on the floor before you.
  2. Stand straight in the hip-to-shoulder-width stance with your feet underneath the middle of the bar.
  3. Keeping your back straight, hinge your hips to grab the bar. Maintain a slight bend in your knees.
  4. Hold the bar with an overhand grip, hands slightly wider than shoulder-width apart, and palms facing the body. You can also use an alternate or hook grip.
  5. Brace your core, inhale, push your feet into the floor, and slowly lift the weight from the ground. Pull your shoulder blades back as you lift, and press your hips forward as you stand up. That’s your one rep.
  6. Hold for 3 to 5 seconds, and slowly lower the weight until the bar reaches your knee height.
  7. Again, lift the weight and complete the second rep. Repeat for the desired number of repetitions.

Additional Tips:

  • Keep your glutes, thighs, and core engaged throughout the movement.
  • Keep your back straight and the barbell close to your body throughout the movement.

2. Machine Leg Curl

LevelMuscles WorkedEquipment Needed
BeginnerHamstringsMachine
Lying Machine Leg Curl
Lying Leg Curl

The machine leg curl is an isolation exercise that primarily targets the rear thigh and helps build firm legs.

You can do this exercise in several ways. For example, you can do a seated hamstring curl, a lying leg curl, a lying dumbbell leg curl, or a standing cable leg curl.

You can do any of the above exercises depending on the equipment available. However, machines can be safe and more effective than others.

How to do lying machine leg curl:

  1. Lie prone on a hamstring curl machine and place your feet under the roller pad. Make sure the roller pad rests above the heels and below your calves.
  2. Grab the side of the bench firmly with your hands and keep your legs fully straight behind you. That’s the start.
  3. Inhale and slowly curl your legs until you feel your hamstring and glute muscles contract.
  4. Pause for a couple of seconds, and then extend your legs until they are straight. That’s on repetition.
  5. Do three sets of 10 to 12 repetitions each with 1 to 3 minutes rest between sets.

3. Good Morning

LevelMuscles WorkedEquipment Needed
IntermediatePosterior ChainBarbell

The Good morning strengthens and tones the hamstring and glute muscles, increases stability and balance, and makes your lower body flexible.

It provides decent stretch to your posterior chain and prepares your muscles for other resistance exercises. So, you can start your glutes and hamstring workout training with this exercise.

How to do good morning with a barbell:

  1. Grab an Olympic barbell and stand upright with your feet shoulder-width apart.
  2. Place the bar on the back of your shoulders and firmly grab them with your hands.
  3. Pushing your hips back, bend your torso forward until your chest is parallel to the floor. You’ll feel the stretch in your lower back, glutes, and hamstrings.
  4. Hold in the lower position for three to five seconds and then return your body to standing.
  5. Keep your back straight and core tight throughout the movement.
  6. Do three sets of 10 to 12 repetitions each with 1 to 3 minutes rest between sets.

4. Weighted Step up

LevelMuscles WorkedEquipment Needed
IntermediateLegs and GlutesBench/Box and Dumbbells

Step-up and its variations elicit higher glute muscle activation compared to more than 10 exercises, including hip thrust, lunges, split squats, and deadlifts – showed in a study published by the Journal of Sports Science and Medicine. 2Gluteus Maximus Activation during Common Strength and Hypertrophy Exercises: A Systematic Review on National Institute of Health Website

They also activate the quadriceps, hamstrings, and abdominal muscles and provide firmness to the entire lower body.

How to perform a weighted step-up step-by-step:

  1. Grab one dumbbell in each hand, and stand against a higher object, such as a flat bench or a box.
  2. Hold your arms straight at your sides with your palms facing inwards.
  3. Step up your right foot on the bench so your knees are bent at 90 degrees.
  4. Pressing down through your right foot, bring your left foot onto the bench to meet your right foot. Now, you’re standing, and that’s your one rep.
  5. Bend your right knee, return your left foot to the ground, followed by the right foot, and repeat for the required number of times.
  6. Complete two to three sets of 8 to 10 repetitions each (with both your foot) with 1 to 2 minutes interval between sets.

5. Hip Thrust

LevelMuscles WorkedEquipment Needed
IntermediateGlute and HamSmith Machine/Barbell and Weight Plates
glutes and hamstring workout

The hip thrust and its variations elicit higher muscle activation in the gluteus maximus, erector spine, and hamstrings3 Barbell Hip Thrust, Muscular Activation, and Performance: A Systematic Review – Journal of Sports Medicine and help increase strength and mass.

Athletes to bodybuilders perform this exercise to improve their athletic and lifting performance.

How to do barbell hip thrust on a smith machine:

  1. Set the smith machine bar to bar to an appropriate height.
  2. Attach a thick sponge to the middle of the bar so it can help you perform safely.
  3. Place a bench on the floor a few inches back from the bar.
  4. Put your upper back on the bench with your feet firmly on the floor and knees bent to 90 degrees so your chest and knees are in line. You can use a balance pad on your hip for more safety.
  5. Let the bar rest on your hips. You can also grip the bar with your hands.
  6. Brace your abdominal muscles, inhale, and push your hips upward as high and fast as you can.
  7. Squeezing your glutes, hamstrings, and hips, hold in the upward position for a couple of seconds, and then return to the start. This is your one repetition.
  8. Perform as many reps and sets as you like.

6. Weighted Glute Bridge

LevelMuscles WorkedEquipment Needed
BeginnerGlutes Medium and MaximusDumbbell/Plates

The weighted glute bridge targets the gluteal and hamstring muscles and helps improve strength, balance, and mobility

It is suitable for all fitness enthusiats, from beginners to advanced and males to females.

You can pair this exercise with Romanian DL, step-up, cable pull-through, and leg curl to develop your posterior chain muscles.

How to do the weighted glute bridge

  1. Lie on your back with your knees bent to 90 degrees and feet flat on the ground.
  2. Grab a weight plate or a dumbbell and place it on your hips.
  3. Brace your abdominal muscle, inhale, and press your hips upward as high as possible.
  4. Squeezing your gluteus and hamstrings, hold for a moment at the top, and then return your hips to the ground. That’s one rep.
  5. Do as many reps and sets as needed.

7. Cable Pull Through

LevelMuscles WorkedEquipment Needed
IntermediateGlute and HamCable Machine

The cable pull-through is one of the underrated bodybuilding exercises for developing a firm and flexible posterior chain.

It increases time under tension, eccentric muscle damage, and overall muscular activation of the glutes and hamstrings and helps build strength and mass.

How to do cable pull through

  1. Attach the rope to the lowest section of the cable pulley machine.
  2. Stand straight (one step forward) in the shoulder-width stance with your back facing the cable pulley machine.
  3. Keeping your back straight, hinge at your hips and slightly bend your knees to grab the rope firmly between your legs.
  4. Engaging your lower body, push your feet into the floor as you extend your hips forward and stand straight. That’s one rep!

Additional Tips:

  1. Your core should be engaged during the movement.
  2. You’ll feel the contraction in your glutes and hamstrings.
  3. Perform the desired number of sets and reps depending on your strength.

8. Belt Squat

LevelMuscles WorkedEquipment Needed
AdvancedLegs and GlutesBelt Squat Machine

A study has shown that the belt squat is an exercise that highly activates the glutes Maximus and adds strength and mass to the entire lower body muscles.4 Comparison of Muscle Activation Between Back Squats and Belt Squats – Journal Strength and Conditioning Research

However, you need access to the belt squat machine to perform this exercise, which many gyms do have.

Steps to perform a belt squat:

  1. Wear the gym belt around your waist. A belt that has the option to attach a connecter.
  2. Stand straight in the shoulder-width stance (in front of the belt squat machine) with your feet slightly pointing outward.
  3. Put the appropriate weight into the machine.
  4. Bend at your hips and knees to connect the belt to the machine.
  5. Place your hands on the bar in front of you for support.
  6. Keep your core engaged, take a deep breath, push through your feet downward, and stand straight until your hips and knees are fully extended. This is your one repetition.
  7. You’ll feel the contraction in your entire lower body, including your hamstrings and glutes, throughout the movement

9. Reverse Lunges

LevelMuscles WorkedEquipment Needed
IntermediateHams, Glutes, Groins, and QuadsDumbbells/Barbell/Smith Machine

The reverse lunges are great for developing lower body strength, balance, flexibility, and functional movement.

You can pair it with RDL, step-up, hip-thrust, and leg curl to bolster your glute and hams simultaneously.

How to do a lunge with step-by-step instructions:

  1. Set the appropriate weight into the bar.
  2. Unrack the bar from the machine, place it on the back of your shoulder and stand straight with your feet together.
  3. Bring your left leg back as you squat down on your right leg. You can go as lower as you can in the squat position.
  4. Squeezing your front leg, press your feet into the floor, and extend your knees to return to standing. You can also stand in the split stance during the entire movement.
  5. Depending on your strength, use weight and do a specific number of sets and reps on both sides.

The smith machine provides stability and helps you perform it more safely.

10. Hex Bar Deadlift

LevelMuscles WorkedEquipment Needed
BeginnerIntegrated Full BodyHex bar and weight plates
Hex Bar Deadlift
Hex/Trap Bar Deadlift

The hex bar deadlift is one of the safest deadlift variations.

It is suitable for beginners as it allows them to lift the load efficiently.

It works on several muscles at once, including the hamstring and glutes.

You can include this workout in your muscle-building workout routine to boost lower body strength.

How to do a trap or hex bar deadlift:

  1. Set the appropriate weight to the hex bar and stand upright in the middle of it, with your feet hip-width apart.
  2. Drive your hips backward, and slightly bend your knees to grab the handles of the trap bar.
  3. Keep your core tight, chest up, back straight, and shoulder blades down. This is your starting position.
  4. Inhale and push through your heels into the ground, and slowly lift the bar with your full strength until your hips are fully extended.
  5. Squeeze your hamstrings and glute for a few seconds, then slowly lower the bar on the floor. This is your one repetition.
  6. Aim for three sets of eight to 10 reps with 2-3 minutes of rest in between.

5 Best Glute and Hamstring Workouts to do at Home

Don’t worry if you have no gym access; you can still perform many exercises to build your hams and glutes at home using your body weight and resistance bands.

Let’s find out what exercises you can do and how to do them step by step:

1. Nordic Hamstring Curl

LevelMuscles WorkedEquipment Needed
IntermediateHamstringsBodyweight

The nordic curl is a bodyweight hamstring exercise that increases strength, mobility, and flexibility, improves the overall range of motion, and prevents tightness and discomfort in your hammies.

It also engages the calves, glutes, and lower back muscles, enhancing lower body health.

How to perform a Nordic curl:

  1. Sit on your knees with your upper body fully straight and keep your feet behind you.
  2. Keep your arms crossed on your chest, and ask your partner to hold your feet firmly.
  3. With your hips extended, slowly lower your torso toward the ground until you can’t longer go down.
  4. When you can’t hold your body, put your hands out in front of you on the floor.
  5. Hold for a moment, and then return your torso to the start. That’s your one rep.
  6. Keep your back straight and core engaged during the entire movement.
  7. You’ll feel the stretch in your hamstrings when you lower your trunk.

2. Resistance Band Leg Curl

LevelMuscles WorkedEquipment Needed
BeginnerPosterior ThighResistance Band

The resistance band leg curl is as effective as the machine leg curl when it comes to producing muscle contraction and overall results.

You can adjust the tension level depending on your fitness level and target your hamstrings effectively.

You can do some other exercises with the bands to bolster your hammies in the corner of your home.

How to do a banded leg curl:

  1. Lie on your stomach with your arms on the floor underneath your chest.
  2. Anchor the band, and wrap it around your ankle.
  3. Keeping your hamstring and glute engaged, flex your knees until you feel the contraction.
  4. Pause for a moment, and then extend your legs fully behind you. That’s one repetition.
  5. Do two to three sets of 10 to 15 reps each.

3. Resistance Band Leg Kickback

LevelMuscles WorkedEquipment Needed
IntermediateGlute and Rear ThighResistance Band

The leg kickback is a low-impact exercise that targets the glutes, improves hip mobility, and enhances balance and stability. It also targets the abdominal muscles and strengthens the lower back.

Steps to do a banded glute kickback:

  1. Sit on all fours and wrap the resistance band around the right foot and hold the other side of the band with your right hand.
  2. Lift your one leg off the floor and kick behind you until you feel the stretch in your hamstrings.
  3. Pause for a second and then return your feet to the ground.
  4. Keep doing it for 10 to 15 reps and complete 2 sets on each side.

4. Glute to Hamstring Bridge

LevelMuscles WorkedEquipment Needed
BeginnerHamstringsNone

The glute-to-hamstring bridge is a bodyweight workout that targets the posterior chain muscle and improves hip mobility.

It requires no equipment; you can do it anywhere from home to the gym.

Steps to do it:

  1. Lie down on your back on the mat with your knees bent in front of you.
  2. Keep your core tight and your arms straight at your sides.
  3. Lift your hips off the ground as high as possible and then raise your one leg straight in front of you until your knee, hip, and shoulder form a straight line.
  4. Hold in that position for a couple of seconds, then return your feet to the floor and raise your other leg.
  5. Do three sets of 8 to 10 repetitions each (with both your foot) with 1 to 2 minutes rest between sets.

5. Leg Slide

LevelMuscles WorkedEquipment Needed
IntermediateHamstringsSlider

The slider leg curl is a bodyweight compound movement that strengthens the glutes and hamstrings, increases lower body flexibility, and improves running and jumping performance.

A study has shown that leg slide highly engages the bicep femoris and semitendinosus and suggested using it for strengthening and rehabilitation purposes.5 Muscle and intensity based hamstring exercise classification in elite female track and field athletes: implications for exercise selection during rehabilitation – Open Access Journal of Sports Medicine

Steps to perform a slide leg curl:

  1. Lie on your back with your knees bent to 90 degrees and your right heel on the slider (you can use anything that can easily slide on the floor).
  2. Keep your arms straight at your sides and lift your left leg off the floor until your knee and hip are in a horizontal line and your foot is facing forward.
  3. Engaging your glutes and hamstring, slide your left foot forward slowly until it is straight, and then reverse the move to complete one rep.
  4. Do three sets of 8 to 10 repetitions each (with both your foot) with 1 to 2 minutes rest between sets.

60-Minute Glutes and Hamstrings Workout to Build Mass

You can use the above exercises to create a workout routine.

When designing a workout routine, it’s important to include compound exercises that work multiple muscle groups and isolation exercises that target specific muscles. Combining both can help you achieve optimal results.

It is also crucial to focus on gradually increasing the load and the intensity over time to continue making progress.

Here’s an example of a one-hour gym workout routine to build stronger and bigger glutes and hamstrings.

Please note: Perform dynamic stretching to prepare your muscles for resistance exercises and maintain the proper form during each exercise to prevent injury.

Week 1 and 3

  1. Weighted Step up – 3 sets of 12, 10, and 8 reps
  2. Barbell Romanian Deadlift – 3 sets of 8, 6, and 4 repetitions
  3. Hamstring Curl – 3 sets of 12, 10, and 8 reps
  4. Weighted Glute Bridge – 3 sets of 12, 10, and 8 reps
  5. Barbell Hip Thrust – 3 sets of 10, 8, and 6 reps

Week 2 and 4

  1. Split Squat / Lunges – 3 sets of 12, 10, and 8 reps
  2. Hex Bar Deadlift – 3 sets of 8, 6, and 4 repetitions
  3. Barbell Good Morning – 3 sets of 10, 8, and 6 reps
  4. Cable Pull Through – 3 sets of 10, 8, and 6 reps
  5. Belt Squat / Hamstring Curl – 3 sets of 12, 10, and 8 reps

Download Glute and Hamstring Workout PDF

References

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Picture of Murshid Akram

Murshid Akram

I’m a personal trainer, fitness blogger, and founder of thefitnessphantom.com. I help people achieve their best shape through my science-based and practical workout programs.
Picture of Murshid Akram

Murshid Akram

I’m a personal trainer, fitness blogger, and founder of thefitnessphantom.com. I help people achieve their best shape through my science-based and practical workout programs.
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About Me

I’m Murshid Akram, a personal trainer, fitness blogger, and founder of thefitnessphantom.com. I primarily design workout plans and share science-based and practical information that can help you become stronger, functional, and healthier.

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