Whether you’re an athlete or a typical fitness enthusiast, you can do kettlebell exercises to strengthen and tone your hamstring muscles. Kettlebell workouts increase strength and mobility and build powerful hamstrings.
The hamstring is one of the essential muscles of the lower body located on the back of your thighs. It has three muscles, semitendinosus, semimembranosus, and biceps femoris.1 Muscles in the Posterior Compartment of the Thigh– Teach Me Anatomy
To build muscular ham and reduce the risk of injuries, you’ll need to work on each muscle. I’ve compiled the seven best kettlebell exercises to strengthen and tone hamstring muscles and develop athletic and toned thighs.
Are Kettlebells Good For Hamstrings?
You can do numerous exercises for the hamstring with kettlebells, such as – kettlebell good morning, hamstring deadlift, hamstring curl, and many more (you’ll see each workout with the step-by-step guide).
Here are the top three reasons why kettlebells are good for hamstrings.
- They increase strength, mobility, and power and help you develop stronger hamstrings.
- A kettlebell allows a better range of motion and helps you target the muscles specifically.
- Hamstring kettlebell exercises do not only strengthen muscles but also reduce the chances of injuires.
The Best Kettlebell Exercises For Hamstring Muscles
Here’s a quick list of the top seven kettlebell exercises for the hamstring.
- Kettlebell Good Morning
- Kettlebell Romanian Deadlift
- Single-Leg Kettlebell Hamstring Deadlift
- Single-Leg Kettlebell Hamstring Curl
- One-Leg Kettlebell Hamstring Thrust
- Russian Kettlebell Swings
- Deficit Stiff-Legged KB Deadlift
Let’s see how to do the above exercises with the stepwise instructions.
1. Kettlebell Good Morning
The good-morning is a strength and conditioning workout that works on hamstrings, glutes, and lower back.
It boosts strength, mobility and reduces the risk of injuries. So, if you work out even with one kettlebell, you can do good morning for stronger hams.
Below are the steps for how to:
- Standing in the hip-width stance, pick a kettlebell with a crush grip, and hold it in front of your chest with your elbows bent and pointing downward. That’s the start.
- Brace your core, hips, and thighs, and keep your back straight.
- Slightly bend your knees and slowly lean your torso forward until it parallels the floor.
- Stay in that position for a couple of seconds, and then pressing into the floor through your heels, return into the standing position until your hips come forward. That’s one rep.
- You’ll feel the contraction in your hamstrings when you extend your hips forward.
- Suggested sets and reps: three sets with 6 to eight reps each.
You can also do good morning by keeping the KB behind your head. You’ll grip the KB handle behind your neck, so your elbows point forward in this movement.
Depending on which one is comfortable for you, you can do one of them.
2. Kettlebell Romanian Deadlift
The kettlebell RDL is one of the crucial workouts for strengthening the hamstring muscles.
The Romanian deadlift highly activates ham muscles during the various hamstring exercises – shown in a study published by the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research.2 Muscle activation during various hamstring exercises – Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research
You can easily do it by following the below steps:
- Pick a kettlebell and stand upright with your feet hip-width apart.
- Keep your arms straight, so the KB is between your thighs and your palms.
- Pushing your hips back, lower the KB as far as possible with a slight bend in your knees.
- Pushing your heels into the floor, thrust your hips forward to return to the starting position. That is your one rep!
- Recommended sets and reps: three groups with six to eight repetitions each.
3. Single-leg Kettlebell Hamstring Deadlift
The kettlebell one-leg deadlift is another workout for the hamstring that not only strengthens muscles but also improves flexibility and balance.
How to perform:
- Holding a kettlebell in your right hand, stand upright with your feet and arms straight at your sides.
- Lowering the weight down, lift your right leg off the floor until your torso and leg are parallel to the ground.
- Focus on your hams for a couple of seconds in that position before you return to the start.
- You’ll feel the contraction in your hamstrings and glutes when you raise your leg behind.
- Do as many times as you like.
4. Single-leg Kettlebell Hamstring Curl
The kettlebell hamstring curl is an isolation workout that allows you to target and strengthen hamstring muscles specifically.
So if you want to focus only on your hams, it can be helpful for you.
Steps to do hamstring curl:
- Lie on the floor on your stomach with your face down.
- Keep your arms bent at your sides with your fingers pointing forward.
- Clamp your right foot in the handle of KB and curl your leg as much as possible.
- Squeeze your hamstrings for a second or two before returning your leg to the start.
- Do two to three sets of eight to ten reps each for your legs.
5. One-leg Kettlebell hamstring thrust
The hip thrust is an intermediate exercise for the hamstring that you can also do with a kettlebell.
It works on various muscles simultaneously, such as hips, glutes, and hamstrings.
You can do a glute-ham raise workout with single-leg deadlift and hamstring curl.
- Place your upper back on the bench and keep your feet flat on the floor. Make sure your knees are in line with your hips.
- Grip a kettlebell, hold it on your hips, and keep your core tight.
- Thrusting your hips upward, raise your left foot off the floor until your leg is straight.
- Holding your leg straight, pause for a couple of seconds, and return your foot to the floor. That’s your first repetition.
- Do two to three sets of six to eight reps each for each leg.
6. Russian Kettlebell Swing
The kettlebell swing is a full-body workout and helps you develop explosive strength and power.3 Kettlebell swing training improves maximal and explosive strength – Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research.
It has various health benefits, so including it in your hamstring kettlebell worout routine will develop not only hamstring strength but also overall performance.
- Grab a kettlebell and stand straight in the shoulder-width stance.
- Keep your arms straight in front of your thighs, so the weight is between your legs.
- Push your hips back to bend forward so the KB reaches backward from and between your thighs.
- Drive through your heels and use your hamstrings and glutes to stand up as you swing the KB in front of you at your chest height.
- Your hips will generate power to swings, not your shoulder.
- Keep your spine in a neutral position during the movement.
- Do as many times as you like.
7. Deficit Stiff-Legged KB Deadlift
One more deadlift variation you can incorporate into your routine is the stiff-leg deadlift.
It is slightly different from RDL but works on the back of your thighs and builds up strong legs.
Follow the below steps to do the straight leg deadlift:
- Holding a kettlebell, stand straight on the weight plates with your feet shoulder-width apart.
- Keep your arms straight between your legs with your palms are facing in and shoulder blades slightly down. But maintain a neutral spine position.
- Keeping your knees locked, push your hips back and lower the weight as low as possible.
- Extend your hips to return to the standing position.
- Press your feet into the floor as you extend your hips so you can feel the contraction in your hamstring muscles.
- Do three sets of six to eight reps each.
Hamstrings Kettlebell Workout Routine
- Kettlebell Good Morning: 8-10 reps x 3 sets
- Single-Leg Kettlebell Hamstring Curl: 6-8 reps x 3 sets
- One-Leg Kettlebell Hip Thrust: 10 reps x 3 sets
- Kettlebell Romanian Deadlift: 6-8 x 3
- Single-Leg Kettlebell Deadlift: 6-8 x 3
- Russian Kettlebell Swings: 10 x 3
You may also like the related articles:
- 1Muscles in the Posterior Compartment of the Thigh– Teach Me Anatomy
- 2Muscle activation during various hamstring exercises – Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research
- 3Kettlebell swing training improves maximal and explosive strength – Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research.