Grab a barbell, a few plates and a variety of kettlebells and you can build yourself a stellar hamstring workout — sore muscles, guaranteed. But you don't need a ton of equipment to strengthen the muscles at the backs of your legs.
Actually, all you need is your own body weight. Add these seven no-equipment hamstring exercises from New York-based certified personal trainer Carolina Araujo, CPT, to your next at-home leg workout. Or, use a few of them as a warm-up before your lifting session.
Top Hamstring Exercises Without Weights
1. Glute Hamstring Walkout
- Lie on your back with your feet flat on the floor, knees bent and pointing toward the ceiling.
- Raise your hips up toward the ceiling, contracting your glutes and abs.
- Keeping your butt off the ground, walk your feet out away from your glutes one at a time until your legs extend fully.
- Hold here for a moment.
- Reverse the motion and walk the feet back to your glutes.
2. Toe-Elevated Romanian Deadlift
- Stand with your feet hip-width apart, toes elevated on a book or low step.
- Push your hips back and hinge your torso forward, keeping a flat back.
- Lean forward with a small bend in your knees until your torso is nearly parallel to the ground.
- Push your hips forward and reverse the motion to return to standing.
For this move, focus on pushing your hips as far back as you can, while maintaining a flat back and only a small bend in your knees, Araujo says.
3. Lateral Lunge
- Stand with your feet together.
- Root your right foot into the ground and step your left foot out to the side.
- Sit your butt back as you bend your left knee, keeping it in line with your left foot. Your back should be flat.
- Press through your left foot to return to standing.
- Do all your reps on the left leg before doing the same number of reps on the right leg.
4. Single-Leg Romanian Deadlift
- Stand with your feet planted about hip-width apart.
- Bring your left foot a few inches to the left and about a foot back, bending the knee.
- Place your weight in the right leg, keeping the foot planted with only a small bend in the right knee. This is the starting position.
- Engage your core and press your hips back, tilting the torso forward with a flat back.
- Lean forward until you're nearly parallel with the ground.
- Press the hips forward and reverse the motion to return to the starting position.
- Complete all your reps here, then switch legs.
The focus here is on the rooted leg, only using your bent leg for a little support, Araujo says. That's why you want to stay on the toe or ball of the rear leg.
5. Sumo Squat
- Stand with your feet slightly wider than hip-width apart and your feet turned out at 45 degrees.
- Bend your knees to lower yourself down into a squat. Keep your chest up, back flat and knees in line with your toes.
- Press through your heels to return to standing.
6. Frog Pump
- Lie on your back and place the soles of your feet together, creating a diamond shape with your legs.
- Press your hips up toward the ceiling, squeezing your glutes at the top.
- Slowly release and lower back to the floor.
7. Sumo Romanian Deadlift
- Stand with your feet wider than hip-width apart with your toes slightly turned out.
- Hinge your hips back while maintaining a neutral spine as you tilt your torso forward with a small bend in your knees.
- Keeping your core tight, push through your heels to return to standing, squeezing your glutes at the top of the movement.
If you have a any kind of weights handy, you can make this exercise a little more challenging by holding it in front of you.