If you're looking to improve your speed, power or jumping abilities, hamstring plyometrics are for you. Plyometric exercises are explosive movements that help train muscles to contract strongly and quickly.
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Read more: What Does Plyometric Exercise Mean?
1. Lunge Jump
Lunges strengthen the hamstring muscles, both at your hips and your knees.
HOW TO DO IT: Stand with your feet staggered, approximately three feet apart. Keeping your body upright, bend both knees and lower straight down toward the floor. Press down through the balls of your feet and jump straight up. While your legs are in the air, switch leg positions so you land with the opposite leg in front.
2. Box Jump
Box jumps provide a variety of plyometric exercises for your hamstrings. Practice your jumps on a short box — 4 to 6 inches — until you master the correct technique. Work up to a box height of 18 to 24 inches.
HOW TO DO IT: Stand approximately 6 inches from a box. With your feet shoulder-width apart, lower into a quarter-squat position. Jump up onto the box. Land on top in the quarter-squat position that you started in. Jump far enough forward so both feet land completely on the box. Step down from the box and repeat.
Hurdles are similar to box jumps, however you're clearing the obstacle rather than landing on it. To target the hamstrings muscles, both knees will be bent as you jump over the hurdles. Start with short hurdles — 4 to 6 inches — and work up to taller obstacles.
HOW TO DO IT: Set up your obstacles approximately 3 feet apart. Stand approximately 6 inches in front of the first hurdle. Jump up and over the hurdle, drawing both knees in toward your chest. Land on the balls of your feet. Make this exercise harder by jumping over multiple hurdles in a row, without resting.
4. Butt Kicks
Butt kicks are sometimes performed as part of a dynamic warm-up for other activities, however they are also a plyometric exercise for the hamstrings. This exercise can be done standing in one place or while running.
HOW TO DO IT: Start with your legs shoulder-width apart. Bend your right knee and quickly bring your right heel up to your right buttock. As your leg straightens back out, bend your left knee, bringing that heel quickly toward your left buttock. Alternate sides, increasing your speed as you get stronger. Keep your body upright throughout the movement. Progress this exercise by performing butt kicks while you're running.
Read more: Butt Kicker Exercises