Best Hamstring Workouts

Leg is your lower half of your body. The major muscles between knee and pelvis are quadriceps and hamstring. Quadriceps or “quads” being the visible muscle, it gets most attention and is easier to monitor. But hamstring on the other hand is not visible and we seem to care less about it. For optimal knee and joint health, the strength of quads and hamstring should be in ratio 3:2. This means you just cannot work hamstring less and hope for healthy knees. Some of the best hamstring workouts are given in the post below. Be sure to at least give them a try.

Hamstring Workouts

Hamstring is your 3 headed muscle formed of biceps femoris, semimembranosus and semitendinosus. Though it is most neglected muscle in body, it definitely separates pro from beginner, and big girls from cardio bunnies.

Function of Hamstring

There are number of functions of hamstring, the major being stabilizing knees and many more.

    • Hip extension
    • Knee flexion
    • Posterior tilt of pelvis

Though these might not seem like much, these are major component for running, sprinting, or even moving. Stabilizing the knees is the most important function of the hamstring. If you want better health and functioning of your joints, hip and hamstrings are the areas to work on. Hip joint acts as the linking muscle of upper body and lower body, while hamstring links hip muscles to knees.

This is why, proper care and exercise selection is important to train hamstring properly targeting all the areas of the muscle.

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Few of Best Hamstring Workouts

Following few are among the best exercises that you can do for overall development of the hamstring muscles.

    1. Romanian Deadlift (Stiff Legged Deadlift)

      There might not be any other exercise as romanian deadlift that can give you promising results even with baby weights. It is by far the best exercise for your hamstring as you don’t need ton of weights and are secure from hurting yourself. A deadlift when done with stiff shin without any movement and maximum hip flexion, you have romanian deadlift.

      • Load a barbell with appropriate weight.
      • Begin with deadlift position.
      • Pull the bar upward as in deadlift.
      • With legs stiff with very slight bend at knees, lower the bar down hinging at the hip.
      • Until you feel control able stretch, lower the bar, then raise it back up.
      • Don’t lockout as deadlift at top, finish the movement just before the lockout.
        Best Hamstring Workouts
    2. Glute Ham Raises

      Another great exercise that doesn’t even need weight to perform is glute ham raises. All you need is your hamstring strength and upper body weight. This exercise particularly targets your glutes and hamstring muscles to totally different level. This exercise focuses on knee flexion. It tests your knee strength.

      • Settle on the machine, if you don’t have machine, you can do it on the floor by anchoring your feet.
      • Keep your core tight and have a neutral back, don’t over arch.
      • Slowly lower yourself while you feel stretch on your hamstring.
      • While you are down, contract your hamstring and raise yourself up.
      • Perform slow controlled reps.
        Best Hamstring Workouts
    3. Lying Leg Curl

      One of the common legs workout machine that you can frequently see on many gym is leg curl machine. Lying leg curl, as name suggests is curling movement of you legs in lying position. It also focuses on knee flexion. It is easier to perform and one of the best exercise that you can do for your hamstring.

      • Lie down on the machine facing downwards.
      • Keep your knee just below the resting pas of machine.
      • Curl the weight towards your hip by contracting your hamstring.
      • Perform slow controlled reps.
        Best Hamstring Workouts
    4. Seated Leg Curl

      Seated curl is similar to lying leg curl, the only difference is that you stay in the seated position. Similar to the leg extension machine, there is leg curl machine. The goal is to contract the muscle.

      • Be seated on the machine and choose appropriate weight.
      • With legs straight on the pads, start to squeeze your hamstring and contract it hard.
      • Hold the contraction and return to the original position.

Conclusion

People often workout just to increase the weight in the bar. Be wise and choose weight accordingly. With hamstring, even lightest of the weight can give you soreness if you have proper mind muscle connection. Few of the best hamstring workouts are discussed in the post. These few hamstring workouts will definitely reward you with nicer looking hamstring.

Dumbbell Floor Press

If you don’t know about floor press, then you definitely will want to try after this. Floor press is the ultimate only upper body strength exercise variation. It only targets the muscles that you need to avoiding unnecessary stress on other joints and muscles. Dumbbell floor press is just another variation of floor press that involves dumbbells rather than barbell or kettle bells.

dumbbell floor press

Floor Press

Floor press is ultimate upper body exercise that doesn’t stresses the shoulder joints much. You have wider base to support your back and the movement is strict so you focus on some portion of press. The origination of barbell bench press can be taken from floor press alone. Back in the days, lifters used to perform some strict floor presses to improve the strength and for hypertrophy. As bench press popularity increased, floor press got lost somewhere.

Dumbbell Floor Press Benefits

Dumbbell floor press is a easier variation of barbell floor press. You have the freedom of movement and better mind-muscle connection. Though it doesn’t sounds much, but the benefits are worth trying the workout atleast once.

    • Strictly upper body movement with less strain on shoulder
    • Massive room for progressive overload
    • No leg drive involved, putting max focus on chest, triceps and delts
    • Can include in any workout program for mass, toning, bulking, cutting etc
    • With dumbbell, it is easier to do single or both arms variation focusing on weaker side
    • Acts as building block for your huge bench press numbers

Why Dumbbell Floor Press?

There are many reasons apart from the benefits of floor press. You are getting maximum output over the amount of input you are feeding. Whether your training for hypertrophy or strength, you can always adjust floor press in your schedule.

dumbbell floor press

Huge arms:

Floor press allows you to overload the bar. It requires powerful extension of the elbow putting tension onto the triceps to huge extent. For bigger triceps, overloading them is the best bet. With that much of overload, you are sure to have huge arms.

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Improved control and lockout:

Dumbbell floor press improves your lockout and allows controlled negative of the press. As the range of motion in floor press is limited, you have better lockout in the middle portion that you lack in bench press.

Upper Body Strength:

As there is no leg drive to support your press, you intend to improve your upper body strength. It is your pure upper body strength that allows you to push through the sets. With overload purely focused on chest, triceps and shoulder, you are sure to have improved upper body strength.

dumbbell floor press

Easier on Shoulder:

With longer range of motion in bench press, the scapula movement is high hence putting more strain on the shoulder joint and causing impingement in shoulder. Floor press decreases the travel distance of the shoulder keeping it in the proper range of motion and allowing you to focus on lift. Hence, you have healthier and stronger shoulder to live with.

Steps to Perform Dumbbell Floor Press

This step applies to other variation on floor press as well.

    1. Position yourself below the bar on the floor. Lying under the bar with bar right above your eyes suits most of the lifters.
    2. For barbell, take slightly outside the shoulder width apart grip. Line yourself up with dumbbells and push yourself down to have stable base.
    3. Keep your foot flat on the ground to neglect the leg drive.
    4. With you being in position, ask your spotter to help you with the lift off.
    5. Begin the movement by lowering the bar just till your triceps tend to touch the floor.
    6. Tuck your elbows in at about 45 degrees from torso.
    7. Live your ego aside and take weight that you can control. Slowly lower the weight, pause at the bottom and blast off.

Conclusion

Dumbbell floor press is an awesome exercise variation that ticks all your boxes. Just follow the steps and check for yourself. You will definitely find the floor press safer to perform than regular bench press. Find details on t-nation website as well. You can easily load weights and find yourself stronger as well.

 

Warm Up Exercises

The only important thing in your whole workout session is correct form and proper warm up exercises. By not warming up your muscles properly, you run a great risk of injuring yourself. While working out, you have very thin margin for mistake, a slight twist in joint can severely damage your joints and might even end your career on spot. Injury is a curse in bodybuilding or any other sports. And in normal life as well, it messes up your schedule. Here in this post, we will discuss some easy yet effective warm up exercises. You will also learn some basic yet important stretches to perform.

Warm Up and Workout

If you own any vehicle, you probably know how crucial it is to warm the engine. Our body is no different than the engine. While you are at rest, your muscles are at rest, any sudden movement can shock the muscle and cause muscle tear. It is better to loosen the muscle first to prepare it for beating later.

There are few major joints and muscles that needs to be warmed up properly before workout. Joints like shoulder, pelvis region, elbow, knee, etc. needs warming up. These joints are very important and needs proper care. While these joints move freely, your muscles can work at full strength.

Few Warm up Exercises

Some dynamic stretches and some dynamic movements will warm you up pretty quickly with much less effort. Bodybuilders generally perform some stretches and perform light exercise movements in their first few sets to warm their muscles. This as well is very effective way to start up the workout session.

Shoulder Warm Up

Shoulder is the most important joint in upper body. If you screw your shoulder joint, you are likely to get useless from upper body. Some of the warm up exercises are as follows:

Warm Up Exercises

    • Arm Circles:
      Perform this exercise by rotating your arms in circle, clockwise followed by anti-clockwise movement.
    • Shoulder Band Dislocation:
      Hold your arms straight and far apart, pulling on the bands. Raise your arms up and behind your body and bring it back front. It increases the mobility of your shoulder.
    • Cross-body Shoulder Stretch:
      With your arms stretched to the opposite side, hold the stretch with another arm. Applying the stretch in different directions, loosen your different heads of your shoulder.

Glutes Warm Up

Your glutes or hip muscles are one of the bigger muscles in the body. To ensure the good health of your lower body, the mobility in your glutes is very important. Some of the warm up exercises of glutes are:

    • Body Weight Squat:
      With body weight squat, you can go lower in the squat and hold the stretch in your quads, glutes for long. Perform few of these to prepare for the big lift.
    • Glutes Kick Back:
      Work glutes from different angles through glutes kickback. A straight kickback behind will work one muscles while to the side will work another. Perform this from different angles to target overall glutes.
    • Touch Toes:
      Touch toes is one movement that gives you an idea of your hip mobility. With your legs straight(no bend at knees), try touching your toes. You will feel stretch in your hamstrings immediately.

Ankle Warm Up

Ankle warm up is important as well. As there are many small bones in your feet connected to ankle, it is very important that you have healthy ankle to plant yourself on to the ground. Few ankle warm up exercises as follows:

Warm Up Exercises

    • Ankle Circles:
      You can perform this exercise either standing, sitting or in any other position. Bring your leg straight in front of you and perform circle motion with you feet moving from ankle. Do it in clockwise as well as anti-clockwise movement.
    • Ankle Stretch:
      Sit on floor with your feet in front of you. Reach for your toes and pull them towards yourself. You will fee stretch in back of you heel. Then push the toes away from you. This will ensure the mobility of your ankle and help you from spraining it.

Warm Up Exercises

Wrist Warm Up

Wrist strength or grip strength caps up how heavy you can lift. Your other muscles are way stronger than your wrist. Keeping your wrist health will help you add weights to your lifts quickly.

Warm Up Exercises

    • Wrist circles:
      Make a fist with your arms straight. Make clockwise and anti-clockwise circles with your fist. This improves your wrist mobility.
    • Knuckle Push ups:
      Perform pushups with your fist. Sometimes, normal push ups are harder for many due to lack of wrist mobility. Perform this version of pushup and progress to the normal version.

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Other Warm Ups

These are few major joints in the body that needs proper warm up. Flexibility in these joints will help you build your whole body strength.

Chest

For chest warm up, perform shoulder warm ups first as shoulder joint plays great role in lifting. The start with few push ups and make first few set of workout as warm up sets.

Back

For back as well, warm your shoulders first. Perform one or two sets of pull ups or chin ups. Perform some stretches like superman pose, cat pose etc and jump right into workout. Make first few set of workout as warm up sets.

Arms

Perform shoulder warm up followed by wrist warm up, and warm your elbows with few light sets of exercises. Excessive warm up for arms are not so required as we work them in pulling and pushing movements throughout the day.

Conclusion

Warming up before workout is very very essential. Never ever start lifting heavy straight while you enter the gym. Any sprain in the muscles or joint will throw you off your gym schedule. Your fitness is compromised without proper warm up. So always be wise to perform warm up exercises first before lifting and increase you longevity.