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Hamstring Exercises

Hamstring Exercises For Beginner. The hamstring is the muscle at the back of the thigh. It is a muscle group that is often prone to injury in athletes and athletes. A strain or tear in the hamstring can just happen with explosive movements.

The best protection against injuries is to train and strengthen the muscles. Below we have collected the most effective exercises for training the hamstrings.

  • Romanian deadlift
  • leg curl

#Why should I train my hamstrings?

Depending on your goals, it is important to train the hamstrings. Do you want to have a completely symmetrical muscular body?

Your thighs are largely made up of your hamstrings. It is therefore impossible to create muscular and strong legs without specifically training the hamstrings.

#What to do with a hamstring injury?

As with all injuries, it is important to determine exactly what type of injury it is. It is often wise to have a physiotherapist look at this. When it has been determined that it is a muscle injury, you can start working on this.

Of course, it is important to allow the muscle to recover sufficiently before you start putting weight on it. When the injury has recovered sufficiently, you can slowly strengthen the hamstring again with the appropriate exercises.

Try not to do these exercises alone after the injury, but keep doing them. If you continue to train the hamstrings regularly through fitness exercises with weights and other types of resistance, they will be less prone to injury.

Romanian deadlift – Hamstring Exercises For Beginner

The Romanian deadlift is a variation of the deadlift where the focus is mainly on the hamstrings and glutes. The exercise is also called the stiffed-legged deadlift, but there are some minor differences between the two variations. – Hamstring Exercises For Beginner

The Romanian deadlift is one of the best mass builders for your hamstrings and glutes. The exercise definitely deserves a permanent place in your training schedule and we’re going to tell you why.

What is the difference between the deadlift and the Romanian deadlift?

Hamstring Exercises For Beginner. The Romanian deadlift, like the sumo deadlift, is a variation of the conventional deadlift. The Romanian deadlift often referred to as RDL for short, shifts the focus more towards the muscles in the hamstrings and glutes. This is because there are some big differences in the execution and technique when doing the Romanian deadlift. The biggest differences are:

  • The conventional deadlift starts with the weight on the floor. With the Romanian deadlift, the exercise starts standing with the weight in the hands. So there is a difference in the starting position of the exercise.
  • The conventional deadlift begins with a ‘concentric’ (upward) movement. The Romanian deadlift starts with an ‘eccentric’ (downward) movement.
  • The conventional deadlift is performed as a “push” movement, pushing the weight away from your feet. The Romanian deadlift is seen as a ‘pull’ movement, where the weight is pulled upwards from the hips.
  • Both variants have to bend in the hips. The Romanian deadlift teaches you to do this even more, with extra emphasis on pushing the hips and buttocks back as the barbell comes down.
  • The same muscle groups are activated in both variants. The conventional deadlift requires more activation in the quadriceps and the Romanian deadlift requires more activation in the hamstrings and glutes.


Just like the conventional deadlift, the Romanian deadlift is a compound exercise. The big advantage of this is that many different muscle groups are put to work when doing the exercise.

The muscles used in the Romanian deadlift are the same as in the conventional deadlift, but the focus on certain muscle groups is shifted. The muscles that are actively stimulated in the Romanian deadlift:

  • quadriceps
  • glutes
  • hamstrings
  • Adductor muscles (inner thigh)
  • hamstrings
  • Lower back
  • lats
  • trapezius
  • Rhomboid
  • abs

Execution and technique of the Romanian deadlift

If you are already familiar with the technique and execution of the conventional deadlift, this is a big advantage. The Romanian deadlift is in many ways similar to the conventional variant.

We describe the exercise from start to finish in 10 clear steps. Do you want to get a better idea of ​​what the performance looks like? Then watch this video about the technique and execution of the Romanian deadlift.

  1. Start the exercise with the barbell at the height of your thighs in a squat rack or power rack.
  2. Grab the barbell with an overhand grip, just wider than your hips. This prevents your hands from hitting your hips during the exercise.
  3. Sink through your legs slightly, take a deep breath and fully engage your core as you lift the barbell out of the rack.
  4. Take two to three steps back and stand in an upright position with your feet shoulder-width apart and your toes pointing slightly out.
  5. Create a slight bend in your knees. This bend in your knees remains constant throughout the set.
  6. Bend your hips and push them back as you lower the barbell towards the floor in a controlled manner. Keep the pressure of the weight on your heels and not on your toes!
  7. As you push the hips back, focus on the tension in your hamstrings and glutes. These are fully stretched in the eccentric phase of the exercise.
  8. Lower the weight until the barbell is just below your knees. Then, pull the weight up from your hips while consciously tightening the hamstrings and glutes.
  9. Do not fully extend your legs in the top position, but maintain a slight bend. This way you maintain constant tension on the muscles.
  10. Repeat the movement until the desired number of reps of the set is achieved.

Tips for a better technique

  • Bending the hips. Creating a flexion in the hips and deliberately pushing the hips and glutes back will cause more muscle activation in the hamstrings and glutes.
  • Constantly balance the weight on your heels. You want to make sure that all the weight is constantly on your heels as your hips move back.
  • Activate your lats. By activating and tightening your lats you prevent a bend in your lower back.
  • Tighten your glutes. In the concentric phase of the exercise (upwards), tighten your glutes.
  • Use straps. Depending on your grip strength, a double overhand grip can cause you to lose grip on the barbell. By using straps you can solve this problem.

Common mistakes

#Too far down

In this area, the Romanian deadlift is different from the conventional deadlift. You lower until the barbell comes somewhere between your knees and shins. If you lower the weight all the way to the floor, the exercise changes into a stiffed-legged deadlift, which is a completely different variant.

#No straight ‘bar path’

The path the barbell makes during an exercise is called the ‘bar path’. It is important that the bar path is completely straight and that the barbell remains in constant contact with your body. If you let the barbell come too far forward, the weight will pull you forward, creating a curve in your lower back.

#Bending the knees

A slight bend in your knees is important, but no more than that. We often see a greater bend in the knees when the weight goes down. This is necessary with a conventional deadlift to get the weight to the floor, but with the Romanian deadlift, the bend in your knees remains constant.

Lying leg curl

The leg curl is an exercise primarily used to train the hamstrings. There are many different variations of the leg curl, which can be performed in different positions with all kinds of equipment or even with body weight.

Now let’s talk about the lying leg curl. If you have access to this fine device, you should absolutely use it. It is one of the best ways to isolate your hamstrings.

The leg curl is performed on a lying leg curl machine. Often gyms and fitness facilities have this device.

The advantages

The primary benefits of doing the lying leg curl are to improve flexibility and strengthen the muscles in the hamstrings. The hamstrings are not the only muscle groups that are trained when doing the leg curl.

When doing the leg curl, you pull the heels towards your buttocks, while the cushion behind your heels provides extra resistance. When you lower the heels back down, some of the tension moves to the glutes, thighs, and the front of the shins.

Having flexible hamstrings is very important for your strength, balance, and endurance. This is not only helpful while training in the gym, but also in protecting against injuries during other activities.

Execution of the hip thrust

The lying leg curl machine can often be adjusted in two places. Make sure the leg curl is set correctly for your body and build before you start the exercise. Do you want to get a better idea of ​​what the exercise looks like? Watch the explanation video in which the implementation and technique are clearly explained.

  1. Start by lying with your stomach flat on the leg curl machine.
  2. Make sure the roller pad is set so that it rests just a few inches below your calves, just above your heels. Prevent the roller cushion from resting too high on your calves. Besides the fact that this can cause discomfort, it also creates a shorter range of motion.
  3. Firmly grip both handles of the machine and allow your legs to fully extend.
  4. Move your feet in a controlled motion toward your buttocks as you exhale. Make sure to keep your hips in constant contact with the machine’s cushions.
  5. Push your heels as close to your buttocks as you can. In this position, you consciously squeeze your hamstrings and hold them for one second.
  6. Then lower your feet in a controlled manner as you inhale again.
  7. Repeat the movement for the desired number of reps of the set.

The most common mistake

In general, not much can go wrong doing the leg curl, as long as you do the exercise in a controlled manner. Errors that we do see always arise as a result of one error; using too much weight.

A lying hamstring curl is an exercise that is meant to isolate the hamstrings as much as possible. If you feel tension, pressure, or even pain in areas other than the hamstrings, this is often a good indicator that you are using too much weight for this exercise.

Frequently asked questions about hamstring exercises

People regularly have questions about performing exercises for the hamstrings. Below we have selected a number of frequently asked questions and provided brief answers. Do you still have questions about hamstring exercises after reading this? Let us know and maybe we'll add your question to this overview.

Can I do hamstring exercises without weights?

It is certainly possible to train the hamstrings without using weights. This is especially useful if you want to do some exercises at home and you don't have time to go to the gym. Often exercises with weights and therefore an increased resistance will ultimately be more beneficial than exercises without weights, but that of course depends on what your goal is.

For example, you can perform a single-leg deadlift without using extra weights. In addition, it is also possible to perform glute ham raises. View the hamstring exercises in the overview and choose a suitable exercise from which you can perform without extra weight.

Can I combine hamstring exercises with football?

It is certainly possible to combine hamstring exercises with football. During football, the hamstrings are put to work, and training this muscle group can therefore have a positive effect when playing football.

For example, it can promote explosiveness, which is of course very important when playing football. Think for example of faster acceleration while running away or the possibility to jump higher. Hamstring exercises and football are therefore easy to combine.

Can hamstring exercises be performed by the elderly?

Yes, it is certainly possible for the elderly to perform hamstring exercises to strengthen the hamstrings in this way. Extra care should be taken with the elderly. For this reason, we always recommend that you contact an instructor or personal trainer who can explain everything well and correct any form errors immediately. This way you ensure that you keep the possible risk of injuries as limited as possible.

Can you combine hamstring exercises with a foam roller?

A foam roller is useful to remove some annoying tension or knots from the hamstrings. If you experience some stiffness in the hamstrings before you start training, you can lightly foam roll them before you start your training.

Don't do this too hard, because this can potentially have a negative effect on your training because your hamstrings are too 'relaxed' by the foam rolling. For example, you do not want to start training immediately after a sports massage. Just make sure to take the stiffness out and then start your warm-up for your hamstring exercises.

Foam rolling the hamstrings may provide temporary relief from any pain you may be experiencing, but for a long-lasting effect, you will need to see a physical therapist. Nevertheless, a foam roller is a handy tool to have with you in the gym and you can therefore combine hamstring exercises and foam rollers well.

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