Hamstring Strengthening Exercises for Growth

For bodybuilders, the most commonly overlooked group of muscles is the hamstring. This muscle is sometimes called the “leg bicep” as it composed of two primary muscles, which start at the thigh, much like the bicep muscle of the arm. There aren’t a great deal of exercises that specifically target the hamstring, but it is used a major supporting muscle for a large number of exercises.

Hamstring Curls

If your goal is muscle growth, then this is one of the good hamstring exercises. A hamstring curl can be performed while standing, lying down, or even sitting. You can also use only one leg at a time, if you’re trying to even out the size of your hamstring muscles. It’s essential to maintain good form. Taking the time to stretch your hamstrings between each set will help keep you from experiencing painful leg cramps.

Straight-Leg Deadlifts

This exercise works the lower back, glutes, and hamstrings. Stand up straight, holding a barbell in front of you, then bend down, keeping your knees back; lower the weight to the floor and all the way back up, while keeping your back straight. This movement pulls a great deal on the hamstring muscle, and you should feel a full stretch if you’re doing the exercise correctly. This is a good exercise to use at the end of a hamstring workout, or with a light weight as a warm up.


Squats are the main hamstring strengthening exercise for leg development. Well known bodybuilders throughout history have used squats as a part of their leg program. A squat utilizes every muscle in the leg, with the hamstring being one of the secondary muscles in the movement. Squatting is one of the biggest mass building exercises, second only to the deadlift, so it should be a part of your workout program no matter what.

Leg Presses

These are a modified squat. Leg presses allow you to add a much larger amount of weight to the same basic movement. Although this primarily works the quads, the hamstrings are also heavily involved. Bring the knee back to your chest for the greatest possible range of movement, then push until you’ve locked out the knees. One alternative is to stop just before a lockout in order to keep your quads engaged.


A lunge is like walking, but dropping your trailing knee to the floor and back up, while using weight. The entire leg feels a strong burn, with the quads and glutes doing most of the work and the hamstring providing an assist.

These are the best hamstring and glute exercises available. Your hamstrings shouldn’t be ignored, as they tend to be underdeveloped when compared to the rest of the leg. Consider working out the hamstrings like building the “bicep of the arm”. They represent a major part of your physique.

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