2 Training Techniques That Will Transform Your Hamstrings

POPSUGAR Photography / Rima Brindamour
POPSUGAR Photography | Rima Brindamour

When I started my fitness journey, I loved training my legs and glutes. With very few mobility issues and strong quads, I killed every workout that included squats and deadlifts. Lucky me? Not quite. What bothered me was that I always had nonexistent hamstrings, and the prospect of muscular imbalances quickly developing from my love of squats and deadlifts freaked me out. I had to figure out a solution for my lagging hamstrings.

While I had the strength-training component down, I found that plyometrics was the missing piece. Since I knew from research that hamstrings are made up of mostly fast-twitch muscle fibers (the kind that responds to heavy weights and fast movements), and as the wannabe scientist that I am, I experimented and combined the two concepts. What do you know? I started seeing a dramatic change within a few weeks.

Here's how I did it: I completed one heavy set of a hamstring exercise, then followed it up with plyometric movement. At the end of it, if I was walking out of the gym with heavy legs, I knew I trained them just right. I strongly recommend trying it for yourself and with different combinations. Pairing the following exercises together is my favorite combo.

Dumbbell Romanian Deadlift
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Dumbbell Romanian Deadlift

  • Stand with feet slightly wider than shoulder-width apart, holding dumbbells in each hand with straight arms.
  • Allowing your arms to trace the front of your legs, flex at the hips. Begin pushing your butt back and slowly putting your weight to your heels.
  • Lower your torso forward, feeling the hamstrings stretch. Make sure your back is straight throughout the movement.
  • When you've reached maximum hamstring stretch, slowly extend your hips using tension from your hamstrings and back to standing position.

Note: This move can also be done with a barbell.

Switch Lunge
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Switch Lunge

  • Take a lunge stance position: one foot forward with the knee bent, and the back knee an inch or two away from the ground. Shoulders should be slightly in front of hips.
  • Jump up, extending both legs.
  • Switch legs in midair, bringing the back leg to the front and front leg to the back.
  • If you're a beginner, don't switch legs in midair. Instead, start in a standing position with feet together, then jump and land into a lunge. Then jump back into standing position. Alternate legs.