An important muscle group that remains under-developed and ignored are your hamstring muscles. As hamstring group of muscles are crucial for daily activities as well as sports, it is important to keep them strong with exercises. It is worth knowing about the hamstring exercises without weights or without equipment so that you can perform them even at home without having to go to the gym.
Hamstring group of muscles are located at the back of your thigh, and they are necessary in day to day activities. These are the muscles that allow you to bend your knee, and by extension, let you walk. Hence, these are very important muscles; and to go without exercising them would be doing yourself a disservice. Hamstring exercises without weights allow you to perform a variety of exercises for strengthening the hamstring group of muscles without having to use weights or equipment.
5 Exercises for Hamstring Without Weights
Here are some exercises which allow you to strengthen your hamstring muscles without weights, kettlebells, or an exercise ball.
#1 Exercise for Hamstring Without Weights: 90/90 Hamstring
This is one of the simplest exercises for hamstring without weights. For a beginner to get comfortable with, and for a veteran to stretch out with; the 90/90 hamstring exercise is a basic stretching exercise. It help to strengthen the hamstrings and allows it to loosen up a bit before or after any kind of exercise. It is suggested that the 90/90 Hamstring exercise is practiced repeatedly every day to ensure loosening and strengthening of the hamstrings, which in turn, prevents injuries.
- Lie on your back on the floor or a yoga mat and stretch both legs out.
- Exhale, and lift one leg by the knee towards your chest. Bend the knee and the hip until they reach a 90 degree angle.
- You may use your hands to support the active leg at the back of the thigh. This might be necessary for beginners.
- This particular position is your starting position.
- Inhale, and stretch the active leg up into the air.
- When at the top, stretch the leg as far as it is comfortable. The toes should face the ceiling.
- Use your hand to support your leg, and to keep it in the second position.
- Exhale, and return active leg to starting position.
- This constitutes as a rep, and a starter set can perform 10-20 repetitions.
- Do one set and switch to the other leg.
#2 Stretching Exercise for Hamstring Without Weights: Inchworm
While the inchworm as an exercise may look comical to beginners, the benefits of the inchworm are undeniable. This stretching hamstring exercise without weights can be done anywhere, and is a great way to stretch your hamstrings out. This exercise also works the chest, upper & lower back, your abdominal muscles, as well as your arms. The exercise mimics the movements of a worm – as the name might suggest – and is susceptible to injury, so it should be practiced with great caution.
- Stand on a firm ground with your feet kept apart at a reasonable distance. It is important that the ground you are doing this exercise on not be slippery. Your legs can be kept apart at hip width.
- Exhale, and slowly bend over forwards hinging from the waist.
- Keep bending forward until your palms are on the ground. If required, you can slightly bend the knees.
- This is your starting position.
- Start walking on your hands slowly. Keep your legs straight while you are doing this, and place your bodyweight on your hands and toes.
- This is the movement known as inching.
- Keep walking forwards on your hands until your body is parallel to the ground, resembling the position of a push up.
- Now, while your hands are placed securely on the ground, start taking small steps with your feet.
- Inch your feet closer to your hands and keep going until your feet are near your hands.
- Repeat to continue another round of inchworm exercise.
#3 Wall Split Hamstring Exercise Without Weights
While wall-splits may sound like a difficult task, but this hamstring exercise without weights is done against the wall. Hence it is convenient, easy and suitable for any fitness level. This hamstring exercise is best done after a heavy workout in order to stretch the hamstrings to prevent any soreness and injury. This exercise targets your quadriceps and your hamstrings, essentially loosening and strengthening your lower body.
- Lie on the floor, with your legs propped up against the wall.
- Your buttocks need to be touching the wall, and your tailbone should be touching the floor.
- Stretch your legs up against the wall.
- Open your legs wide, until you feel a stretch in the inner thighs.
- Hold this position for as long as comfortable.
#4 Strengthening Exercise for Hamstring Without Weights: Hamstring Curl
This particular variation of the hamstring curl is great for strengthening your hamstring muscles and light stretching of your quadriceps. Other variations of this exercise involve the usage of an exercise ball or a machine. But the standing hamstring curl is one of the best hamstring exercises without weight and uses no equipment other than your own bodyweight. The exercise can also be performed lying down, on your stomach.
- Stand on a firm surface, with your legs kept slightly apart.
- You may hold on to a chair or the wall for some support.
- Ensure that you are standing with an erect torso.
- Exhale, and lift your right leg backwards. Bend your knee, and raise your foot towards your glutes.
- You will feel a slight contraction in your hamstrings.
- Pause for 3-5 seconds with your foot almost touching your buttocks.
- Breathe in, and lower your right leg slowly until it touches the floor.
- Repeat 15 times to complete a set.
- Repeat exercise with left leg.
#5 Warm-Up Exercise for Hamstring Without Weights: Leg-Swings
Leg-swings can be used as a warm up exercise, which loosens up your hips & strengthens your glutes; and can be used as a stretching exercise for your hamstrings. This hamstring exercise is done without weight or equipment and the only thing you need is the support of your wall, or a chair.
- Stand beside the wall, or your chair, and hold on to it firmly with one arm.
- Swing the leg on the outside up, until it is parallel to the ground.
- Swing it back as much as possible. How further back you swing your leg depends on your level of flexibility.
- Repeat 10 times to complete a set, and then switch legs.
Ensure that your hips remain loose & your body remains comfortable when doing this exercise. At no point are you to push beyond your levels of comfort, as that may risk injury.
As evidenced, it is easy to work your hamstring muscles at home with these hamstring exercises without weights. So, no more excuses – get flexible and strengthen your hamstrings now!