Active Hamstring Exercises

Your hamstrings work with other leg and hip muscles to squat.

Your hamstrings work with other leg and hip muscles to squat.

It's pretty common to hear about athletes suffering from hamstring injuries. To reduce your risk of joining the ranks, the National Strength and Conditioning Association recommends that you perform full-body exercises that train multiple body parts -- including the hamstrings -- together. It will shave some time off your workout and you won't need to train each leg muscle separately.

Ball Leg Curls

Lie on the ground with your calves on a stability ball. Put your hands out to your sides with your palms facing up.

Lift your butt off the ground and bend your knees to bring the ball closer to you.

Extend your legs gradually to move the ball away from you. Do not drop your butt to the ground. Perform three sets of 10 to 12 reps.

Dumbbell Squats

Stand with your feet about shoulder-distance apart and hold a 15-pound dumbbell in each hand over your shoulders. Keep your elbows close to your ribs.

Inhale and squat down as low as you can for three seconds while keeping your torso upright.

Exhale and stand straight up without hunching your back. Perform three sets of eight to 10 reps.

Kettlebell Reverse Lunges

Stand with your feet together and hold a 30-pound kettlebell in your right hand.

Step about 2 to 3 feet behind you -- depending on your stride length and height -- with your left foot. Lunge down for three seconds until your left knee gently touches the ground. Keep your torso upright.

Exhale and step your left foot forward to the starting position. Perform four sets of eight to 10 reps per leg. Switch the kettlebell to your opposite hand in each set.

Depth Jumps

Stack a set of aerobic steps about 2- to 3-feet-high. Stand on top of the steps with your feet about hip-distance apart.

Jump off the step about 2 to 3 feet away from the step and land with your feet in the same position as you had started. Land gently on the balls of your feet and toes and do not hunch your back. Bend your legs to absorb the impact when you land.

Step back up on the steps and repeat the exercise for three to four sets of six to 10 reps.

Items you will need

  • Two 15-pound dumbbells
  • Stability ball
  • 30-pound kettlebell
  • Stack of aerobic steps

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About the Author

Nick Ng has been writing fitness articles since 2003, focusing on injury prevention and exercise strategies. He has covered health for "MiaBella" magazine. Ng received his Bachelor of Arts in communications from San Diego State University in 2001 and has been a certified fitness coach with the National Academy of Sports Medicine since 2002.

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