Seated Hamstring Exercises

Stretching after your workout keeps the hamstrings long and flexible.
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Targeting the hamstrings in the backs of your thighs is often accomplished in standing exercises such as squats and lunges. However, you can work your hamstrings while sitting in a chair or on the floor. Do seated hamstring exercises during times you are normally seated, such as when you're watching television, to make those minutes more productive.

Knee Lifts

Lifting your knees close to your chest can help elongate and strengthen the muscles in your hamstrings, offering support for your lower back. Sit on the edge of a chair and bring one knee in toward your chest, gripping the knee with your hands to pull it in if necessary. Release and lift the other knee, pulling as close into your chest as possible to engage the hamstrings. Do two sets of 10 repetitions. For greater intensity, extend your leg out straight before lowering it and add an under-the-chair hamstring curl at the bottom of the move. This type of dynamic stretching helps get your muscles warm and ready to exercise before your workout.


Seated hamstring curls are often seen in a gym using specialized equipment. However, you can perform the exercise sitting in a chair at home. Sit with your back straight and your feet flat on the floor. Lift your heels back as close to the chair seat as possible, then stretch your legs out in front of you parallel to the floor. Repeat for 10 repetitions. Add resistance with ankle weights or resistance bands hooked securely to an object in front of you, such as a closed door. For a modified option that works well in your office, sit on the edge of a rolling chair and propel yourself forward by extending your legs and placing the heels on the floor, pulling backward with your heel to move the chair forward. You can also use one leg instead of both.

Toe Touches

Toe touches target your hamstrings while sitting in a chair or on the floor. In a chair, extend your legs and place your heels on the floor with your toes pointed up. Raise your hands over your head and lower them, bending at the waist, until your fingers touch your toes -- or at least until they come close. Keep your back straight during the movement. When seated on the floor, perform the same movement with your legs extended in front of you or while your legs are open, which allows you to alternate sides. Perform two sets of 10 repetitions. Keep your knees straight or with a soft bend to focus the movement on your hamstrings.


Stretching helps increase the flexibility in your hamstrings after a workout. In a chair, pull one ankle over the opposite knee. Put your hands on your raised ankle and lean forward, keeping your lifted calf parallel to the ground. Hold for 30 seconds before switching legs. While sitting on the floor, bring one foot in toward your body, flexing it against the inner thigh of your other leg, which should be extended in front of you. Lean forward and grab the extended foot with both hands. Hold for 30 seconds, then switch feet.

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