10 Best Dumbbell Hamstring Exercises (2024)

Dumbbells are an effective and highly versatile tool for training the hamstrings. If you are looking for the best dumbbell hamstring exercises, you've come to the right place.

In this guide, we will be going over all of the important aspects of training your hamstrings, specifically with dumbbells. Each of the 10 dumbbell exercises below will allow you to hone in on your hamstrings so you can make them stronger, bigger, more defined and resilient to injury.

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ANATOMY & FUNCTION OF THE HAMSTRING MUSCLE GROUP

The hamstring isa muscle group made up ofthree major muscles on the posterior side of the legs. Each of these muscles will connect the hip to the knee, controlling how the knee bends or straightens and the hip extends.

There are three muscles that make up the hamstrings are:

The Semimembranosus

The semimembranosus is a flat, broad muscle that rests under the semitendinosus. It originates at the bottom of the pelvis and runs down the backside of the leg (inner posteriorside of the leg) and inserts into the innertibia (the inner lower leg bone) right at the knee joint.

The main responsibility of the semimembranosus is flexion of the knee. It also helps to rotate the leg inward when the knee is semi-flexed and rotate the leg outward when the hips are extended.

The Semitendinosus

The Semitendinosus manages to cover up a great deal of the Semimembranosus. It also is dead center of the biceps femoris. It originates at the bottom of the pelvis and inserts into a place on the tibia just below the semimembranosus.

The main responsibility of semitendinosus is to flex the knee andextend the hip (in collaboration with the other two hamstring muscles). It also has a special function, working with a muscle called thepopliteus muscle (located at the pit of the knee) to rotate the leg internally.

Biceps femoris

Unlike the other two muscles, the biceps femoris has two heads, which means it has two points of origin. The long head of the biceps femoris originates at the bottom of the pelvis, like the other two hamstring muscles, while the short head originates from a groove on the side of the femur (upper leg bone). Both heads converge to insert into thehead of fibula (the outer side lower leg bone).

As a whole, the biceps femoris performs knee flexion and rotation. However, the long head helps with hip extension too since it attaches to the hip, whereas the short head doesn't (the short head only acts on the knee because it is not attached to the pelvis bone).

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WHAT DOES THE HAMSTRING DO?

As yourhamstring muscle group islarge and connects to both your knees and hips, they play acrucial role in any movement at the knee and hip. They allow you to walk, run, jump, squat down, stand up, and overall just move your legs.

The stronger your hamstrings are, the more powerfully you can move. Moreover, the more resilient you will be to injury. The hamstrings play a vital role in protecting and stabilizing your knees and hips.

If you were ever to have a hamstring injury, you would see just how important the hamstrings are to your day to day life. They are involved in every lower body movement.

WHY IT’S IMPORTANT TO STRENGTHEN YOUR HAMSTRINGS

It's important to keep your hamstrings healthy and strong. Strong hamstrings are essential for a better quality of life. Everyone should have strong hamstrings, not just weightlifters and athletes.

That said, strong hamstrings are particularly beneficial for athletes and weightlifters.

Strengthening your hamstrings offers a multitude of benefits, which can help you in the near and long run. So, let's go over some of the main benefits of strengthening your hamstrings, for both daily life, longevity, and sports/gym performance:

  1. Stronger Lifts:The stronger your hamstrings are, the more you can lift, which means the more you can build up other muscles. If you want to break PRs for some of the most important exercises (squats and deadlifts), you'll need to build up those hamstrings!
  2. Run Faster: The hamstrings are one of the most important muscles when it comes to sprinting. If you want to run fast, you need powerful hamstrings.
  3. Enhance Acceleration & Deceleration:The hamstrings allow you to both accelerate and decelerate when running. If you want toaccelerate with force and decelerate safely, strong and flexible hamstrings are a must.
  4. Prevent Injury:Common injuries amongst athletesare hamstring strains and knee injuries. While there is no way to be completely invincibleto this, having stronger hamstrings will greatly lower the risk of injury to your hamstrings, knees and hips. Well-built, strong hamstrings will allowyou to absorb shock involving high velocity and force better.
  5. Improve Posture:One of the many benefits that come with having stronger hamstrings is that you willhave better posture. Strong hamstrings increasehip stability, whichis part of thefoundation for your spine. Therefore, stronger hamstrings can help keep your spine aligned, saving you from backaches and bad posture in the future.

WHAT HAPPENS IF YOUR HAMSTRINGS ARE WEAK AND TIGHT?

Since we talked about the importance of strong hamstrings, we should also talk about what can happen if your hamstrings are weak...

First of all, forget about all of the benefits above if your hamstrings are weak.

Most concerning, though, is the lack of resilience to injury. The hamstrings seriously play such an important role in the longevity of your knee and hip joints. Moreover, the weaker your hamstrings are, the weaker your glutes, quads and low back will be. We cantalk about each muscle separately, but our body works as one unit regardless.

As for tight hamstrings, you can expect a lack of mobility, of course, which means you won't be able to move as well.

Also,tight hamstrings often cause low back pain. People usually think about stretching their lower back when they have low back pain, not realizing that it may actually stem from their hamstrings.

Furthermore, if you allow your hamstrings to be tight, then in the long run, it will likely lead to poor posture andchronic back pain.

The good news is the fix for weak hamstrings is the same as the fix for tight hamstrings, and that is proper strength training with a full range of motion.

Now, stretching your hamstrings is fine, and you should do this once or twice a week if you feel the need. But, you should not be overstretching. You just want to comfortably stretch through a normal range of motion. Creating normalcy in your flexibility is the point, not overflexibility, as being too flexible is actually a disadvantage when it comes tobeing strong.

But, again, the real fix is strengthening your hamstrings. By performing hamstring exercises through a wide range of motion, you will be able to strengthen and loosen up your hamstrings at the same time. After all, strength training is also a form of dynamic stretching. Think about it...when you are moving through a full range of motion, you are stretching your muscles. You are stretching them and contracting them with each rep. This meansyou are improving mobility and strength at the same time. If you exercise properly, you should already have pretty normal flexibility even without static stretching. Beyond strength training,a little static stretching here and there after a workout is good just to improve recoverabilityandrelease tension from a tough workout.

The dumbbell exercises to come are going to ensure that your hamstrings are strong and not tight.

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BENEFITS OF USING DUMBBELLS TO HIT HAMSTRINGS

While dumbbells are certainly not the only equipment that can be usedto train the hamstrings effectively, they are a stellar toolfor the job. If you were to only use dumbbells, you could train your hamstrings very effectively.

That said, at SET FOR SET, we do recommend incorporating some heavy lifts using barbells(if you don't have any limitations, that is).

Nevertheless, let's go over what makes dumbbells special for training the hamstrings:

Weight Selection: Dumbbells can be as light as 1-2lbs, and as heavy as 100+lbs,whereas a barbell will be a minimum of 45lbs. This makes dumbbells more accessible and easier to progressive overload.There is so much room to improve. Of course, barbells can allow you to lift heavier loads, which is their advantage.

Versatility:You can do all of the same exercises with dumbbells that you can with barbells, plus a lot more! With dumbbells, you can hone in on muscle imbalances and train your hamstrings in unique ways by performing unilateral exercises. This will also help you to become more balanced and coordinated. All in all, with dumbbells you have more exercise options, a wider range of movement, and more training variables (load position, body position, grip, etc) to play around with. In fact, this is true for dumbbells versus most other equipment, not just barbells.

Hypertrophy & Strength:Dumbbells are really great forironing out asymmetries as you are working each side individually. With barbells, it's common for the dominant side to take over lifts, whereas with dumbbells, both sides must work evenly. This is great for aesthetics and strength. What's more, with dumbbells, you can move through a greater range of motion and really maximize both stretchingtension and contraction tension (the eccentric and concentric phases of the movement).

Safety:Generally speaking dumbbells are safer than barbells. They put less pressure on your joints and there are no exercises that involve placing heavy loads on your back/spine.

And, of course, they are portable and more space friendly. Dumbbells are great for the gym, at home and even outdoor workouts.

Related:

HOW TO TRAIN YOUR HAMSTRINGS WITH DUMBBELLS:

If you want to train your hamstrings correctly with dumbbells, there are a few factors to consider. They are:

  • Exercise Selection & Training Variables
  • Rep Ranges & Weight Load
  • Volume

This is very important, so let's go over each of these points, and then we will finally show you the 10 best hamstring exercises with dumbbells.

Exercise Selection & Training Variables

To train your hamstrings effectively, you must have a good selection of exercises and also play around with different training variables. This will allow you to train your hamstrings through all of their actions, hit them from all angles, and stress the muscles differently to always keep them guessing.

In regards toexercise selection, you want to perform various forms of squats & lunges, deadlifts, hip thrusts, & hip extensions, and leg curls. These are the main movements that work your hamstrings.

Essentially, the exercisesare based on hip extension and flexion, knee extension and flexion, and hip/knee extension and rotation. Together, you willstrengthen your hamstrings through all of their actions. A good hamstring dumbbell workout will include at least oneexercisebased on each of these types of movements.

The exercise selection that we have for you below include all of these types of movements, with different training variables implemented.

As for training variables, there are three main ones -body position, load position, and grip position.

Here is an example of the same exercise with a differenttraining variable: Stiff-leg deadliftwith a bilateral stance or a stiff-leg deadlift with a staggered stance. The training variable is body position.

By changing training variables periodically, you can alter how your hamstrings are stressed.

When choosing the exercises, we have taken training variables into consideration, so you don't need to worry abouthow to change the training variables yourself (it's already been done with the exercise selection below).We just wanted you to make note of it, as none of these exercises are redundant, even though they may appear that way to a beginner's eye.

If you understand how training variables work, you can play aroundwith exercises in so many creatively effective ways.

To wrap this section up...you don't need to do tons of exercises each workout, but you do need to choose various exercises that work your hamstrings differently. That way you can develop your hamstrings in their entirety. You can also switch things up occasionally to keep your muscles guessing. We like to keep several exercises in the routine until we start seeing diminishing returns and then we switch things up and come back to the previous exercises down the line. It's good to keep the same exercises for a training cycle so you can progressive overload, but as you get to be more advanced, variety will play an equally important role in building muscle and strength.

Rep Ranges and Weight Load

You've probably heard the good ol' 8-12 reps before. While that isactually a good rep range, it is not the only one you should work through.

If youwant your hamstrings to become bigger, stronger, and have more endurance, you need to work through the whole spectrum of rep ranges.

  • 5-8 reps with heavy load
  • 8-12 reps with moderate-heavy load
  • 12-15 reps with moderate-light load
  • 15+ reps with light load

The load should challenge you within the given rep range.

Now, it's important to note that the hamstrings are made up of around 70% fast twitch muscle fibers. With that, they are actually going to respond best to heavier loads for lower reps.

Fast twitch muscle fibers are built for short intense bursts of energy.

So, we like to break our sets up as follows:

  • 40% in the 5-8 rep range
  • 25% in the 8-12 rep range
  • 20% in the 12-15 rep range
  • 15% in the 15+ rep range

As such, the majority of your training will be in the 5-12 rep range. In any case, you will build both strength and size in all rep ranges.

Volume

Beginners should aim for around 10-12 sets per week for the hamstrings.

Intermediates should aim for around 12-16 sets per week for the hamstrings.

Advanced lifters should aim for around 15-20 sets per week for the hamstrings.

This can be divided across 1-3 workouts per week. You don't have to do all in one workout session.

So, for beginners, let's say you have 4 different hamstring exercises that you allow you to work your hamstrings in their entirety and you are aiming for 12 sets per week in total for the hamstrings, then you'd have 3 sets for each of the 4 exercises. You could do them all in one workout, orsplit into 2 workouts (2 exercises for 3 sets each one workout and 2 exercises for 3 sets each the next). You could evensplit them into 3 or 4 workouts (doing 1 or 2 hamstring exercises for a few sets each workout).

10 BEST DUMBBELL HAMSTRING EXERCISES

And now, we come to the meat and potatoes of this guide. The fun stuff.

Here are 10 of the best dumbbell exercises that you can do to make your hamstrings stronger and more defined.

1. Dumbbell Deadlift

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The deadlift is an essential, primal movement that everyone should do, pending they have no injuries and are in good health.It is one of the kings of compound lifts.

And while it's not a hamstring-only exercise, the deadlift makes the hamstrings a primary mover. With dumbbells,the deadlift is particularly great for honing in on the hammys. But overall, it's going to begreat for your hamstrings, glutes, quads, and back, as well as your core.

How Many Reps Should You Do?

Deadlifts are best done in the 5-8 rep range or 8-12 rep range. This is not one of the exercises where you are going to want to do the high reps we previously discussed. It's a power movement, so you will see the best results with heavier loads and lower reps.

HowTo Do Dumbbell Deadlifts:

  1. With your feet about hip width apart, set the dumbbells up so they are just outside of your feet.
  2. Shoot your hips back and bend at the knees so you can get low without arching your back. If you'd like, you can set up a little platform for each dumbbell so you are picking them up from around the lower shin level rather than the floor. With barbells, it would be about the same height when considering the loaded plates elevating the bar up to your shin level.
  3. Grip the dumbbells with a neutral grip, ensure your spine is straight, chest is up and core is tight, and then drive up from the heels of your feet to a standing position.
  4. Pause at the top, then slowly lower the dumbbells back down by shooting your hips back then breaking at the knees to lower down the rest of the way.
  5. Since you are using dumbbells, you can either rest them on the platform for a dead stop like you would a barbell deadlift, or you can just lower down to about lower shin level and then drive up to a standing position again. Both options are fine,but we prefer to not set the dumbbells down as it keeps constant tension and you'll be using a lighter load than you would with a barbell.

2. Dumbbell RDL

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Romanian deadlift (RDL) is one of many deadlift variations and arguably the absolute best for honing in on the hamstrings. With each rep as you lower down, you are going to get highly effective stretching contraction in your hamstrings, and as you come up, your hamstrings and glutes will work together to extend your hips. Be sure to squeeze the heck out of your glutes at the top with each rep so you can also get great contraction tension.

How Many Reps Should You Do:

RDLs are best done in the 8-12 rep range or 12-15 rep range. However,you can work them through all of the rep ranges we discussed earlier.

HowTo Do Dumbbell RDLs:

  1. Stand straight with dumbbells in each hand (overhand grip).
  2. Focus on your hips as you slowly push them out and lower your back down with your arms extended. Your spine should remain straight at all time (no arch in your back).
  3. With the RDL, you will have a little bend in your knee, but you are not bending at the knee to lower down, it is a hip based movement.
  4. Once the dumbbells reach the middle of your shins, extend at the hips to come back to a standing position. The dumbbells will be moving in a straight path up and down.

3. Dumbbell Stiff-Leg Deadlift

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The stiff leg deadlift, aka straight leg deadlift, is very similar to the RDL, but it has some important distinctions, which we will explain after.

Like the RDL, it is a hamstring focused exercise. This is going to provide your hamstrings with incredible stretching contraction, which is proven to be the best way to build and strengthen the hamstrings.

How Many Reps Should You Do?

Stiff-legs are best done in the 8-12 rep range or 12-15 rep range. However,you can work them through all of the rep ranges we discussed earlier.

How To Do Dumbbell Stiff Leg Deadlifts:

  1. Hold onto the dumbbells with an overhand grip just in front of your hips. Arms fully extended.
  2. With your legs fully extended, shoot your hips back whileloweringthe dumbbells down in a straight path. Your back will be lowering down by pushing your hips back, soyour spine will remain straight. Your knees can bend ever so slightly when the dumbbells passyour knees, but try to keep your knees as straight as possible. Basically you want to bend your knees just enough so thatyou canbring the dumbbells down to lower shin level without arching your back.
  3. Go as low as you can without arching your back, then pause at the bottom range for a moment.
  4. From the bottom, extend at the hips to come back to a standing position and then fully lockout at the top.

Stiff Leg Deadlift (variable change)

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This variation of the dumbbell stiff-leg deadlift alters the load positioning. It keeps the weight dead center to the body, rather than along the thighs. You may find this to be more effective at hitting the hamstrings or simply easy to perform. It's worth giving it a try. All you have to do is hold the dumbbell lengthwise, which will give you plenty of leeway in terms of how low you have to go.

RDL vs Stiff-Leg Form, What’s the Difference?

The Romanian Dead Liftis very similar to the stiff leg deadlift. However, these exercises do havetwo fundamental differences. The first one is that theknees remain somewhat bent throughout the movement with the RDL, never locking out, whereas with the stiff-leg deadlift, your knees are locked out at the top and you only bend your knees a very little once the dumbbells pass your knees when lowering them down. The second difference is that you should be attempting to go lower with the stiff-leg deadlift. With the RDL, you can stop once the dumbbells reach your shins, but with the stiff-leg, you are trying to bring them down as close to the ground as you can withoutrounding your back.

4. Single Leg Dumbbell Deadlift

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The single-leg deadlift is one of the most popular dumbbell leg exercises there is as it allows you to target one hamstring at a time, thus ironing out any muscle and strength imbalances. Simultaneously, you will be working on your balance. As such, the single leg deadlift will alsostrengthen your hip abductorsand core musclesthrough maintaining spinal and hip stability when performing the movement. It's also one of our favorite exercises for growing bigger thighs!

How Many Reps Should You Do?

This exercise can be fairly difficult to do, even without the weights being part of the equation. This is because you need hip and core strength to maintain balance. Because of that, it may be difficult to do many reps. Nevertheless, this exercise is best donefor 8+ reps. If you do lose balance, that's fine, just reposition yourself and continue.

How To Do Single Leg Dumbbell Deadlift:

This exercise can be done with one or two dumbbells. If using one, hold the dumbbell on the working side (the leg that will remain planted).

  1. Holding the dumbbell(s) with an overhand, lift your left leg straight back while leaning down and forward. Try to keep your spine perfectly straight as you lower the dumbbell down toward the ground. The dumbbell(s) should be moving along a mostly vertical path.
  2. Once your leg and spine are parallel with the floor, or as close to parallel as you can get, extend at the hip using your glutes and hamstrings and come back to the standing position.
  3. Your left leg can remain off the ground or you can touch your toe to the ground and then repeat.
  4. After you finish your reps, repeaton the opposite side.

Single Leg Deadlift with Step Box

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If it is difficult for you to maintain balance with a single leg deadlift,this is a good alternative.It is araised staggered stance deadlift, using a step box.

Even if you can balance well with a single leg deadlift, this is a good variation to throw into the mix. You will feel a difference in how it hits your muscles.

5. Glute Bridge/Hip Thrust

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A glute bridge targets the hamstrings and glutes, while focusing on thecore and hip flexorsas well.Be sure to really squeeze your glutes and hamstrings at the top of the movement and hold the position for a few seconds each rep. Thiswill make the exercise considerably more effective.

How Many Reps Should You Do?

If you are doing the glute bridge thrust correctly, each rep will take a good 5 seconds. As such, you should aim for 8-12 reps. Each rep, hold the contraction for a few seconds, really squeeze your glutes and hamstrings.

How To Do A Glute Bridge With A Dumbbell:

  1. Lie down with your back against the ground.
  2. Place a dumbbell along your hips and position your feet so your legs make about a 45˚ angle.
  3. Keeping your core tight, drive your hips up until your core and legs make a straight diagonal line (neutral spine).
  4. Hold this contraction, really squeezing your glutes and hamstrings, then slowly lower your butt down to the ground.

6. Rear Lunge

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While forward lunges aremainlya quad and glute exercise, the rear lunge is shown to activate the hamstrings effectively too. It's not a hamstring specific exercise, but your hamstrings will get good activation alongside your quads and glutes (and even calves).

How Many Reps Should You Do?

The best rep range for rear lunges will be 10+ reps. So, you could do sets of 10-15 reps or even 15-25 per side.

HowTo Do Dumbbell Rear Lunges:

  1. Stand with your feet shoulder width apart.
  2. While keeping your core tight, take a step back (about two feet).Your back foot should be on the ball of the foot.
  3. Slowly lunge down while keeping your torso upright.
  4. When your legs are about at 90˚, drive up through the heel of your front foot while stepping your back leg forward into abilateral stance. This is one rep.

You can either repeat to the same side for a number of reps, or alternate sides with each rep.

7. Wide Sumo Squat

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The sumo squat positions your feet in a very wide stance with your toes pointed out (which causes hip abduction). With that, this exercise targets your glutes, hip abductors, inner thighs and hamstrings more than a regular squat.

How Many Reps ShouldYou Do?

Sumo squats can be done in any rep range. You can do sets of 5-8 with a heavy dumbbell, 8-12 with a moderate weight, or 12+ with a moderately light weight. Really focus on contraction and slownegatives no matter what rep range you are working in.

HowTo Do Dumbbell Sumo Squats:

  1. Step your feet about 1.5-2 feet more than shoulder width. Point your toes slightly outward.
  2. Pick up the dumbbell so that you are holding it vertically at your center.
  3. Bend at the knees bringing your butt straight down (you will not have much hip flexion like you would a regular squat).
  4. When your thighs are about parallel with the ground, drive up through the heels of your feet to a standing position. Really contract your glutes and hamstrings as you come up and squeeze at the top, then repeat.

8. Box Squat

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The box squatemphasizestheglutes and hamstrings. It does this because it involves less knee flexion, and from the seated position, your quads are taken out of the equation (mostly) because to come to a standing position, it's all about hip extension (which is powered by the hamstrings and glutes).

HowMany Reps Should You Do?

Box squat reps take time. You will be lowering down very slowly until your buttsits on the box (or bench), pausing in the seated position, then driving up with power to standing. With that, you will want to keep the reps anywhere from 8-15.

HowTo Do Dumbbell Box Squats:

  1. Set up a box or a bench behind you. It should be about knee level at the top.
  2. With your feet hip to shoulder width apart and the dumbbell held up at your chest in a goblet position, shoot your hip back to sit down on the box. Your knees will not move past your toes. Think about it like you are actually sitting down, rather than a regular squat which involves more knee flexion.
  3. When your butt reaches the box, relax for a moment then using your glutes and hamstrings, perform hip extension to come up to a standing position. Try to do this with explosive power. Focus on powering the movement with your hamstrings and glutes.

9. Leg Curl

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Leg curls are one of the few true isolation exercises for the hamstrings. And while this movement is generally done with a leg curl machine, it can be done quite effectively with a dumbbell as seen above.

How Many Reps Should You Do?

Leg curls are best done in the 8-15 rep range.

How To Do Dumbbell Leg Curls:

  1. Start off by laying on your stomach and holding the weight between your feet with your legs fully extended.
  2. Using your hamstrings, curl your legs up until they nearly make a 90˚ angle. You don't want to go completely to 90˚ as that will reduce tension.
  3. From there, very slowly lower your legs back down to full extension.

It's a hard set up, so you won't be able to go heavy with this exercise.As such, focus on really good contraction and a slow eccentric phase.

If you have resistance bands, you can also do banded leg curls easily. There are also plenty of good alternatives to leg curls.

    10. Dumbbell Swing

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    No kettlebell? Don't worry, you can do dumbbell swings and they are just as effective as kettlebell swings.The dumbbell swing is an explosive, ballistic exercise that works so many muscles and burns a ton of calories. However, the main drivers of the exercise are the glutes and hamstrings becausethis movement is powered by hip extension. It's sort of like an explosive Romanian deadlift. Your abs are also going to get a lot of work due to the need for stability and control.

    You may think your shoulders are bringing the dumbbell up, but it is actually the sheer force of you exploding through hip extension that allows the dumbbell to come up to shoulder level. Your arms are simply stabilizing and guiding the motion.

    HowMany Reps Should You Do?

    Dumbbell Swings are best done in the 10-20 rep range.

    HowTo Do Dumbbell Swings:

    1. Set a dumbbell standing vertically at your front and center. It should be just forward of your toes, and at dead center of your feet.
    2. With yourfeet almost shoulder width apart and toes slightly pointed outward, shoot your hips back and bend at the knees slightly to grab onto the top head of the dumbbell. You'll grip the dumbbell with your fingers gripping underneathits head.
    3. Ensure that your spine is straight, then hike the dumbbell back between your legs while keeping your chest up.
    4. When the dumbbell passes your hamstrings (you'll feel the stretch in your hamstrings), explode at the hips, driving them forward to a standing position while allowing the dumbbell to come up to shoulder height (with your arms extended).
    5. Let the dumbbell fall back down through the same path of motion (make sure you keep your core tight) and allow your hips to shoot back as the kettlebell comes down and between your legs.
    6. Don't bend at the knees like you would a squat when the kettlebell is coming down and through your legs to your backside, your knees should be flexing and extending similar to how they do with a Romanian deadlift. The knees are stabilizing,and the hips are powering the movement. It is not a squat swing, it is hip flexion and extension.

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    WARM UP STRETCHESFOR THE HAMSTRINGS BEFORE WORKING OUT

    Before you can start exercising your hamstrings, it's smart to do some dynamic stretches. This will "wake up" your hamstrings and prime them for the workout to come.

    The following movements aregoing to ensure your muscles have the proper range of motion and get blood flowing to the hamstrings.

    Toe Touch:

    Start by standing up with your feet slightly apart. Bend down and try to touch your toes with your fingertips. Continue to bend down until you start to feel a slight stretch in your hamstrings and lower back. Hold the position fora few seconds and then come back up and repeat.

    Do 5-10 reps for 1 set.

    Down Dog:

    Start on all fours(knees, hands, and feet on the ground). Your hands should be directly under your shoulders, and you should put pressure on your toes. From there, push your hipsup toward the sky while straightening your legs. When your legs are extended and your butt is up, try to bring your heels down to the floor. Hold the positionfor a couple seconds, then come back down onto all fours and repeat.

    Do 5-10 reps for 1 set.

    Front Lunging Hamstring Stretch:

    Start in a kneeling position with the top of your feet lying flat on the ground. From there, you will want to extend one leg forward while keeping the other one in a knelt position. Stretch out your front leg until you feel a stretch in your hamstrings, hold that positionfor 5 seconds, then bend forward at the knee and repeat.

    Do 5-10 reps for 1 set.

    Single Leg Deadlift Stretch:

    Stand straightwith your legs hip width apart. Bring your left leg up and back while keeping just a slight bend in your right leg.Try to touch the floor or your toes, thencome back up to standing and then perform the same movement to the opposite side.

    Do 5-10 reps (each side) for 1 set.

    RDL Isometric Stretch:

    The RDL stretch is very similar to the single leg deadlift stretch, with the only difference being that this one requires weights.Use a very lightweight for this,as you just want to be stretching your muscles. To do this stretch,you just hold the bottom position of the RDL, when your hamstrings are stretched, for 5-10 seconds then come back up and repeat.

    Do 5 reps for 1 set. Make this your last warm up exercise before starting your workout.

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    FAQ about Dumbbell Hamstring Workouts:

    Do dumbbell squats work hamstrings?

    Yes,dumbbell squats work the hamstrings, but it is more of a quad dominant exercise.That said, certain variations of the squat can work the hamstrings more, such as sumo squats and box squats.

    Are dumbbell lunges good for hamstrings?

    Dumbbell lungeswill work the hamstrings, but they are more quad dominant. However, rear lunges are effective at activating the hamstrings more than other variations of lunges.

    How to Target the Upper Hamstrings?

    There are various exercises that can help you target your upper hamstrings. The hamstring curls and glute bridge are two exercises that isolate your hamstrings and focus on them completely. There is also the Romanian deadlift, wide sumo squat, and the stiff leg deadlift which can help focus on the upper hamstring.

    If you have any questions about training your hamstrings with dumbbells, please feel free to reach out to us. We are always happy to help!

    Have more equipment to work with? Check out the all-around27 Best Hamstring Exercises.

    More dumbbell leg exercise content:

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    10 Best Dumbbell Hamstring Exercises (2024)
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