women

Don’t neglect your hamstrings – they’re key to well-defined legs, and they power your workouts, too.

Just because you can’t see them in the mirror, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t work your hamstrings. They’re the muscles that help protect your knees (along with your quads, they help your knee absorb shock). They also shape your entire lower body, so you look great from behind as well as in front’

Straight-Leg deadlift

Reps: 15

Benefits

The deadlift is a great move for targeting your hamstrings, glutes, lower back and core. It can also increase flexibility in your hamstrings, as you extend them every time you lower the weights.

·         Grab a barbell and hold it in front of your thighs, feet hip- width apart, knees slightly bent.

·         Bend at your hips to lower your torso until it’s almost parallel to the floor,

·         Return to standing, squeezing your glutes as you rise and thrust your hips forward.

Make it easier

Using dumbbells won’t feel as restrictive as using a bar, as you can work each side independently. This is a great way of getting your form right before progressing onto the bar.

Description: Using dumbbells won’t feel as restrictive as using a bar, as you can work each side independently.

Using dumbbells won’t feel as restrictive as using a bar, as you can work each side independently.

Wide-grip deadlift

Reps: 15

Benefits

Using a wide grip will work your upper back and forearms that bit harder.

Description: Wide-grip deadlift

Wide-grip deadlift

·         Grab a barbell, and place your hands about twice shoulder-width apart. Hold it in front of your thighs, feet hip-width apart, knees slightly bent (A).

·         Keeping the natural arch in your back, bend at your hips until your spine is parallel to the floor, weights close to your body (B).

·         Return to standing.

Good mornings

Reps: 15

Benefits

This move targets your hamstrings, glutes and inner thighs. Your lower back and core also have to work extra hard to stabilize the movement.

Description: This move targets your hamstrings, glutes and inner thighs. Your lower back and core also have to work extra hard to stabilize the movement.

This move targets your hamstrings, glutes and inner thighs. Your lower back and core also have to work extra hard to stabilize the movement.

·         Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, body upright, core braced and shoulders back.

·         Rest a barbell across the back of your shoulders (not your neck), and grasp it with your palms facing forward (A).

·         Bend forward from your hips, keeping a micro bend in your knees (B).

·         Lean as far forward as far as you can (not beyond horizontal), keeping a neutral spine. Then return to standing.

Single-leg deadlift with dumbbells

Reps: 10 each leg

Benefits

Besides targeting your hamstrings, this exercise works your glutes and core.

Description: Single-leg deadlift with dumbbells

Single-leg deadlift with dumbbells

·         Hold a pair of dumbbells with an overhand grip at arm’s length in front of your thighs, feet shoulder- width apart and knees unlocked. Raise your left leg behind you (A).

·         Without changing the bend in your knee, fold from your hips until your torso is parallel to the floor (B).

·         Pause, then squeeze your glutes, thrust your hips forward. Return to standing and repeat on the right.

Stretch it out

Lying hamstring stretch

Description: Lying hamstring stretch

Lying hamstring stretch

·         Use this stretch to lengthen your hamstrings after a tough workout. Lie on your back, knees bent and feet flat on the floor.

·         Raise your left leg, grasping the back of your knee with both hands.

·         Slowly straighten your left leg, grasping your left calf, and hold for 20 seconds. Lower and then repeat with your right leg.

 

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