What Are the Best Hamstring Exercises?

What are the best hamstring exercises?

The hamstring is composed of 3 muscles: the semitendinosus, the semimembranosus and the biceps femoris, that run along the upper leg. The hamstring is responsible for bending the knee and straightening the hip. So, how do you make your hamstrings stronger?


What Are the Best Hamstring Exercises?

One study attached electrodes to participants and had them complete a number of hamstring exercises to determine muscle activation levels. Here’s what they found:

Hamstrings emg

Considering that it’s an isolation exercise, it’s not surprising that leg curls come out on top. Partial leg curls (not going all the way up) were more effective than standard leg curls. Here‘s a video demonstrating leg curls, including partials at the end. If you prefer bodyweight exercises, leg lifts are a good alternative.



If you want to strengthen your hamstrings, leg curls are the most effective exercise. While not included in the study, deadlifts are a great alternative as well. Good luck.



Boeckh-Behrens, Wend-Uwe, and Wolfgang Buskies. “Fitness-Krafttraining.”Reinbek bei Hamburg 20013 (2000).