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Exercises for Weak Hamstrings

The hamstrings are a group of muscles in the back of your upper leg. They are responsible for just about every move where you bend your knee, as in squats, cycling and running. For optimal performance and to avoid injury, it is important that the hamstrings are strong. If they are weak, there are several effective exercises that can strengthen them. As with any exercise, warm up thoroughly by walking or easy jogging, use proper form and stay focused on what you are doing at all times.

With your feet shoulder width apart and arms out in front of you, lower your hips toward the ground, getting your thighs parallel to the ground. Stand up and repeat for three sets with 10 to 12 repetitions each. For an added challenge, perform the squat while holding a dumbbell at your chest with both hands.

Stand with both feet together. Take a big step with one foot and lower your back knee toward the ground so your front leg is at a 90-degree angle. Bring your foot back to your body and repeat with the other side. For an added challenge, you can hold dumbbells in each hand. Do three sets of 10 to 12 repetitions each.

Lying Leg Lifts
Lie face down on the leg lift machine at a gym. Select a weight according to your fitness level that feels challenging but not too heavy, and secure your ankles under the bar. Slowly lift the bar with your legs, keeping your upper body down. Bring your heels as close as possible to your buttocks, and then lower back down again. Do three sets of 10 to 12 repetitions each.

The Hamstring Bridge
Using a large exercise ball, lie on your back with your arms outstretched to the side. Put the bottom of both feet on the ball and keep your knees slightly bent. Push your feet down into the ball and lift your hips off the ground as high as you can while keeping your shoulders on the floor. Hold this pose for 10 to 20 seconds and then lower your hips back to the ground. Repeat three to five times.