7 Best Resistance Band Hamstring Exercises (with Pictures!)

published by: Debbie Luna
Last Updated:
October 26, 2022

The hamstrings are vital in our daily activities as they are used in walking, going up the stairs, running, and a variety of other leg actions. One of the most common injuries that occur in athletes is a hamstring strain. These injuries can be reduced by increasing hamstring flexibility and mobility which can be achieved not only through static stretching, but exercise as well.

Exercises to strengthen the hamstrings may be performed with a variety of equipment. One of the most convenient and accessible equipment for these exercises is the resistance band. The exercises that can be performed with a resistance band include hamstring curls, good mornings, pull-throughs, and single-leg hip thrusts, among many others.

What does the Hamstring Muscle do?

The hamstring muscle is an important muscle in the body because it aids in the movement of the legs and hips. The hamstring muscles are located at the back of the thighs and are in charge of moving the leg backward. It flexes the leg at the knee joint and extends the thigh at the hip joint. When walking or running, the hamstrings also help to rotate the leg inward.

hamstring muscles

The hamstring muscle has several branches that branch out from one main tendon that attaches to the lower leg bone. These branches then connect to other bones in the lower leg and hip, allowing them to move the hip and knee joints. The muscle requires a lot of oxygen during exercise to do this work.

The hamstring muscles are divided into four sections: the long and short heads of the biceps femoris, the semitendinosus, and the semimembranosus. These muscles originate from different points of the femur and pelvis and insert into the knee and lower leg. Because these muscles are all linked together by tendons, they work together during activity.

Advantages of Using Resistance Bands

A resistance band is an excellent tool for increasing strength. It is an excellent way to get some cardio in while also stretching and toning the muscles. These can be used for strength and flexibility training, among other things. It's small, lightweight, and easy to store in a gym or closet.

Improves Flexibility

Resistance bands are an excellent way to improve flexibility. Resistance bands are commonly used in physical therapy, but anyone who wants to improve their range of motion and flexibility can use them. They can be used as a warm-up or cool-down tool, or even as a form of full-body dynamic stretching.

This equipment makes it easier to stretch out tight muscles. A good example of a resistance band stretching exercise is kneeling quad stretching, which involves wrapping the resistance band around the foot and pulling the other end with the hand to maximize the stretch on the quads.

Increases Strength

Resistance band training is a quick and easy way to improve muscle strength and tone. Resistance bands provide resistance to the force of an individual's body weight. Traditional exercises such as push-ups, squats, and many others can be advanced by using resistance bands to add even more tension for muscle building.

Injury Recovery

Resistance bands are a common piece of equipment used by physical therapists to treat patients who have been injured. This is used as a rehabilitation tool to help patients resume an active lifestyle. Resistance bands can help these patients with muscle strength, stability, and mobility in a safe and effective manner.

Versatility 

Resistance bands are extremely versatile; an individual can do almost anything with one. Resistance bands can provide strength training, stretching, calisthenics, and other exercises such as bench presses, bicep curls, and lateral raises. A resistance band can be used for an infinite number of activities, making it one of the most versatile pieces of equipment available.

Safety 

Resistance bands are ideal exercise tools because they allow an individual to train in all planes of motion while adding no extra impact to an individual's joints and ligaments, unlike free weights and machines, which can lead to injury over time.

Affordable

Resistance bands may be the most affordable piece of equipment out there. They usually come in sets with different levels of resistance to accommodate the intensity of external force demanded and more without having to break the bank.

Best Resistance Band Exercises for the Hamstrings

1. Lying Hamstring Curls

A banded hamstring curl is a leg curl performed with a resistance band. This is especially beneficial when there isn't a lying leg curl machine accessible. Resistance is given by an external force and is altered by switching out the bands to a lesser or heavier resistance.

band lying hamstring curl

To perform a lying hamstring curl, the resistance band is attached to a stable item or surface, while the other end is hooked on one heel while the participant is lying prone (on their stomach). The knee is bent to move the heel closer to the buttocks while the front of the thighs and hips remain on the ground.

When the knee reaches the end of its range and cannot be bent any further, it is carefully extended to return to the starting position. Repeat the movement for the desired number of reps to complete a set.

2. Seated Hamstring Curls

The sitting hamstring curl also known as the seated leg curl is a hamstring muscle isolation exercise. It is usually performed using a hamstring curl machine, although, it may also be performed with the use of resistance bands in situations where a machine is inaccessible.

resistance band seated hamstring curl

Isolation exercises such as this target muscles individually in a way that compound exercises cannot, and is quite effective in strengthening the hamstrings.

When doing a seated banded hamstring curl, a resistance band is securely fastened to a strong and solid piece of furniture or a permanent post. The person is seated in a chair in front of the item to which the resistance band is linked and loops the band around one heel while keeping the legs together

The knee is bent against resistance until it can no longer be flexed. When the knee flexion reaches the end of its range, it is gradually straightened to return to the beginning position.

3. Banded Good Mornings

The banded good morning is an excellent exercise that works the hamstring muscle and various other muscles such as the glutes, erector spinae, and lower back muscles. With this exercise, an individual will be able to increase the strength of the leg and back muscles. 

band good morning

To perform this, take a band and step on the end with both feet at hip-width apart then wrap the other end at the back of the neck. Then, stand straight up making sure that the core is kept tight the whole time. Hinge at the hips as low as possible, and a stretch at the hamstring muscles must be felt. 

Stand up straight again to finish a single rep. Take note that the back must not arch all throughout the process of the movement, especially when bending the torso forward, and to not overextend the back. Repeat this motion for the desired number of reps to complete a single set.  

4. Banded Pull-throughs

The banded pull-through is an exercise that works the muscles in the glutes and hamstrings of an individual. This is an excellent compound, especially when building up muscles to be able to master the king of compound exercises which is the deadlift. 

band pull through

To perform, take a resistance band and hang it at about knee level from an upright position on a stable pipe. Stand in front of the band wherein the back is facing the band. The feet are slightly wider than shoulder-width apart, engage the core and the back should be in a neutral position at all times. 

Grab the band between the legs with an overhand grip, then walk forward until max tension is created from the bands. This is the starting position. To start the exercise drive the hips back to bend the torso forward and then squeeze the buttocks to extend the hips and return to an upright position. Repeat this motion for the desired number of reps to complete a single set. 

5. Single Leg Banded Hip Thrusts

The single-leg banded hip thrust is a variation of hip thrusts that makes use of resistance bands instead of free weights. This workout primarily targets the glutes but also includes engaging the spinal erectors, hamstrings, quads, and adductors.

To perform this, go into starting position by placing the upper back against a bench. One knee is bent at approximately a 90-degree angle and the foot of that same leg is flat on the floor as this will be the working leg. The other leg is placed bent at the knee and hip at a 90-degree angle as it floats. 

The arms will be placed flat on the bend, then bend the elbows and hold the head to act as its support. The movement should be left on the upper back and the hips and not the elbows. Place a band around the legs, just behind the knees, while in the starting position. 

Squeeze the buttocks and contract the core for stability. Then lift the hips until it is aligned with the torso or parallel to the floor, briefly hold this position before lowering the body down again, returning to the starting position. Repeat this motion for the desired number of reps to complete a single set. 

6. Donkey Kickbacks

The banded donkey kickback is a compound exercise that works the muscles gluteus maximus, hamstrings, core, shoulders, and back. This exercise is good for increasing stability as well as improving muscle tone. With correct form, this is a highly efficient exercise that will incorporate various benefits.

band donkey kickback

To perform this, get into a quadruped position by kneeling on the floor and the hands flat on the floor as well. The back must not be arched and is in a neutral position. One end of the resistance band is wrapped beneath one foot and the hand of the same side holds the other end of the resistance band. 

Kick the foot back by extending the hips and fully extending the knees to fully engage the hamstrings and glute muscles. The movement should be slowly executed moving at about 2 seconds before reaching full extension. Briefly hold the position for about 2 seconds before returning the leg to its prior position. Repeat this motion for the desired number of reps and then switch to the other leg with the same number of reps to complete a single set. 

7. Resistance Band Romanian Deadlifts

The Romanian deadlift is used to improve hip health, joint motion, muscle growth, and muscular endurance. This exercise specifically targets the glutes, hamstrings, shoulders, upper back, forearms, and core muscles.

The exercise benefits the improvement of activities of daily living (ADLs) such as lifting heavy objects, walking, reaching items from the ground, and other activities to make them easier to perform. The Romanian deadlift also helps to balance the strength of the hamstrings and quadriceps.

To perform, stand with the feet shoulder-width apart, stepping on the center of the band with both feet. Then hold each end of the band with the palm of the hands facing the body. Hinge at the hips to push the glutes back.

After getting into position,  pull on the band by pushing the hips forward to move to an erect position, making sure that the knees are as straight as possible and the chest high. Hold this position briefly then slowly return to the starting position by hinging at the hips again in a controlled motion. Repeat this motion for the desired number of reps to complete a single set. 

Final Thoughts

Resistance bands are great tools to use to perform hamstring exercises that not only increase strength but improve flexibility and mobility as well. It may not be the primary equipment of choice when doing the above-mentioned exercises, nonetheless, it is a powerful alternative to free weights and weight machines; plus, it has its own assets that other equipment can not match.

References

1. Agre, James C. "Hamstring injuries." Sports medicine 2.1 (1985): 21-33. 

2. Worrell, Teddy W., Troy L. Smith, and Jason Winegardner. "Effect of hamstring stretching on hamstring muscle performance." Journal of Orthopaedic & Sports Physical Therapy 20.3 (1994): 154-159. 

3. O'Sullivan, Kieran, Elaine Murray, and David Sainsbury. "The effect of warm-up, static stretching and dynamic stretching on hamstring flexibility in previously injured subjects." BMC musculoskeletal disorders 10.1 (2009): 1-9. 

Debbie (Deb) started powerlifting and Olympic lifting in High School as part of her track team's programming; She continues to train in order to remain athletic. Inspire US allows Deb to share information related to training, lifting, biomechanics, and more.
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