Hello, everyone! Last week, we looked at some of the muscles of the lower body and their functions. This week, we will look at a few exercises to strengthen and tone the hamstrings, or the back of the thigh. Perform 3 sets of 10-15 reps on 2-3 non-consecutive days of the week.

 

Bridge

Begin lying on the floor on your back with your feet flat on the floor and your knees bent. Keeping arms at sides, place your palms on the floor, push through heels, and slowly lift your hips up by pushing pelvis toward the ceiling. Slowly lower back down to starting position. Repeat.

bridge

 

 

Body Weight Squat

Begin with feet facing forward and slightly wider than hip-width apart, and hold arms straight out in front of you for balance. Pushing weight through your heels, push your hips and booty back as you slowly lower while bending your knees. Be sure knees are not coming over your toes, and keep your back straight throughout entire movement. Slowly return to starting position and repeat.

squats

 

Note: If the body weight squat is too difficult and you have access to a gym, use the leg press machine such as the one pictured below. This movement is basically a seated squat. You can also perform the squat while holding onto a stable surface. 

Eagle_LegPress-resized-600

 

Leg Curl

Wrap a resistance band around an immovable object and place at the back of your ankle. While lying prone, or face down, slowly bend your knee while pulling your foot up toward your glutes. Slowly extend leg back to starting position. Repeat.

leg curl bands

 

 

Note: If this exercise is too difficult and you have access to a gym, use the leg curl machine. This machine will work your hamstrings. There is the seated leg curl (left) and the prone leg curl (right).

leg curl machine