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The Top 5 Hamstring Exercises To Increase Your Athletic Performance

Written by: Kosta Telegadas, Executive Contributor

Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.


The hamstring muscles, located on the back of the thigh, are an important muscle group for many athletic and everyday activities. Strong hamstrings can help to improve performance in sports such as running, jumping, and cycling, as well as help prevent injuries and improve overall lower body strength.

A woman having some workout.

Below are the top five hamstring exercises to increase your athletic performance in my opinion as a strength and conditioning coach:

1. The Deadlift

The deadlift is a compound exercise that works the entire posterior chain, including the hamstrings, glutes, and back. This exercise can be done with a barbell or trap bar and is performed by standing with the feet hip-width apart, bending at the hips, and lifting the weight up to the hips. This movement is one of the most important for overall strength and athletic development due to the stress it places on the central nervous system. This movement also activates the most muscle fibers of any exercise that can be performed.

2. The Dumbbell Single Leg Romanian Deadlift

The Romanian deadlift is a variation of the traditional deadlift that places a greater emphasis on the hamstrings. The exercise is performed by holding dumbbells at the hips, and then hinging forward at the hips while keeping the knees slightly bent. Note the single-leg variation will target knee and ankle stability to decrease the likelihood of injury in both the ankle and knee joints. This variation also removes single-leg imbalances in the hamstrings & glutes as well.

3. The Glute Bridge

The glute bridge is an effective exercise for targeting the hamstrings and glutes. It is performed by lying on your back with your feet flat on the ground, and then lifting your hips towards the ceiling, squeezing the glutes at the top of the movement. This movement is great for individuals who still have to lift heavy without loading up the low back and spine. This can be great if athletes are lifting after a hard practice or have performed a lot of running before coming into the weight room.

4. The Nordic Hamstring Curl

The Nordic hamstring curl is a challenging exercise that targets the hamstrings. It is performed by kneeling on the ground and holding onto a partner or a weight, and then lowering the body down towards the ground while keeping the knees straight. By targeting the lower hamstrings, the body will learn to absorb force and decrease the likelihood of knee-related injuries to come as the rigorous nature of a sports season approaches.

5. The Swiss Ball Hamstring Curl

The Swiss ball hamstring curl is a challenging exercise that targets the hamstrings and glutes. It is performed by lying on your back with your heels on top of a Swiss ball and then lifting your hips toward the ceiling while using your heels to roll the ball toward your glutes. Different from the glute bridge, it will challenge the stability of the lower extremities without the need for higher loading on the hips.

Consider This!

It is important to note that it is always best to consult with a professional strength and conditioning coach before starting any new exercise regimen and to ensure proper form and technique. Additionally, it is important to remember to warm up and cool down properly before and after performing these exercises.


In summary, the hamstring muscles are an important muscle group that plays a critical role in many athletic and everyday activities. Many exercises can help to improve hamstring strength, flexibility, and mobility. In my opinion, the top hamstring exercises are deadlifts, single-leg Romanian deadlifts, glute bridges, Nordic hamstring curls, and Swiss ball hamstring curls. These exercises should be performed with proper form and technique and it's always good to consult with a professional trainer or physician before starting any new exercise regimen. As always, please feel free to reach out to me directly on Instagram or through my coaching email.

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Kosta Telegadas, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine

Kosta Telegadas is a leader in the strength and conditioning for tactical athletes and martial artists all over the world. He found physical training as a necessity to grow up playing sports, help prevent injury & give back to the country that gave his family so much over the generations. Coach Telegadas has a Master's Degree from the University of Miami (FL) and over 7 years of coaching experience with both professional, college, high school & tactical athletes. He is currently the Head Coach/CEO of Telegadas Performance Training and dedicates his time to make physical training programs & remote coaching accessible to all. His mission: If you stay ready, you never have to get ready!



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