Upgrade your dumbbell Hamstring workout with these four dumbbell hamstring exercises, and add some real meat to the back of your legs in the process. If your hamstring workout has gone off the boil, or your training has just gotten stagnant, the following hamstring dumbbell exercises and hamstring workout with dumbbells will quickly put you back on track.
In this article I’m going to share…
· Four hamstring dumbbell exercises and one band movement I’ve used and continue to use to build my Hamstrings. (Yes, that’s my legs in the above image).
· Cues, tips and video tutorials on how to perform each movement.
· Advice on how to get the best out of your Hamstrings every time you train them.
· Guidelines on how to implement these movements into a Hamstring workout with dumbbells
· An advanced intensity training technique you can use to take your Hamstring workout with dumbbells to a new level.
For the odd moments you're pushed for time, I've also added a brutal 5 minute dumbbell hamstring workout video for you to follow.
No doubt during your search for the best dumbbell Hamstring exercises, you’ve come across some good, some bad and some indifferent exercise movements. While it may be tempting to try everything and swap exercises on every workout, my number one advice is to dedicate a four week training cycle to doing nothing else for your Hamstrings but the exercises listed in this article.
By doing this, you are giving yourself a chance to make progressions through each movement so you’re in a much better position to make informed decisions about what’s working and what’s not. If you’re darting from one movement to the next without giving anything a chance to work, how will you be able to tell what the best dumbbell Hamstring exercises are?
I consider the following list to be amongst the best dumbbell Hamstring exercises.
Get this movement right and its game over for the Hamstring muscle fibers. Get this movement wrong, and it becomes a half decent lower Back exercise.
Add this exercise and your Hamstring workout with dumbbells will never be the same again. I consider the Bulgarian Hip Hinge to be one of the best dumbbell hamstring exercises because it doesn't take much to get the muscles firing.
Items Needed: Platform/bench or bar on rack and one dumbbell.
Cue 1: Place one foot behind you on the platform. For comfort, rest your toes on the bench rather than the top of your foot and use it as a kickstand for balance.
Cue 2: Place a dumbbell in front of the resting knee and take a step forward into position. Brace your core and try and force your working leg into the ground. Tense your working Hamstring.
Cue 3: Slowly and under control, bend into a table-top position by hinging at the hips and pushing your Glutes back as far as they will go, while keeping the dumbbell in front of the resting knee and staying square on.
Cue 4: Maintain a slight bend in the working leg throughout the movement, and slowly return to the start position. Repeat the set for your opposite leg.
Mission Jacked Tip: You can also take things to a new level by adding a medium to heavy resistance band into the mix. If you have stubborn hamstrings that won't play ball, look no further than the Bulgarian Dumbbell/Band Hip Hinge to pull them back into line.
For this version, you secure the band under your front foot and sling the band over the opposite shoulder. Follow the above cues on both legs to complete the Bulgarian Hip Hinge upgrade and add this to your list of Hamstring exercises with dumbbells.
Use The Dumbbell
Contralateral Split Squat To Build up Your Core & Grow Your Legs
When it comes to a hamstring workout with dumbbells, you would do well to add this hidden treasure to your session.
Items Needed: One dumbbell and a bench or bar on a rack.
In case you’re unsure of the meaning, “Contralateral,” it means “occurring on or acting in conjunction with a part on the opposite side of the body.” In Bulgarian Squat terms, we can hold one dumbbell in the left hand and work the right leg and vice-versa.
When it comes to hitting the all-around Hamstring area and testing the muscle fibers, the Contralateral Bulgarian Squat is a very reliable hamstring with dumbbells option. As well as stimulating strength and growth in the Hamstrings and surrounding muscles, the Contralateral Bulgarian Squat will also challenge you to stabilize your core and remain upright.
Cue 1: With one dumbbell on your right side, rest the topside of your right foot on a bench or a bar off a rack behind you and step forward with your left foot until it’s a good stride in front of the resting leg.
Cue 2: Keep as upright as possible, brace your core and generate force in the front leg by tensing the muscle. Slowly lowering your front leg until your knee is at a 90 degree angle to your ankle.
Cue 3: Briefly pause in the bottom position before smoothly making your way back to the top of the movement. Repeat the set for your opposite leg.
Use db Contralateral Split Squats To Strengthen Your Core & Build Your Legs
This exercise is easy to master but will wreak havoc on the entire Hamstring and Glute area. I think that if you're looking at building size to the back of your legs you should always add a Deadlift variation to your hamstring workout with dumbbells. If you've never tried this exercise, check out the cues and the video to get started.
Items Needed: For this movement, you will need more than just a dumbbell; you will also require one of the following - a slider, a towel, or even a paper plate and a hard, smooth floor to get a good glide on the movement.
Cue 1: Keep the dumbbell in front of the leg on the slider and maintain a square on position.
Cue 2: Tense the core and the muscle in the stationary front leg. Push down on the slider before slowly gliding it backwards over the floor. Maintain a slight bend in the front leg as you slide into the down position.
Cue 3: Tense the Glute in the sliding leg before returning to the top of the movement.
This is a meat and potatoes movement for the Hamstrings, Quads, Glutes, and the entire Back region. Here you can begin to open up and use an increasing amount of weight once you become proficient at performing the exercise. All hamstring workouts with dumbbells will benefit from a few sets of Single Leg Dumbbell Deadlifts.
The advantage when working one leg at a time is that you can really hone in on your form, the exercise cues, and the muscles being worked. It is advised that you wear a belt and use wrist straps to maintain a good grip on the dumbbell.
Items Needed: One dumbbell, training belt, and wrist wrap.
Cue 1: Start in a square on straddle position with one leg in front of the other, making sure to maintain a slight bend at the knee. Place dumbbell in front of the back foot.
Cue 2: Grab the dumbbell with a palm in grip and before lifting the weight off the floor, tense your core and push both feet down in the ground to generate tension in the muscles of the lower body. With a flat Back, retract your Shoulder Blades and pull the dumbbell up into the standing position, making sure to stay on the toes of your back foot.
Cue 3: Slowly hinge forward to lower the dumbbell back to the floor. Reset the retraction of your Shoulders before setting of for the next repetition. Repeat the same process on the opposite leg.
Grow Your Hamstrings With Dumbbells
A great alternative to the Lying Dumbbell Hamstring Curl, this can be a much easier exercise to master since you won’t have to concentrate on not dropping the dumbbell during the curl. What makes this exercise even better is the ascending tension you get from the band, meaning you feel maximum contraction at the top of the movement.
Items Needed: Medium to heavy band, upright anchor and a bench.
Cue 1: Attach the band to the bottom of an upright anchor. Sit on the edge of a bench and place both feet through the band so that it’s resting around the ankles. Spread your feet apart.
Cue 2: Start with your heels level with the edge of the bench, and tension in the band. Holding on to each side of the bench, let your heels move towards the anchor which will release the tension from the band.
Cue 3: Slowly bring your heels back to the bench and briefly hold this contracted position before starting the next repetition.
Work Your Hamstring With Huge Variety of Dumbbell RDLs
Hamstrings flex the Knee and extend the Hip. It’s imperative when training Hamstrings to generate as much force against the floor as possible. When you push into the ground you’ll feel everything from your Quads, Hamstrings, Glutes and Calves contract. Continuously engage and challenge the Hamstrings to maintain tension on the muscle instead of racing through each repetition; that's how you get the best from all hamstring workouts with dumbbells.
Dumbbell Hamstring Workout Guidelines:
If you have a designated lower body or a separate dumbbell Hamstring workout and you train them twice per week, you could quite easily implement 3 of the movements inside one workout. How much you do will very much depend on your goal, training experience and ability to recover between workouts.
Assuming you are an intermediate or advanced lifter and you train your Hamstrings twice per week, your dumbbell Hamstring Workout could look something similar to the following…
1: Single Leg RDLs, 6 -8 reps per set x 3 – 4 working sets
2: Contralateral Bulgarian Squat, 8-10 reps per set x 3-4 working sets
3: Seated Hamstring Band Curl, 10- 12 reps per set x 3-4 working sets
1: Bulgarian Hip Hinge, 6-8 reps per set x 3-4 working sets
2: Single Leg Sliding Deadlifts, 8-10 reps per set x 3-4 working sets
If like me, you train five times per week and every session is a full body workout, you could implement one movement per workout. Your dumbbell Hamstring workout would look something similar to the following…
Workout 1: Single Leg RDLs, 6 reps per set x 3 – 5 working sets
Workout 2: Seated Hamstring Band Curl or Lying Dumbbell Hamstring Curl, 8 reps per set x 3-5 working sets
Workout 3: Single Leg Sliding Deadlifts, 10 reps per set x 3-5 working sets
Workout 4: Contralateral Bulgarian Squat, 9 reps per set x 3-5 working sets
Workout 5: Bulgarian Hip Hinge, 7 reps per set x 3 – 5 working sets
When it comes to building muscle, Hamstrings work well in most rep ranges from 5 -20 repetitions. The one thing to bear in mind is that you don’t want to be training with extremely high repetitions all of the time, as this could affect fatigue and in turn your recovery.
After doing the above workouts for four weeks, it’s advised that you use a Deload period of one week to help you get rid of accumulating fatigue. By doing this you will aid muscle growth and strength gains while giving your Tendons and Ligaments time to heal as they take longer than muscle to repair.
Advanced Intensity Training Technique
If you want to take your dumbbell Hamstring workout to a new level, here’s an advanced intensity training technique you can implement on one exercise movement once per week.
Of course, there are
a few good intensity techniques you could employ during your dumbbell Hamstring
workout, like supersets, forced sets, and drop sets to allow you to go beyond
the common failure point in a workout to push the muscle harder. In this
article, I’m going to concentrate on Rep Targeting.
Add this technique to one or more of your hamstring workouts with dumbbells to shock the muscle into growth. There's no doubting that your dumbbell hamstring workouts will feel a heightened level of intensity using Rep Targeting.
For this muscle-building technique, you simply choose one of the above movements, set a rep target and obtain that repetition goal no matter how many sets it takes to achieve.
• Our target is 50 repetitions with a weight that may allow you 15 reps to failure. On set one, you achieved 15 reps.
• Rest up to 30 seconds
• You perform 10 more reps to failure
• Rest up to 30 seconds
• Achieve 8 reps to failure
• Rest up to 30 seconds
• Complete 7 reps to failure
• Rest up 30 seconds
• Perform 5 repetitions to failure
• Rest 30 seconds
• Perform 5 reps to failure
Or you could try - The Time Subtraction Rep Targeting:
A significant variation of the above rep targeting method is to do, "Time Subtraction Rep Targeting." Your rest time between sets is the number of reps you have left to reach your target.
Here’s an example for this dumbbell Hamstring workout, managing a target of 50 reps with a weight that allows you about 15 repetitions to failure.
• You complete 15 reps on set one to failure
• Rest 35 seconds
• Set 2 you complete 10 repetitions to failure
• Rest 25 seconds
• Set 3 you complete 8 reps to failure
• Rest 17 seconds
• Set 4 you perform 6 repetitions to failure
• Rest 11 seconds
• Set 5 you complete 5 reps to failure
• Rest 6 seconds
• Set 6 you perform 4 reps to failure
• Rest 2 seconds
• Set 7 you complete 2 reps
Make Your Dumbbell Hamstring Workout More Personal
All of the above movements make great Hamstring workouts at home, so there is little room for excuses. If you want help putting together a dumbbell Hamstring workout to suit you, Click this “Contact Me” link
We pay special attention to training Hamstrings in the BIG-UP Training System. If you train at home but lack the motivation and drive to push yourself, the BIG-UP Training System will put you in the right direction.