Build your backside. No barbells or plates required. Check out this challenging bodyweight exercise.
Gliding hamstring curls are more than just hamstring builders. This bodyweight exercise lights up your hamstrings, glutes, back, biceps, and everything in between.
Set some suspension straps (on Amazon) or gymnastic rings (on Amazon) off the floor around hip height. When you lay down and grip the handles, your shoulders should be clear off the floor. Next, drag over a bench or a box about a body length away from the handles. The height of the box must be about the same as your grip on the suspension handles. If the box is too low, you’ll reduce the effectiveness of the exercise, while a box higher than the handles will further increase its intensity.
Grab the handles, dig your heels into the box, drive your hips up, and then glide your butt towards the box. If your hamstrings are deconditioned, don’t be surprised if they cramp up. You’ve been warned!
Use this basic setup if you’re only looking to blast your hamstrings, then progress to the single-keg variation.
Once you can hit 12 reps with the basic version, try this. It’s a good way to make your hamstrings feel like they’ve been savagely beaten for days afterward.
A good indicator is whether you can pull your butt towards your heels while maintaining the same degree of hip extension. If your hips are dropping as your hamstrings fully flex, you’re not allowing your hamstrings to be loaded in their fully shortened position. Go back to the basic setup and build some foundation.
Ready for more? Add an isometric row to step it up a level and hit your entire posterior chain. Using the same setup as before, perform an inverted row and hold at the top. Pull your shoulders back and flex your biceps hard. Then pull your butt towards your heels. That’s one rep.
Although the row changes the angle of pull for the hamstrings, theoretically making it easier, due to the co-contraction of pretty much everything on your backside, the row makes it much harder. As part of a full-body workout, you’ll get a lot of bang for your buck with this one.
Up for a challenge? Try going one leg at a time combined with an isometric row. This is challenging even for the most advanced athletes, but if you can do 12 reps with good form, add a weighted vest!
To work your hamstrings harder, increase the height of the box relative to the suspension handles or rings. By doing this, you’ll somewhat be pulling yourself more vertically. However, if combining this with a row, consider how the height of the box will change the angle for your back. The simplest way to increase the intensity is to maintain the same setup but use a weighted vest (on Amazon) as your strength increases.
If you don’t have access to suspension straps, these can be done in a Smith machine with your hands on the bar. They have a slightly different feel, but they’re still effective.
Start with the two-legged versions, with or without the row. Remember, once you can do 12 good reps, try the single-leg versions. Once you hit 12 reps with these, add extra weight. Do 3 sets of 6-12 reps.
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