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Ah, hamstrings: the middle-child of muscles. While they might not be the sexiest parts of our bodies, the hamstrings are undoubtedly useful in both sports and everyday activities (like sitting, walking and running after the dog). To tell us more about the importance of working this oft-ignored muscle group, we checked in with LA-based celebrity trainer Danny Saltos (who has been crushing the virtual workout game on Instagram recently).

Ready to give your hamstrings some TLC?

Pick three of your favorite exercises from the list below and complete three rounds using the recommended rep amount for each move. Oh, and don’t forget to stretch afterward. To start, try cycling through the three starred exercises our resident trainer Danny loves the most (good mornings, single leg RDLs and stability ball hamstring curls). The best part? These can all be done from the comfort of your living room with only a few pieces of equipment, including one lightweight set of dumbbells and a stability ball.

RELATED: Cardio at Home: 12 Exercises You Can Do in Your Living Room

hamstring exercises at home good mornings1
Digital Art by Sofia Kraushaar

1. Good Mornings

*This is a great way to warm up your hamstrings. For an added challenge, grab two dumbbells and rest them on the backs of your shoulders behind your head.

Step 1: Stand with your feet hip-width apart and place your hands behind your head with your elbows open wide.

Step 2: Keeping your knees slightly bent, hinge forward at the hips until your chest is almost parallel to the floor. Press your hips back while keeping your spine neutral and abs engaged.

Step 3: Squeeze your hamstrings and glutes to push your hips forward and rise up, returning to the starting position. This is one rep.

Step 4: Complete 10 reps. Rest and repeat.

hamstring exercises at home romanian deadlifts1
Digital Art by Sofia Kraushaar

2. Romanian Deadlifts

Step 1: Stand with your feet hip-width apart, holding one dumbbell in each hand. Position the dumbbells in front of your thighs, palms facing your body.

Step 2: Keeping your knees slightly bent, press your hips back as you hinge forward at the waist and lower the weights to about mid-shin height.

Step 3: Squeeze your hamstrings and glutes to push your hips forward and rise up, returning to the starting position. This is one rep.

Step 4: Complete 10 reps. Rest and repeat.

hamstring exercises at home single leg RDLs1
Digital Art by Sofia Kraushaar

3. Single Leg RDLs (Romanian Deadlifts)

Step 1: Stand with your feet hip-width apart, holding one dumbbell in each hand.

Step 2: Keeping your right knee slightly bent, send your left leg back and up while hinging forward at the waist, lowering the weights to about mid-shin height.

Step 3: Squeeze your right hamstring and glute to lift your chest and lower your left leg, returning to the starting position. This is one rep.

Step 4: Complete 10 reps on each side. Rest and repeat.

hamstring exercises at home single leg glute bridge1
Digital Art by Sofia Kraushaar

4. Single Leg Glute Bridge

Step 1: Lie on your back with your arms out to your sides, palms facing down. Bend your knees until your feet are flat on the floor, about hip-width apart.

Step 2: Keeping your thighs aligned, straighten your left leg so that your toes are pointed up. Squeeze your glutes and hamstrings to lift your hips up evenly off the floor. Engage your arms to push away from the ground to help lift your lower half as high as possible.

Step 3: Lower back down to the ground to return to the starting position, keeping your left leg lifted. This is one rep.

Step 4: Complete 10 reps on each side. Rest and repeat.

hamstring exercises at home glute bridge march 2
Digital Art by Sofia Kraushaar

5. Glute Bridge March

Step 1: Lie on your back with your arms out to your sides, palms facing down. Bend your knees until your feet are flat on the floor, about hip-width apart.

Step 2: Squeeze your glutes and hamstrings to lift your hips off the ground until your body forms a straight line from your shoulders to your knees. Engaging your core, lift your right leg up off the ground and straighten, keeping your thighs aligned.

Step 3: Lower your right leg and repeat on the other side while keeping your hips lifted as high as you can. This is one rep.

Step 4: Complete 10 reps. Rest and repeat.

hamstring exercises at home dumbell donkey kick
Digital Art by Sofia Kraushaar

6. Dumbbell Donkey Kicks

Step 1: Begin on all fours with your hands and knees shoulder-width apart. Place one lightweight dumbbell in the crease of the back of your right knee until it’s securely positioned.

Step 2: Keeping your knee bent at a 90-degree angle, lift your right leg up and back as high as you can with your right foot kicking up toward the ceiling. Engage your core to keep your back from arching.

Step 3: Lower the leg by reversing the movement to return to the starting position. This is one rep.

Step 4: Complete 10 reps on each side. Rest and repeat.

hamstring exercises at home GHRs1
Digital Art by Sofia Kraushaar

7. GHRs (Glute-Ham Raises)

*GHRs are usually done on a machine, but you can reap the same strengthening benefits by pairing up with a partner who’s willing to hold your sweaty ankles. If your workout buddy is otherwise preoccupied, don’t fret. You can also do this exercise alone by wedging your toes firmly under a couch or coffee table. Have a heavy barbell lying around? You can tuck your ankles behind that, too.

Step 1: Begin on your knees with your arms crossed in front of your chest while your partner firmly presses down on the backs of your ankles.

Step 2: Slowly hinge forward at your knees, keeping your head, chest and thighs aligned. Squeezing your glutes and hamstrings, continue hinging forward until you feel like you’re about to fall. When you get to that point, uncross your arms and catch yourself in a push-up position on the floor.

Step 3: From here, push off through your arms and engage your hamstrings and glutes to pull yourself back up to the starting position. This is one rep.

Step 4: Complete 10 reps. Rest and repeat.

hamstring exercises at home stability ball hamstring curl 2
Digital Art by Sofia Kraushaar

8. Stability Ball Hamstring Curls

*Don’t have a stability ball? No problem. That big red bouncy ball your kids never play with could also work.

Step 1: Lie on your back with your arms out to your sides, palms facing down. Bend your knees and place your feet up on the stability ball about hip-width apart.

Step 2: Squeeze your glutes and hamstrings to lift your hips off the ground until your body forms a straight line from your shoulders to your knees. Engaging your core, extend your legs straight out, rolling the ball away from you.

Step 3: Bend your knees to roll the ball back in, all while keeping your hips lifted as high as you can. Lower your hips back down to the ground. This is one rep.

Step 4: Complete 10 reps. Rest and repeat.

What are the benefits of hamstring exercises?

“We often prioritize muscles in the front of our body, like the quads, chest, biceps and abs,” Saltos explains. “But we can easily overlook the backside or posterior plane, like the glutes, the triceps and (you guessed it) the hamstrings.” But who cares about the backs of my thighs, no one really sees them, you might think. Not so fast. Your body is one big beautiful interconnected structure made up of bones, muscles, tendons and ligaments. Working all parts of the body will not only help you look your best; you'll feel your best, too. “Everyone should train hamstrings to maintain proper muscular balance,” he says. “If your quads are disproportionally stronger than your hamstrings, this could lead to injury, postural issues and improper body mechanics,” resulting in a bothersome back or debilitating knee pain. Your hamstrings work in tandem with your quads; they’re the pull to the push. Significant weakness in either part can result in an imbalance, ultimately leading to muscle pulls, tears or strains, as shown in this study conducted by the Journal of Physical Therapy Science. “Training your hamstrings will ensure proper posture and reduced risk of injury.”

What are the hamstring functionalities in everyday life?

Aside from being the ying to your quadriceps’ yang, hamstrings play a part in a number of other daily activities. We’re talking pretty much all of them: “Hamstrings are responsible for hip and knee stability, as well as hip positioning and stabilization,” Saltos explains. “In layman’s terms, the hamstrings are responsible for bending the knee and making sure our hips are stable and centered when we walk, run, sit, stand and even bend down to pick something up.” So every time you squat down to retrieve something—whether it’s a bag of groceries or your toddler—you can thank your hammies.

How often should we incorporate hamstring exercises into our fitness routine?

Lucky for you, hamstrings are a low-maintenance muscle group and a little goes a long way. “I would limit training hamstrings to no more than two times per week,” Saltos says. “Otherwise, we have an increased risk of overtraining and injury.” Roger that, coach.

RELATED: The 15 Best Core Workouts You Can Do at Home, No Equipment Necessary

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