Hamstring Building 101

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Anatomy of the Hamstrings

The hamstrings are made up of three muscles.  Those three muscles are the biceps femoris, semimembranosus, and the semitendinosus.

All three of these muscles originate on the pelvic bone under the glutes, and then insert on the tibia.

The bicep femoris, semimembranosus, and the semitendinosus are all used for flexing the knee as well as hip extension.  For those of you who aren’t familiar with that terminology, think of knee flexion as a leg curl—where you are taking your foot and moving it towards your glutes in one fluid motion.  An example of hip extension is where you are moving your leg to the rear.  You can think of the movement like a stiff-leg deadlift.

Different Parts of the Hamstrings

Biceps Femoris
The biceps femoris is a muscle that like its name says (bi-) has two heads.  There is a long as well as a short head to the muscle.

The long head of the muscle starts at the lower and inner impression of the tuberosity of the ischium on the back side.  For those who are not sure where that is located, think of it attaching to the back of the hip bone.  It then travels down and inserts on the lateral condyle of the tibia.

The short head of the muscle starts between the adductor magnus and the vastus lateralis and extends up as high as the insertion of the glute muscles.  The adductor magnus originates on the lower portion of the ischial tuberosity and is inserted onto the tubercle below the medial condyle on the tibia.  The adductor magnus is responsible for hip extension.


The semimembranosus is located at on the medial side on the back of the thigh.  The muscle originates on the hip, specifically the tuberosity of the ishium.  From there it travels down and inserts onto the medial condyle of the tibia.

The semitendinosus is located at the medial and posterior area of the thigh and originates from the same place as the semimembranosus (the tuberosity of the ishium found on the hip).  From there it travels down and inserts onto the upper part of the medial surface of the tibia.

Different Hamstring Exercises

  • Lying Leg Curls
  • Standing Leg Curls
  • Lying Bodyweight Flutter Kicks
  • Stability Ball Flutter Kicks
  • Barbell Stiff-Leg Deadlifts
  • Dumbbell Stiff-Leg Deadlifts
  • Dumbbell Lunges
  • Barbell Lunges
  • Smith Machine Stiff-Leg Deadlifts
  • Squats
  • Glute-Ham Raises
  • Barbell Good Mornings


Mass Building Hamstring Workouts

Here you will find numerous workouts that you can try in the gym. Give them a shot and see which works best for you. Remember, not all exercises or workouts will work for everyone, each person’s muscles respond differently to the stimulation of a workout; therefore, you will need to play with different exercises and different rep ranges.

Workout #1

Squats  3×8-12
Dumbbell Lunges  3×8-12
Smith Machine Stiff-Leg Deadlifts  3×8-12
Glute-Ham Raises  3×8-12

Workout #2

Lying Leg Curls  3×8-12
Barbell Lunges  3×8-12
Dumbbell Stiff-Leg Deadlifts  3×8-12
Barbell Good Mornings  3×8-12

Workout #3
Standing Leg Curls  3×8-12
Barbell Stiff-Leg Deadlift  3×8-12
Dumbbell Lunges  3×8-12
Stability Ball Flutter Kicks  3×8-12

Workout #4 
Squats  3×8-12
Barbell Stiff-Leg Deadlift  3×8-12
Glute-Ham Raise  3×8-12
Lying Bodyweight Flutter Kicks  3×8-12

Workout #5

Barbell Stiff-Leg Deadlift  3×8-12
Barbell Lunges  3×8-12
Lying Leg Curls  3×8-12
Glute-Ham Raises  3×8-12

Workout #6

Seated Leg Curls  3×8-12
Dumbbell Stiff-Leg Deadlift  3×8-12
Dumbbell Lunges  3×8-12
Barbell Good Mornings  3×8-12


When it comes down to it you want to focus on the mind-muscle connection. You should really feel each rep and feel the muscle working. If you don’t feel an exercise in your hamstrings, then you are probably doing it wrong or are using a weight that you can’t handle and are using more than just your hamstrings.

Most of all have fun with your workouts. If you aren’t having fun, then what’s the point? Utilize what you learned in this course and see where it takes you. Good luck and see you at graduation!