I've recently realised that I have very tight hamstrings - when lying flat on the ground, I can only lift each leg around 75 degrees off the floor when doing this:

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Though I'm keeping my legs straight, maybe I should bend them slightly?

My goal is to get past 90 degrees, but I don't want to compromise strength or explosive power, particularly for jumps and sprints. Given this, my reading says to do an exercise that reaches peak extension of the hamstring whilst subjecting the muscle to a substantial force.

I'm home-gymming with a very basic setup at the moment, so the less equipment required, the better. What exercise(s) should I do? I've tried the exercise shown above with rubber cords and some gradual movement, though my arms don't provide enough resistive force for my hamstrings.

3 Answers 3


The Romanian deadlift is basically the definition of what you're looking for: loading the hamstrings (and glutes, and spinal erectors) anywhere from lightly to substantially but sub-maximally.


Instead of doing the exercise with a band I would recommend having your hands on the back of the leg that you are extending. This gives more support.

I would recommend focusing more on straightening the leg as you pull it towards you and only once the leg is straight to keep pulling it closer maintaining the straightness of the leg.

You should try and do this 3 times across the day if you're hamstrings are really tight.

For strength as someone else has mentioned Romanian deadlifts, deadlifts and good mornings are good, but they can often add to the tightness as well.


The best thing I can think of not requiring too much equipment is a glute ham raise (GHR). It's the exercise that provides the most hamstring activation, well beyond even RDLs and hamstring curls. A GHR bench is probably the best way to do them but it is very easy to rig your own homegym GHR bench with very little: see this post for an example.

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