So I've had my ACL reconstructed using hamstring tendon graft. I have done physiotherapy course with a doctor which restored ROM and quads control. However apparently the initial injury itself has occurred due to weaker hamstring.

Now knowing that information I realized I have good control (isolated flexion in any position) of quads and many other muscles but not hamstring.

My question which exercises I can do (preferably bodyweight or with common gym equipment) that would first strengthen hamstring and second help me to gain control over it to same extent that I hade with other muscles (if that's even possible)

PS: I've been told by PT to do stationary (for now) biking. However I can see that only quads are getting most of the work done. And not hamstrings.

5 Answers 5


I would tend to agree with the advice given by your PT to concentrate on stationary bike. While it does primarily work the quads, you do get some hamstring work. However, if you feel that you can safely perform body weight movements, you should consider using a resistance band. Using one will allow you to perform Lying Hamstring Curls. Additionally, if you have access to a stability ball, you can perform Stability Ball Leg Curls.

Using resistance bands and/or a stability ball should provide you with the ability to perform isolation movements at home. I would suggest you check with the PT to make sure you should be doing additional work on your own.


Lying Hamstring Curls can be performed by securing a resistance band to the bottom of a door or similar stationary object. Then, attach the band to the ankles, lay flat on the floor at a distance away from the door that provides sufficient band resistance. Then, perform a leg curl.

Stability Ball Curls are performed by placing the heels of your feet on top of a stability ball and drawing them towards the glutes while extending the hips upward.

  • That's a great answer. I didn't think about resistance bands at all! I would suggest adding details on exercise right into the answer in case that link will be invalid some day. Mar 28, 2017 at 11:00

There's a lot of weight training movements that can improve hamstring strength. I think a great one to get your legs back into condition collectively would be barbell squats and leg presses. Proper form is KEY if you want to activate your hamstrings. Make sure you keep all your weight in your heels and off your toes.

  • Please see other similar answers comments. 1 - those are not isolation exercises, those involve whole group. 2 - not cleared by the doc for weight lifting yet (only my own weight). Mar 27, 2017 at 9:25
  • That's a tough one. Can you use any light dumbells? Stiff-leg dead lifts(Romanian Deadlifts ) are great for strengthening hamstrings but aren't a complete isolated movement. You need a little bit of weight to perform these too. Have you tried Lunges with just body weight? I know its not isolated either but it would be great for the PT aspect.
    – NicoLA
    Mar 27, 2017 at 16:45

Straight legged deadlifts work REALLY well for me and my gym partner. We usually do them after squats as a complete leg routine.


  • I afraid that is not isolated exercise. The main muscle is hamstring. But this exercise uses large group of muscles. The question is about isolated exercise. Mar 27, 2017 at 9:18
  • @AlexKey I can't think of a decent exercise that only hits hamstrings. Maybe hamstring curl machine?
    – Marty
    Mar 27, 2017 at 9:20
  • yes. I think of this one but seems this machine is very uncommon, at least in my location :( thus thinking if any another specific exercise could be used. Now I am simply doing knee bends from lying down position, which seems to be not enough to get a full control. Mar 27, 2017 at 9:28

A great body weight exercise to strengthen your hamstrings are hyperextensions.

As you get stronger you can get weights and hold them against your chest or wear a weighted vest.

If you're physically capable of performing barbell exercises, then I would work on good mornings or stiff legged deadlifts. Then you can incorporate barbell squats and full deadlifts.


There are two bodyweight execises popping up in my head:


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