How To Do Hamstring Walkouts Properly

If you are keen on working your hamstrings, then there’s no doubt you’ve already added hamstring walkouts to your routine.

If you have yet to, this article will most certainly give you reason to check it out but first things first, let’s talk about how to do it properly.

What you need: Yoga mat (optional)

Steps to follow:

  • Lie on your back on the ground.
  • Position your feet slightly wider than shoulder-width, making sure your lower legs are vertical in readiness for the next step. You can choose to hold weights at hip level or put your arms by your sides for extra balance. This is your starting position.
  • Tighten your core and then move your hips up in a slow and controlled motion until your entire body is in a straight line, from your shoulders to your knees.
  • Take a few small steps forward with your lower legs, going only as far as you find comfortable or until your hips are almost touching the ground.
  • Then, take some steps back to return to the starting position.

WHAT MUSCLES DO HAMSTRING WALKOUTS WORK?

Hamstring walkouts are designed to strengthen the three muscles in the hamstring group; the semimembranosus, semitendinosus and biceps femoris.

It also uses your glute muscles to activate your hips as you walk your legs out and back in.

Your erector spinae and lower back muscles get a bit of the heat too as you use them to stabilize your body and keep it in a straight line.

HAMSTRING WALKOUTS BENEFITS

STRONGER HAMSTRINGS

Hamstring walkouts use resistance training to strengthen your hamstring muscles by forcing them to work extra hard to fully activate their muscle fibers for maximum lengthening.

IMPROVE BALANCE AND COORDINATION

This movement can help improve your overall balance and coordination since it requires that your body remains in a straight line from your shoulders to the knees.

NO EQUIPMENT REQUIRED

The only thing you might need for hamstring walkouts is a yoga mat.

But even this is optional; it might provide extra comfort to your shoulders but that’s just about it.

There’s nothing in particular you’ll miss out on if you don’t use it.

CAN BE MODIFIED

You can make the basic version of hamstring walkouts more challenging by holding weight (e.g. weight plates, kettlebells or dumbbells) on your hips to increase the resistance.

Increasing resistance to your exercises can speed up your progress to get you your desired results sooner than you expected.

ALTERNATIVES TO HAMSTRING WALKOUTS

GOOD MORNINGS

Good mornings are meant to work your hamstrings and core, but you use your hamstrings to execute it.

To do them, you need extra resistance in form of a barbell or plated weights.

How to do it:

  • Your starting position should be directly under a barbell rack. This will enable you to transfer the weight from the bar to your body.
  • Tighten your core.
  • Take the barbell from the rack and onto your shoulders.
  • Bend down to bring your stomach parallel to the floor, before raising your upper body to a standing position.

If you are using a weight that is heavy, you can use an explosive move to get your body into the standing position.

Explosive movements help speed up acceleration and increase power output, which reduces risk of injury and trains your body to adapt to different weights and speeds.

If the weight you are using is relatively light, it is better to raise your body slowly. This is to make sure your target muscles are under maximum tension for a proper workout.

DONKEY KICKS

The donkey kick is an easy bodyweight exercise that will also work your core and hamstrings.

It requires no equipment just like hamstring workouts, meaning you can do it anywhere, any time.

Steps:

  • Get on all fours (tabletop position) on the floor.
  • Tighten your core and keep your back straight. Your neck shoulder should remain in a neutral position such that you are looking straight ahead and not up or at the floor.
  • Lift the right leg up towards the ceiling. Remember that this is a kick and not a slow raise, so you should do it with force.
  • This move basically works your hamstrings and core, but if you want to get the most out of it, you can turn it into the Superman movement. This way, you’ll be working your arms as well. So, when you are kicking your right leg, your left arm pushes forward until it is fully extended.
  • You can also hold weights (such as dumbbells) in your hands for extra resistance. This will work your arms as well as your core which will then have to work harder to stabilize your body.

Another different variation for the donkey kick is to do it with your hands raised. This will force you to kick harder since you will be focusing more tension on your core.

HAMSTRING WALKOUTS MISTAKES TO AVOID

USING YOUR ARMS TO PUSH YOURSELF UP

When you place your arms by your sides at the starting position, you should only be using them for balance; not to push yourself up.

NOT BRACING YOUR CORE

Bracing your core will help keep your body stable when you get into the bridge position, which requires ultimate stability so you don’t fall back to the floor.

TO SUM UP

There are many benefits you stand to gain from doing hamstring walkouts, as you’ve already read in this article.

In addition to its physical benefits, this exercise is easy to do, requires no equipment and you can always make it more challenging to make your gains come faster.

However, you need to keep in mind that hamstring walkouts can be particularly hard on your ankles, knees, hips and back.

So, if you are weak in these areas, it’d be better if you could do a few strengthening exercises first before you move to the hamstring walkout.

For other people who can comfortably perform this movement, maintain the correct technique and stay consistent for the best results.