Dumbbell Hamstring Exercises

Dumbbells are classified as free weights, being that they are fre” to move in directions. When it comes to the hamstrings, specific machines are designed to work them from a seated or standing position. If you want to add some variation to your routine, you can choose multiple dumbbell exercises.


Lunges work the hamstrings, quads and butt simultaneously. Hold the dumbbells at your sides, and take a step forward with your right foot. Once your foot contacts the ground, lower your body by bending your knees. When your right thigh parallels the floor and your left knee is 1 inch above the floor, stand up and bring your feet together. Repeat with your left leg leading, and continue alternating for a set of repetitions.

Stiff-Leg Deadlift

Stiff-leg deadlifts emphasize your hamstrings and lower-back muscles. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, and hold the weights in front of your thighs, with your palms facing you. After tightening your core, bend forward and let the weights move toward the floor. Once you feel a strong contraction in your hamstrings, bend back up and repeat.

Lying Leg Curl

Lying leg curls isolate the hamstrings with the help of a decline bench. After placing a dumbbell on the floor near the bottom of the bench, kneel on the bench, and pinch your feet around the underside of one weighted end of a dumbbell. Carefully lean forward, flatten your body on the bench, and grab the edges above your head for support. Bend your knees and hoist the dumbbell with your feet until it is above your butt. Lower it toward the ground by lowering your feet. When your knees are just short of locking out, lift the dumbbell back up. Continue lowering and raising the dumbbell in a slow and controlled motion.

Jump Squat

Jump squats are explosive exercises that work your hamstrings. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, and hold dumbbells at your sides, with your palms facing in. After lowering yourself into a squat, jump and tuck your knees into your chest. As you land, go right back into another squat and repeat for a full set.

About this Author

Kevin Rail has worked in the fitness industry since 2001 and has been writing since 2004. He has professional experience as a certified personal trainer, wellness coach, motivational engineer and freelance fitness writer. He currently writes a monthly column for Ron Jones High-Performance Health. Rail has a bachelor’s degree in sports management: fitness and wellness from California University of Pennsylvania.