Working out more can be helpful but there are many ways to do this. Find out how to do hamstring walkouts and what benefits they can offer you.
The hamstring walkout is an exercise where you start in a bridge position.
After that, you take small steps forward until your butt is just above the ground and back. Throughout the movement, you keep your body straight from your shoulders to your knees.
As you can expect from the name, the main goal of the hamstring walkout is strengthening the hamstring muscles (back thighs).
Additionally, you work your glutes (butt) and erector spinae (lower back) to some extent.
That being said, hamstring walkouts work all of these muscles in an isometric (static) way.
This is generally less effective than more dynamic exercises like leg curls to grow and strengthen your hamstring muscles.
How to do a hamstring walkout
To do hamstring walkouts, you preferably have a yoga mat or something similar to make the movement more comfortable for your shoulders.
Once you have that, take the following steps to do the exercise:
- Lie down on your back and put your feet flat on the ground. Your feet should be about shoulder-width apart and at a distance where your lower legs are more or less vertical in the next step. You can keep your arms by your sides for balance.
- Raise your hips in a controlled motion until you are in a straight line from your knees to your shoulders. Your arms are on the ground for balance, not for pushing yourself up.
- Take small steps forward with your lower legs as far as comfortable or until right before your hips touch the ground. Keep your body in a straight line from your knees to your shoulders.
- Take small steps back to return to the position in step 2.
The main technique attention point in hamstring walkouts is keeping your hips high enough but not too high.
Hamstring walkout variations
Hamstring walkouts with just your body weight are the standard version of the exercise. You can also consider doing one of the easier or harder variations.
Some people are not ready for full hamstring walkouts (yet). If that is you, you can consider only stepping forward for a small distance or just holding a regular bridge.
These variations will work the same muscles but in a less challenging way.
On the flip side, it is definitely possible that bodyweight hamstring walkouts are too easy.
To make the movement challenging enough for muscle growth, strength progress, or endurance gains, you can make it harder.
The main way to do this is by holding some type of weight on your hips. A few examples of things you can use include dumbbells, kettlebells, weight plates, grocery bags, a heavy backpack, a workout sandbag, etc
Muscles worked with hamstring walkouts
Hamstring walkouts mainly work your hamstrings, glutes, erector spinae, and lower back muscles.
To grow and strengthen muscles like your hamstrings you need to work them with enough weight, repetitions, and sets.
This damages the muscles in the short term which may sound bad. However, this starts a variety of processes that can repair the muscles and make them stronger.
One potential downside of the hamstring workout is that it works your muscles in a relatively isometric (static) way. More dynamic resistance training exercises tend to be more effective for growing and strengthening muscles.
Something else to note is that even if you are able to grow and strengthen muscles with hamstring walkouts initially, you will have to increase the challenge over time to keep seeing progress.
Additionally, you need to give the muscles you worked enough time to repair and strengthen.
If you really like doing them, you can do hamstring walkouts with the weight, repetitions, and sets required to see progress.
If not, other exercises can be more effective for growing and strengthening your muscles.
Hamstring walkout benefits
Even though they are not the number one exercise in terms of effectiveness, doing hamstring walkouts can still offer valuable benefits. Some of these include:
- Stronger muscles: Hamstring walkouts are a resistance training exercise that can help you grow and strengthen muscles like your hamstrings, glutes, erector spinae, and lower back muscles.
- Can help with losing weight: Because they help you use up more energy than usual, you can say the hamstring walkouts can help you with losing weight. Keep in mind that other changes may be needed too.
- Improves mood: Exercise can positively influence your mood in a variety of ways. This applies to hamstring walkouts too.
- Better balance & coordination: You can improve your balance and coordination by doing movements that are challenging in these areas. Hamstring walkouts are not the hardest in these areas but do help to some extent.
- No equipment or location required: One of the benefits of hamstring walkouts is that they don’t require a budget or specific location. Physical limits aside, most people can do this exercise.
- Improves sleep: The quality and duration of your sleep depend on many factors. Doing exercises like hamstring walkouts can improve these aspects.
Hamstring walkouts are not unique in these benefits but they do make it clear that even adding only one activity to your routine can offer many positive effects.
Something to note is that almost all types of exercise involve some type of injury risk.
In the case of hamstring walkouts, the movement can potentially be a bit challenging on areas like your back, hips, knees, and ankles.
In theory, you may have to do other strengthening exercises first if you are sensitive in these areas.
Additionally, if you feel any pain while doing hamstring walkouts, it may be a sign that you need more rest, better lifestyle habits, or a less intense workout schedule.
This could also be a sign that hamstring walkouts are not for you (yet).
That being said, hamstring walkouts are a relatively safe exercise.
Hamstring walkout alternatives
Hamstring walkouts can offer benefits but there are other exercise options too. These alternatives could offer more positive effects in a shorter amount of time:
- Hamstring curls
- Good mornings
- Nordic leg curls
- Romanian deadlifts
Whether you should choose these alternatives instead and which ones depend on details like your training goals, the state of your body, what equipment you have, personal preferences, etc.
Many people will benefit from doing more hamstring walkouts. It is possible that you need to add resistance to see any muscle growth or strength gains.
At the same time, it is worth noting that more dynamic resistance training exercises will typically offer more results in a shorter amount of time.
Something else to keep in mind is that you need to stay consistent with a workout plan to see the benefits.
People who really like the hamstring walkout can consider implementing this exercise anyway. Having workouts find fun can improve consistency.
If you don’t necessarily love hamstring walkouts, some of the alternatives mentioned can be more effective.
People who decide to implement more hamstring walkouts (or other resistance training exercises) want to make sure they give their bodies enough nutrients, rest, and sleep to repair and grow their muscles.