You want bigger and stronger hamstrings but only have 10 minutes and a kettlebell available? Here’s a workout you can do in ten minutes that trains all the muscles in the hamstrings and will make them bigger and stronger.
A 10 minute hamstring kettlebell workout is enough for beginners and intermediate exercisers to make their butt bigger and rounder. As long as the exercise is kept challenging with enough resistance, sets and repetitions, you can use it for growth for a long time.
Below you can find an example workout that targets all the muscles in the hamstrings and can be done in 10 minutes.
Kettlebell Hamstring Workout
Here is an example for a hamstring workout that takes 10 minutes. It’s good for beginners or a quick touch up workout for a little more advanced exercisers. Mind you, it’s not easy. You do one set of each of the three exercises after each other and only rest after that. This is tough but good for muscle growth, endurance and to save time.
|KB Swings||4×20 seconds||80|
|Rest||20 seconds rest between sets||80|
|Rest||45s after both sets||90|
You might notice the word ‘superset’ in the chart above. This means you do one set of each of the different exercises in the superset (two sets in total) before resting. For clarity, you do one set of good mornings and then a set of walking lunges without resting in between. Then rest after finishing both sets. After resting, repeat two more times.
3×12 means 3 sets of 12 repetitions. Repetitions are the amount of times you do the movement. Sets are an amount of repetitions you do without rest in between.
The rest period starts immediately after you put down the weight and stops when you have to do the first rep of the next set. That means grabbing the kettlebell and getting into position for the next set is done within the rest period. Set a timer for the rest period and stick to it.
Don’t have a kettlebell? Find out here how to strengthen your hamstrings without equipment.
Kettlebell Hamstrings Exercises
You can see three different exercises in the workout above;
- Kettlebell Swing
- Kettlebell Good Morning
- Kettlebell Walking Lunges
You can find explanations of the exercises in the videos below. You can also find descriptions in this article (click). 10 minutes is not a long time and there are quite a few different muscles in the hamstrings. That’s why the exercises chosen target as much of the different muscles at the same time. That means the movements can be a bit more complicated than you’re used to.
Suggested: Is training hamstrings every day OK?
The kettlebell swing is a great full body exercise the strengthens the whole posterior chain. (Basically all the muscle on the back of the body) It’s great for warming up the whole body which is always a good way to start a workout. But it’s also great for hamstrings because the hips and knees are the main mover in this movement. The glutes and hamstrings are what drives the movement and you do take them through a good range of motion. In addition, you also work the back and core. You can also do KB swings for high repetitions which is great for muscle growth.
Click here to find a post that outlines the best kettlebell back exercises
The kettlebell good morning is a bit different. It really isolates the glutes and hamstrings. The deadlift if another good option but does generally require a lot more weight than the average kettlebell. Also, the deadlift is a full body exercise with a focus on the glutes and hamstrings. However, the swing does a lot of the same things. So for that reason, the good morning is the way to go so you can really focus on the hamstrings.
The last exercise is the walking lunge. These focus more on overall leg development but if done stepping out to the side at a 30 degree angle, you focus more on loading the hamstrings at different angles. That means you’ll move in a zig-zag pattern. And while it’s more a whole leg developer, you can focus it towards the hamstrings and glutes by really pushing through the heels.
Programming And Progression
How often should you do this and how can you progress? Progression is very important, it allows you to continuously overload your muscles the right amount so you keep getting bigger and stronger.
If you want to see growth of a muscle, try to work it out at least twice a week. Three or four times a week is also a possibility for extra growth but might start cutting into the training time for other body parts.
Suggested: How to optimize your kettlebell workouts
Especially when starting out, getting the right weight is important. You should use a weight that is just heavy enough so you can finish all the reps and sets in the workout. Yes, that will take a bit to figure out how heavy that is exactly. The first time, use a weight you think is two steps lighter than you can do. If that is easy, next workout, take the next step up. Do this until you run into a weight that is challenging.
Don’t worry about starting a bit lighter. Especially when working out for the first time, starting light is not a bad thing. Just get used to the movements and working out and build a solid base. Starting too heavy means you probably won’t do the exercise the right way and you learn it the wrong way from the beginning. You’ll likely also get very sore and skip the next workout. Starting slow is going to lead to more consistency down the line and consistency is they key. Big muscles aren’t grown from one workout session.
A big part of getting bigger and stronger is slightly increasing the load over time. Just enough so it stays a challenge for your body but you can still properly finish the workout. If you’ve successfully finished the workout twice with the same weight, see if you can move up one weight the next workout.
Kettlebells usually go up in at least 1 kg increments which is quite a big increase for some smaller muscles but for the hamstrings it’s very doable. If you can’t handle the weight increases, reduce the weight and increase the amount of repetitions per set or even add a set per exercise. That will focus the workout more on size rather than strength but in the long run you’ll get stronger as well.
Training Volume and rest periods
However, if increasing the weight isn’t so easy anymore, there are other buttons you can turn. Those buttons are amount of reps and sets and the rest periods in between. However, all these things will lengthen your workout so if the 10 minutes is a hard limit for you, this gets difficult. However, if a 2-3 minutes more, this is a good option.
First, lengthen your rest periods by 30 seconds each. That allows your muscles more time for recovery and thus more force production. This does skew the workout a bit more towards strength instead of size but it’ll be a very minor change.
When increasing the rest periods is not enough, don’t keep increasing it. Go back to the shorter rest periods AND the lower weight. But, increase the amount of repetitions per set up to 15. Adding an extra set is also an option or both.
More total repetitions at a lighter weight tends to be better for muscle growth but not as good for strength increases and vice versa. However, switching up training methods towards one side can help you break a plateau on the other side as well. Strength and muscle size aren’t completely correlated but bigger muscles don’t hurt when you want to be stronger.
How Quickly Can You See Results From This Workout?
Let’s say you do this workout two or three times a week, how quickly can you start seeing results? It depends on if you’ve already been training hamstrings or not. Complete beginners will see good results within a few (3-4) weeks.
If you’ve already been training the hamstrings, it depends. In case you’ve been training them consistently and recently, you’ll have a similar progression as before, maybe a bit faster if the workout above is better than what you’re doing now. Still in 4-6 weeks you should see some results.
People that have trained their legs a while ago and had bigger hamstrings but not at the moment will see pretty good results quite quickly. Muscle memory is an interesting thing that allows you to get back to strength and size that you had before much quicker than someone that never had it before.
Of course all these are just guesstimates and they can differ depend on your specific situation, current training level, your diet, recovery and genetics. Getting the resistance, sets and reps right is also very important.