Generations of gym teachers and track coaches probably meant well when they had us put one foot over the other and touch our toes. Back then, someone thought it made sense to limber up before a run by pushing against a tree. Such stretch-and-hold moves are better than nothing, of course. But it takes more than some static stretching to loosen and strengthen your hamstrings—especially now that we spend most of our time sitting, thus shortening our hamstrings, tightening our glutes, and rendering our bodies more susceptible to injuries.

Thankfully, you can both stretch and strengthen your hamstrings at the same time—probably more effectively than any other muscle group, in fact.

How this workout works

This 30-minute dumbbell workout to build your hamstrings is designed as a circuit. We’ll work through four sets of these seven moves in a circuit fashion, resting only briefly between sets, to produce maximum results with minimal time and equipment.

Pete Williams is a NASM-certified personal trainer and the author or co-author of a number of books on performance and training.