13 Best Kettlebell Hamstring Exercises | Bulletproof Your Posterior Chain Muscles

Uncover the best hamstring exercises with kettlebells to build insane posterior chain strength. Reduce the chance of injuries and build symmetrical lower body muscles.

Your posterior chain plays a crucial role in injury reduction and controlled movement. That’s why picking only the best kettlebell hamstring exercises is crucial. However, injury reduction, or as some more optimistic people would call it, injury prevention, isn’t the only reason to perform hamstring exercises.

Posterior chain exercises are crucial for holistic strength and hypertrophy development, as well as improving athletic performance. I hand-picked only the best hamstring exercises with kettlebells so you can get the most out of your posterior chain training sessions.

13 Best Kettlebell Hamstring Exercises for Insane Posterior Chain Strength

Here are the 13 best exercises to perform with a kettlebell with the sole aim of strengthening your posterior chain muscles.

1 – Bilateral Kettlebell Deadlift

A bilateral kettlebell deadlift is one of the best exercises if you are planning to target your hamstrings. In addition to that, this is an excellent exercise if you intend to put a lot of tension and stretch in your hamstrings.

How to Perform a Bilateral Kettlebell Deadlift

  1. Push your hips back and hinge forward until your torso is almost parallel with the ground.
  2. Take a kettlebell and focus on pushing the floor with your foot by extending your hips.
  3. Once you do that, simultaneously engage both glutes and hamstrings for the maximal benefit.

Pro Tip: An important note, when you are performing this movement, is that you are not in a squat but in a hinge.

2 – Single-Leg Kettlebell Deadlift

A single-leg kettlebell deadlift is commonly referred to as a unilateral Romanian deadlift, an extremely hip-dominant exercise that works your glutes and hamstrings. All fitness levels should use a single-leg kettlebell deadlift to make a stable foundation for your kettlebell routine.

How to Perform a Single-Leg Kettlebell Deadlift

  1. You can start with the kettlebell on the ground and hinge yourself down.
  2. Pick up the kettlebell with an overhead grip.
  3. Go back to the starting position, and then go back and get the kettlebell back on the floor.
  4. Repeat for the desired amount of reps.

Pro Tip: It is very common that you are going to have some asymmetries between the two sides so you need to strengthen the weaker side by doing more repetition on that side.

3 – Kettlebell Swings

Kettlebell swings are a full-body explosive and dynamic exercise that puts most emphasis on your hamstrings, core, and glutes. This is a functional fitness movement that builds muscle and power, as well as cardiovascular endurance and health.

How to Perform Kettlebell Swings

  1. Stand with your feet shoulder-width and grab a kettlebell with both hands.
  2. Push your hips back and bend your knees slightly to put a kettlebell between your legs.
  3. Contract your glutes and push your hips forward to get into a standing position.
  4. Lower the bell between your legs by pushing your hips back.
  5. Repeat for the desired amount of reps.

Pro Tip: The most important thing to remember is that you should not use your quads to squat and your arms to lift the weight in front of you when performing kettlebell swings. Focus on a rapid hip extension instead.

4 – Kettlebell Glute Bridges

Kettlebell glute bridges is a hip extension strengthening movement that uses a kettlebell to target your glutes, hamstrings, and core. Performing this exercise can help you with your hip stability and strength.

How to Perform Kettlebell Glute Bridges

  1. Lay on your back and put a kettlebell on your hip.
  2. Focus on pushing the kettlebell up so your glutes contract.
  3. When you are at your peak, hold for 2-3 seconds.
  4. Slowly lower the pelvis back on the floor.

Pro Tip: Try to focus on squeezing your glutes in the highest position. This will maximize glute and hamstring development.

5 – Kettlebell Single-Leg Glute Bridge

Bridge exercises are commonly used to strengthen your posterior chain muscles, especially if you have some lower back pain.

How to Perform a Kettlebell Single-Leg Glute Bridge

  1. You can start to perform this exercise by lying on the ground with one of the knees and the other leg extended.
  2. Furthermore, you need to push with your leg on the ground and keep your core muscles engaged.
  3. Raise your pelvis and try to make a straight line with tights.

Pro Tip: Nonetheless, a kettlebell single-leg glute bridge is great for strengthening your hip muscles, which can help with relieving lower back pain.

6 – Kettlebell Good Morning

The kettlebell good morning is an essential exercise that is great for targeting your lower back, glutes, and hamstrings. You hinge your hips while holding a kettlebell, mimicking a posture of bowing, which is how the exercise got its name.

How to Perform a Kettlebell Good Morning

  1. Take a kettlebell in your hands and rest it behind your neck.
  2. Engage your core while keeping straight back.
  3. Hinge your hips forward and then allow your torso to lean in front.
  4. Keep a straight posture.

Pro Tip: Make sure to fixate the kettlebell behind your neck. Don’t let it move sideways since that can lead to potential injury in your lumbar spine.

7 – Kettlebell Front Lunges

Kettlebell front lunges are a dynamic exercise. When you are performing this exercise, you are going to target your glutes, hamstring, and quadriceps.

How to Perform a Kettlebell Front Lunge

  1. Hold both kettlebells with your elbows fully extended. They should hang on the sides of your body.
  2. Take a step forward with one of your feet and try to keep your knee above the ankle.
  3. Focus on pushing through your heel in a front foot.
  4. Get back to the starting position and then do the same for the other leg.

Pro Tip: For regular gym goers, keeping your knees above your toes is fine. For athletes, I recommend moving past the level of your toes since the dynamics of sports will require you to do it regularly.

8 – Kettlebell Reverse Lunges

Kettlebell reverse lunges are a variation of the reverse lunges that are commonly used to target quads as well as other parts of the leg. Perfecting lunges is crucial since they are amongst the fundamental movement patterns that every fitness enthusiast should strive to master.

How to Perform a Kettlebell Reverse Lunge

  1. Start by having a kettlebell in each hand.
  2. Step back with one leg and bend both knees.
  3. Descend until your back knees touch the ground.
  4. Drive through the front leg, and extend the knees so you can stand up fully.

Pro Tip: Add kettlebell reverse lunges to your workouts when you have enough strength in your hips, and your core is stable enough. That’s why we emphasize corrective and functional exercises and write so much content about similar movements on Functional Body Savage.

9 – Kettlebell Side Lunges

Kettlebell side lunges are another variation of lunges that is a dynamic exercise that targets your outer and inner thighs. When you lunge on the side, that will create an even larger stretch on your thighs and glutes.

How to Perform a Kettlebell Reverse Lunge

  1. Start by holding a kettlebell or two, depending on your preference, and shift your weight from side to side as you bend your knee.
  2. While you do this movement, focus on keeping the opposite leg straight.
  3. Repeat the same motion with the other leg until you get to your desired amount of reps.

Pro Tip: When you are starting with the exercise, try to descend slowly so your abductor muscles get warmed up and you don’t get injured.

10 – Kettlebell Goblet Squats

Kettlebell goblet squat is an excellent exercise for strengthening your core and lower body muscles. If you plan to perform it, you need to have a proper technique, form, and control to maximize the benefits.

How to Perform Kettlebell Goblet Squats

  1. Begin by holding a kettlebell in front of your body close to your chest.
  2. Squat by pushing your hips back as if you were to sit in a chair.
  3. Continue with the movement until your thighs are parallel to the ground.
  4. Pause it in that position for a couple of seconds.
  5. Then, get back to the starting position.

Pro Tip: Kettlebell goblet squats are a great way to increase your cardio without needing to move your feet at all. This is only assuming you perform it a lot with lightweight kettlebells since anything heavy won’t improve your cardiorespiratory fitness as much.

11 – Kettlebell Bob and Weave

The kettlebell bob and weave is a full-body dynamic exercise that works several muscle groups in your body, like hips, legs, core, and shoulders. This movement mimics ducking and weaving in boxing, making it an effective and fun way to stay in shape.

How to Perform Kettlebell Bob and Weave

  1. Start by holding a kettlebell with both hands in front of your chest.
  2. Bend your knees and lower your body to one side as if you were ducking under a punch.
  3. As you come up to the squat stand, pivot your foot and twist your core to the opposite side, like you are weaving to your opponent.
  4. Alternating between weaving and bobbing from side to side.
  5. Keep the kettlebell close to your body.

Pro Tip: Focus on gradually transitioning from the standing to ducking and then again to the standing position to maximize the benefits of the exercise.

12 – Kettlebell Windmill

The kettlebell windmill is a very effective but challenging movement that will mostly target your hamstrings, core, hips, and shoulders. It is excellent if you want to work on your mobility, flexibility, and stability.

How to Perform Kettlebell Windmill

  1. Begin by holding a kettlebell in one hand and extend your arms fully overhead.
  2. Keep your lower torso facing the ground.
  3. Slide the other hand down to the inside of your leg while keeping your arm straight.
  4. Reverse the movement by pressing through your heel to get back to the base position.

Pro Tip: Start with a bodyweight variation of this exercise to master the technique first. After that, you can pick kettlebells and be sure you won’t injure yourself on the first try.

13 – Kettlebell Sumo Deadlift

Kettlebell sumo deadlift is an exercise that targets your inner thighs, glutes, and hamstrings.

How to Perform Kettlebell Sumo Deadlift

  1. You should start with your feet a bit wider than shoulder width.
  2. The kettlebell must be between your legs on the ground.
  3. Hinge to grab a kettlebell.
  4. Keep your back straight while lifting the kettlebell.
  5. At the top, squeeze your glutes and hamstrings.

Pro Tip: Engage your core, especially on the way up, to avoid arching your spine.

Anatomy of the Hamstring Muscles

The hamstrings are a group of three muscles located in the posterior compartment of the thigh. These three muscles are the semitendinosus, semimembranosus, and biceps femoris. The hamstrings are closely linked because they share a common origin point and are attached to parts of the fibula and tibia.

All of the hamstring muscles cross knee and hip joints and act upon them. The primary focus of the hamstring muscles is to extend the hip and flex the knee joint. They also have an important role in stabilizing since they are not active when weight is equally distributed between both legs.

But when a person starts to lean forward, these muscles activate to stop them from falling and to stabilize the hip joint.

What Are the Benefits of Training Your Hamstrings With Kettlebells?

The benefits of training your hamstrings with kettlebells are improved functional strength, improved (H: Q) ratio, and better range of motion. All of these benefits are very important and highly useful when done properly.

Below is a detailed explanation of each of these 3 advantages, which will help you get a better look at each.

Improved Functional Strength

Training your hamstrings with kettlebells is an excellent way to train muscles that are closely connected to your everyday movements. In addition, unlike most traditional machines that isolate specific muscles, kettlebells engage several groups at once.

These movements can easily be mimicked in daily life, such as picking up groceries from your trunk or sweeping the floors. When you strengthen your hamstrings with kettlebell exercises, all of these everyday tasks will become much easier.

Improved Hamstrings/Quadriceps (H:Q) Ratio

A balance between the strength of your quads and hamstrings is extremely important for preventing injuries and joint stability, especially around the knee joint. Many exercises primarily target the quadriceps, which can lead to muscle imbalances and create disproportionate muscle strength between hamstrings and quadriceps.

The kettlebell exercises mentioned above emphasize the posterior muscle chain, correcting possible imbalances between muscles. This balance ratio is associated with reduced risk of knee injuries, joint stability, and improved athletic abilities.

When you use kettlebell exercises in your workouts, you can eliminate some potential muscle asymmetries.

Based on a study published in PubMed Central, the typical hamstring-to-quadriceps (H:Q) ratio is estimated to be between 50% and 80% throughout the entire knee movement range, with the ratio rising at higher velocities. When the ratio nears 100%, it indicates that the hamstrings have a greater capacity to offer stability to the knee [1].

Better Range of Motion

Most kettlebell exercises involve multi-joint, dynamic movements designed to increase mobility and flexibility. You can apply this throughout your whole body, even including hamstrings and hips.

Kettlebell movements are much different than other static exercises, which have a main focus on passive muscle stretching. With kettlebell movements, you are required to activate the whole kinetic chain, therefore increasing your range of motion.

Exercises like kettlebell windmills and single-leg deadlifts are also essential for developing flexibility and strength. Over longer periods, you can see that kettlebell exercises work wonders in improving your mobility and flexibility in your hamstrings.

Not only that, but they also reduce any strains, tightness, or potential injuries.


What Exercise Works Hamstrings the Most?

Romanian deadlift works hamstrings the most. Doing Romanian deadlifts is one of the best ways to target your hamstrings.

Is 2 Exercises Enough for Hamstrings?

Yes, two exercises are enough for hamstrings. This is the perfect amount because hamstrings usually have a low volume requirement and tolerance.

Do RDLS Grow Hamstrings?

Yes, RDLs grow hamstrings. They stretch when in the lowering position in a rep and contract when returning to the standing position.

Can I Train Hamstrings Every Day?

No, you can’t train your hamstring every day. If you are starting, it is advised that you do the hamstring exercises 2 to 3 times per week.

How to Do a Kettlebell Swing for Hamstrings?

To do kettlebell swings for hamstrings, you need to hinge your hips and swing the kettlebell using your hip’s power and squeeze the hamstrings at the top. This is a functional fitness movement that is great for power and strength.

Wrapping Up

Incorporating kettlebell hamstring exercises into your workout regime can improve your workout experience. You will not only be stronger but also help yourself with day-to-day activities that require functional strength.

By bulletproofing your posterior chain muscles with kettlebell exercises, you can reduce the risk of getting injured. Also, with these movements, you are strengthening both sides of your body and creating symmetry in strength between the left and right sides.

Please let me know which one out of these 13 exercises you will add to your workout after reading this article.


  1. Rosene JM, Fogarty TD, Mahaffey BL. Isokinetic Hamstrings: Quadriceps Ratios in Intercollegiate Athletes. J Athl Train. 2001;36(4):378-383.

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