Used by a Bulgarian weight-lifting team, this works your calves, butt, hips, and thighs Stand several feet in front of a sturdy bench or chair (facing away from it) with feet hip-width apart and hands clasped together in front of chest. Rest top of left foot on bench. Slowly bend right knee 90 degrees, as shown; pause, then push back up. Do 12 reps, switch legs, and repeat.
Besides targeting your hamstrings, this exercise works your glutes and core. It also helps eliminate muscle imbalances between your legs, reducing your risk of injury. And as a bonus, it can even improve the flexibility of your hamstrings.
Keeping abs engaged, back flat, and mat upright, exhale as you lift right leg out to side as high as possible. Hold for 3 seconds, then lower leg. Do 10 to 15 reps, holding the last leg lift for 10 seconds. Switch legs and repeat.