...Does anyone have any favorite exercises for hamstring strength?
I used to pull hammies while playing softball. Pulled so bad the backs of my legs were black and blue. Softball no more, except for coaching it. No spring chicken..."sprung" maybe...but "spring" no more.
Two exercises require weights:
1. Leg curls
. Instead of using two legs, do one leg at a time. In your case, maybe a light weight or no weight at all. DO NOT JERK THE WEIGHT OR DO RAPID REPETITIONS. Lying prone on the bench, count "one-one-thousand, two-one-thousand" on the way up and "one-one-thousand, two-one-thousand, three-one-thousand, four-one-thousand" on the way down. Repeat with other leg. Start off with as many reps you feel comfortable with. Probably best to do 5 reps for each leg if using no weight. Once you can do 12 reps, then add 5 pounds and do eight reps. Once you can work up to 12 reps with 5 pounds, increase the weight to 10 pounds.
If you are going to do the leg curls, do the leg extensions as well. I workout with 40 pounds for the leg extension and then 20 for the leg curls. Go two counts as you lift the weight to extend, then 4 counts as you lower the weight.
2. Good morning exercise
. Feet shoulder width apart. Place a barbell "in the groove" of your shoulder and trapezius (no weights). Bend down slowly. Keep legs locked. Hold for two seconds. Return to starting position. For more resistance, add a little more weight. CAVEAT: Do this slowly. Jerking or rapid reps can do more harm than good.
Hope this helps.