Training Rules for Huge Hamstrings

 

The best hardgainer strategy for building ham-sized hamstrings.

 

As a hardgainer, hanging hamstrings are probably near the bottom of your wish list. In a contest, vertical-blind lines in a rear shot or half-basket- balls from the side can make the difference between first and fourth, but those not planning to pose in public typically focus much more on arms or chest or even quads, leg curling comes almost as an afterthought. Get with the program. Your hams are much larger than, for example, your biceps, and building additions to this area fills out your legs, maintains a strength balance with your quads (thus preventing injuries) and, because of their relative size, packs on lean pounds faster than some showier parts. Our huge hamstring workout gives this crucial bodypart the stimulus it needs to maximize your mass appeal.

 

RULE 1: GIVE EACH BODYPART A WORKOUT

Part of the reason hamstrings don’t receive the respect they deserve from noncompetitive bodybuilders is they’re typically tossed into a “leg workout.” This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t train hams with quads. Indeed, this program prescribes just such a pairing. However, you need to think of each bodypart as having its own workout. This may be merely a semantic discrepancy, but it can make a great difference in your approach. Too often trainers simply tack on a few lazy sets of leg curls after a grueling barrage of squats and leg presses. Likewise, as part of shoulder training, they’ll pitch in some shrugging after destroying delts, and, at the end of an arm workout, they’ll warm down with a couple sets of wrist curls. The focus and intensity will invariably be greater if you give hamstrings, trapezius and forearms their own workouts, making them the center of attention during the corresponding exercises, and not merely a part of a greater whole.

 

RULE 2: EMBRACE SYNERGISM

This may seem to contradict rule 1, but it is actually complementary. You should provide each bodypart with its own individual workout, but always remain aware that most bodyparts are trained to a lesser degree with others. For example, hamstrings will get some work during squats and leg presses for quads, as well as during deadlifts for back. As another example, triceps will be stressed during pressing movements for both chest and shoulders. Generally speaking, the sort of compound lifts that involve two or more bodyparts are the best mass-gainers and thus they play principle roles in this routine. Although your focus should remain on the primary target muscles during compound lifts, be aware of the secondary muscles. As we will discuss in coming months, sometimes you may want to reduce the secondary involvement, via techniques like pre-exhaust or lockout avoidance, and yet, even then, secondary muscles will provide support. Embrace it, for this sort of synergy boosts growth and overall strength.

 

THE EXERCISES

 

ROMANIAN DEADLIFTS

In Romanian deadlifts, the bar is lowered and raised against your legs and not in front (as in stiff-leg deadlifts) and you maintain the arch in your back throughout the lift. It focuses more on the hamstrings and glutes; the stiff-leg deadlift works the spinal erectors more.

  • Grab a barbell with an overhand, shoulder-width grip, and stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Keep a slight bend in your knees.
  • Lean forward from your hips, push- ing them back and keeping the arch in your back as you lower the bar as far as possible. The bar should stay against your legs during the movement.
  • Bringing your hips forward, rise up to raise the bar back to the starting point, again keeping it against your legs the entire time.

 

Variation: You can also perform this exercise with dumbbells, keeping the weights on the sides of your legs throughout each rep. Alternately, you can do Romanian deadlifts with dumbbells one leg at a time, either balancing on one foot or, if that’s too awkward, bending the nonworking leg behind you and resting its foot on a bench.

 

LYING LEG CURLS

This movement focuses more on the biceps femoris (outer hamstring).

  • Lie face-down on a lying leg curl machine; position your knees just off the end and your ankles below the pad.
  • Keep your hips down on the machine as you bend your legs to raise your feet toward your glutes.
  • Pause and squeeze your hams for one second in the contracted position of each rep.

 

Variation: Do the positive half of the rep (raising the weight) with both legs, but do the negative half (lowering the weight) with one leg, resisting in order to lower the weight twice as slowly as you raised it. Because you’re stronger during the negative action, this is an excellent way to get the most out of both halves of your reps. Alternate legs each rep or do all the negative reps of a set with one leg, then the next set switch to the other leg and the final set use both legs.

 

SEATED LEG CURLS

This exercise focuses more on the semitendinosus and semimembranosus (inner hamstrings).

  • Sit in a seated leg curl machine with your knees just past the edge of the seat and your ankles on the pad.
  • Bend your legs to bring your feet as close to the bottom of the seat of the machine as possible.
  • Pause and squeeze your hams for one second in the contracted position of each rep.

 

Variation: At least every third work- out, do a unilateral (one side at a time) leg curl to guard against strength/size imbalances. You can do seated leg curls unilaterally, or, if your gym has the appropriate machine, substitute standing one-leg curls every third workout, doing all 10-12 reps in a set for one rear leg and then switching to the other side.

 

HUGE HAM ROUTINE

Romanian Deadlifts | SETS: 3 | REPS: 8-10
Lying Leg Curls | SETS: 3 | REPS: 10-12/5-6*
Seated Leg Curls | SETS: 3 | REPS: 10-12
* Do the positive part of the rep with both legs, but do the negative rep with one leg only, being sure to alternate legs every other set.

 

Source: http://www.flexonline.com/training/legs/hamstrings/training-rules-huge-hamstrings

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