The back of the leg is an area that often gets overlooked during training. Actually overlooked is probably not the right word. ‘Goes unseen’ would be a better use of words because honestly how often do you watch yourself from behind?
That is where the hamstring development is really noticeable, from behind. If you pay attention then it becomes apparent from the side as well. So take a good long look at your legs in the mirror when you are at home. Honestly appraise your wheels. Are they strong, balanced, and muscular from all angles? Or do you suffer from imbalance with a nice set of quads but not much to back them up with?
If the answer is the latter then you need to jump on this hamstring routine to help balance out those wheels. Proper leg development is important because aside from the way it looks you don’t want to sustain an injury to the knees, hips, or lower back because one muscle isn’t pulling its weight. It doesn’t matter if you are a bodybuilder, athlete, or just a recreational lifter; balance in muscle groups is important to all three.
Hardcore Hamstring Workout
This is a great workout you can do up to twice a week. If you work hamstrings with quads make sure to shift this workout to the top slot and work quads second. You want to put the most energy into a lagging bodypart. Additionally you will get some extra burn on your hamstrings during squats if they are already pre-exhausted.
- Seated Leg Curls – 3 sets of 15 to 20 reps – We start with some high rep curls focusing on a tight contraction of the muscle. Mechanically this is an odd position to use heavy weight.
- Lying Leg Curls – 3 sets of 12 to 15 reps – We increase the weight a bit and work the body of the muscle. Make sure not to let the legs straighten all the way out because it leaves the knee in a vulnerable position. We will get a nice enough stretch on the next exercise. Focus on slow, controlled reps at a steady tempo.
- Stiff Legged Deadlifts – 4 sets of 6 to 10 reps – This is out beef builder and also serves to get those hamstrings really stretched. Work off a small box or platform to allow the barbell to travel down as far as possible. Keep the legs mostly straight but knees unlocked with a flat back. Focus on squeezing the back of the legs as you stand upright; keep the bar close to your legs as you go up and down.
- Walking Lunges – 1 set of 50 steps – You can use dumbbells or a barbell over your shoulders. Take forward lunging steps and walk a total of 50 paces. The lunges do not need to be particularly deep, 3/4 of the way down to parallel is sufficient. This will work on the separation between the thigh and hamstring on the outer side of the leg as well as the glute-hamstring tie-in.
The variety of rep ranges combined with the angles of attack is what makes this a great hamstring workout. While the hamstring is a smaller muscle compared to the quadriceps, it is still decent sized and needs to be attacked with different exercises to stress the muscle fibers and coax growth properly. Give this routine a try and you will certainly feel the burn during and after the session. Always make sure to spend a good 5 to 10 minutes stretching hamstrings at the end of a session to work on lengthening the muscles and help accentuate the healing process.