The hamstrings are a great muscle. They are like the biceps of the legs except for the fact that people don’t love to train them nearly as much. That truly is a shame because a good set of hamstrings fully complements the legs and helps make them complete. Plus you need to have balance in your muscle groups from your lower back down to your feet to prevent muscles from pulling against each other and creating strains.
So with all of that in mind we better jump to it and get those hamstrings shaped up right!
The Hambone Routine
Hamstrings tend to be a tight muscle group. Because when you sit all day they easily tighten up it pays to stretch them regularly. I would recommend stretching at least three times a day plus before and after leg day. This will help increase flexibility as well as speed up recovery.
Generally speaking the hamstrings are a small muscle at least compared to the quadriceps and gluteus. You should only do about 2/3rds the number of sets for hamstrings as quads due to this size differential. We will focus in this routine by using 4 exercises. The first two works the middle of the muscle, the next stretches it out, and the last focuses on a tight contraction.
- Flutter Kicks – 2 sets of 20 reps – Lie face down on a flat bench with your hips on the very edge and your legs dangling off. Raise your legs behind you so your body is flat, the hamstrings and glutes will be tensed to support the legs. Lift your left foot a few inches higher and try and cross if over your right then return to feet together. Repeat with the right foot to complete 1 rep.
- Dumbbell Lunges – 2 sets of 8 to 12 reps – The key to using the hamstring for this exercise is to try and contract it as you stand up and use that muscle to pull yourself up instead of pushing with your quads. Use light weight until you can feel the muscle doing the majority of the work during the exercise.
- Stiff-Legged Dumbbell Deadlifts – 3 sets of 6 to 8 reps – Dumbbells ensure a good stretch to the hamstrings without the weight hitting the ground. Keep your knees slightly bent and back flat for this exercise. The dumbbells should stay close to your legs all the way down to the full stretch position.
- Lying Hamstring Curls – 2 sets of 15 to 18 reps – Don’t let your legs lock out straight. With most machine that will leave your knees in a vulnerable position. Stop at about 2 inches prior to lockout, pause, and curls your heels towards your rear. Hold the peak contraction for a two count.
It is a guarantee that you will be walking a little funny after this hamstring burning routine. If you are doing hamstrings with quads you can switch the lunges to first in the group and combine them as a finishing exercise for your quads to save time.