Hamstring Training – 5 tips to bigger Hamstrings

The vast majority of articles we publish here on cheap supplements UK are about helping you to save money on supplements. However, we also want to bring you interesting discussions regarding other areas, and training is one such area where we want you to excel.

We want you to make the most out of your training in the gym, therefore, we will be writing a series of articles covering 5 tips which are unique training ideas, which hopefully you have not tried in the past. Give them a go, spice up your training, and have fun.

The hamstrings will be featured in this article!

tom-platz-hamstrings

The Glute Ham Raise

The glute ham raise is the king of hamstring exercises. It absolutely owns your hamstrings and glutes through bodyweight resistance alone. For the more advanced, weight can be added, but that would be a long way off for a beginner or an intermediate.

Glute Ham Raises are one of the most superior hamstring exercises because they work a large number of muscles and they put a bigger emphasis on the eccentric component of knee flexion. Regular training can also reduce the risk of injury. Glute Ham Raises are incredibly popular with powerlifters, strongmen and athletes. What do powerlifters, strongmen and athletes have in common? They all have insanely strong hamstrings! Therefore, glute ham raises are the choice of the professionals, so we should do them too. Furthermore, glute ham raises put very little stress on the lower back, meaning those with back issues can progress well. All in all, it’s an amazing exercise.

Glute ham raises are a rare, uncommon exercise. This is because the vast majority of gyms do not have a glute ham raise machine. Take a look at the image below, remember what it looks like, and next time you’re in your gym see if there is one available to use.

glute ham raise

If there isn’t a glute ham raise machine in your gym, you can improvise! Using a lat pull-down machine is the most common improvisation, however there are many other methods too. Watch the video below to find out how you can perform a glute ham raise without a machine.

Try and make glute ham raises a staple exercise in your hamstring training. Honestly, it will make the world of difference. Start off with your bodyweight and work up slowly. Actually, bodyweight glute ham raises will be very difficult for most people. If this is the case, grab a spotter and perform negatives, building up your strength until you can go it alone. Your hamstrings will be hammered!

The Stiff Leg Deadlift

If the glute ham raise is the king of hamstring exercises, the SLDL is definitely next in line for the throne! SLDL are easily performed, a barbell, dumbbells, kettebells, or any kind of weight can be used, therefore, you can perform them in any gym or even your own home.

Take a look at the image below to see how a stiff leg deadlift is performed.

stiff_legged_deadlift

Stand with your legs shoulder width apart. Bend your knees, bend down and lift the barbell with your lower back straight. You should now be standing tall with the barbell in your hands. Lower the bar to the top of your feet by bending your hips. Bend your knees slightly during the descent. Lift the bar by extending at the hips until you are standing upright. If you require further tuition, take a look on YouTube as there are plenty of great, informative videos.

Here are some tips:

  • Perform the lift slow and controlled, with a slight pause at the bottom focusing on feeling the load in your hamstrings
  • If you want to keep tension on your hamstrings throughout, don’t lock out
  • If you prefer to lock out, give your glutes a really good squeeze at the top of the lift
  • Try standing on some plates, this will allow you to go deeper, hitting the hamstrings even harder with a fuller stretch
  • Feel the pull with your glutes, push your ass into the sky
  • Try performing the SLDL on a smith machine. Keep your legs locked, lower back arched and push your glutes back until you can feel the stretch in your hamstrings, then come back up, always focusing on pushing your glutes back.

The above tips are sure to spice up your SLDL training! Hit those hamstrings hard.

Hamstring Stretch

The popular bodybuilding routine known as ‘Doggcrapp’ includes stretches to perform following each exercise. The hamstring stretch is superb, and having trained following the Doggcrapp programming in the past, it is the one stretch which I found the most beneficial.

Perform your hamstring exercises as usual. Once you’re done, it’s time to stretch.

There are two stretches to choose between:

  1. Leg up – Find a bar, or machine, which you can rest your foot on. It needs to be about waist height or a little higher. Stand back, lift your leg, and rest your foot on the object.  Point your toes towards you, and then hold your toes and pull slightly. With your other hand, try and force your leg straight. Hold this for 60 seconds.
  2. Using a barbell – Grab a barbell, keep your legs straight, and hold it at the very bottom, you will feel an intense stretch in your hamstrings. Take a look at the image below. Again, hold it for 60 seconds.
dante-hamstring-stretch

60 seconds is all you need for these stretches. Choose one of the above exercises once you’re done training your hamstrings, and perform one simple set, lasting for 60 seconds.

Why perform this intense stretch? The founder of Hulk Multi Gym strongly believes it can increase muscle growth because of fascia stretching. Here’s a quote:

“If you doubt the extra muscle growth possible with stretching I urge you
to research hyperplasia (and the bird wing stretching protocols) where time X
stretch X weight induced incredible hyperplasia. Our stretching is done under
much lower time periods but fascial stretching and the possibility of induced
hyperplasia cant be ignored. I’ve had too many people write me or tell me in
person that the “extreme stretching” has dramatically changed their physique
to ever doubt its virtues.”

Try it for yourself and see how you find it. It’ll bring a new dimension to your hamstring training, and it will finish off your workout very nicely indeed.

Kettlebell Swings

Kettlebells are loved by those in the Eastern countries. Cheap Kettlebells have been a staple piece of training equipment for an incredibly long time, and for good reason, they work well. The Russian special forces are known for their great ability with kettlebells, and who would mess with them?

The staple kettlebell exercise is the kettlebell swing, and it hits the hamstrings, glutes, lower back and core very well.

One slight problem with this tip is that you will need access to a kettlebell. Many gyms now have kettlebells, so hopefully it won’t be a problem. However, if your gym does not have kettlebells and you really want to give kettlebell swings a try, you could buy one. You can get all different weights to suit every ability. Take a look on eBay, in my experience they offer the best prices and many sellers even offer free delivery which is a big bonus.

Once you’ve got your kettlebell, you can perform the swing! Rather than explain in writing, it would be far more beneficial for you to watch the below video.

Kettlebells swings are more suited to high reps, high sets. Try some different rep schemes, but perhaps start off with 5 sets of 20. You can also try swinging for 30 seconds, then have 30 seconds break, then swing for 30, 30 seconds break. You get the idea. Your hamstrings will be fried in no time.

I’ll leave you with a rather fitting quote from a Russian kettlebell master:

“To make the individual uncomfortable, that is my task” —Friedrich Nietsche

Leg Press Variation

Usually the leg press is performed by placing your feet shoulder width apart on the centre of the big plate on the leg press. This will primarily target your quads. However, there is a quirky little variation which will shift the load onto your hamstrings therefore placing a great emphasis on them.

Here’s how it’s done:

  1. Go to your leg press machine
  2. Sit down as you ordinarily would
  3. Rather than place your feet in the centre, place them very high on the leg press. You can go up to the point that your toes are coming off the top of the plate
  4. Perform your reps and sets as usual
  5. Push through your heels
  6. Feel the load on your hamstrings

By placing the feet very high up on the leg press, the extreme angle will cause the hamstrings to fire preferentially over the quads.

Take a look at the image below if you’re still a bit unsure of how it looks. It’s an awesome variation. In addition to this kit make sure you have a good 100kg Multi Gym for all round exercise.

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