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Body Part Blitz: Hamstrings

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Build some seriously strong strings with our hamstring workout

Hamstrings are one of those muscle groups that usually get left to the end of a workout. A lot of people skip them altogether.

Don’t let yourself fall into this trap.

Not only do they look impressive, strong hamstrings also means that you’ll be able to lift more weight in the squat and deadlift.

Training hamstrings can also reduce your risk of injury - weak hamstrings paired with strong quads is an injury waiting to happen.

Make no mistake about it; if you want to build a decent set of wheels, humongous hamstrings are a necessity. So let’s get to it...

Romanian Deadlift 4 sets x 5-8 repetitions (2-3 minutes rest between sets)

Put a barbell in front of you on the ground and grab it using a pronated (palms facing down) grip that a little wider than shoulder width. Bend the knees slightly and keep the shins vertical, hips back and back straight. Keeping your back and arms completely straight at all times, use your hips to lift the bar as you exhale. Once you are standing completely straight up, lower the bar by pushing the hips back, only slightly bending the knees, unlike when squatting.

As well as flexing the knee, one of the main roles of the hamstrings is to extend the hip. And that’s what the Romanian Deadlift involves. It’s a great exercise for working your entire posterior chain – hamstrings, glutes and lower back.

The terms Romanian Deadlift and the Stiff-legged deadlift are often used interchangeably but they actually describe two very different exercises.

Barbell Hip Thrusts 3 sets x 8-10 repetitions (90 seconds of rest between sets)

Begin seated on the ground with a bench directly behind you. Have a loaded barbell over your legs. Roll the bar so that it is directly above your hips, and lean back against the bench so that your shoulder blades are near the top of it. Begin the movement by driving through your feet, extending your hips vertically through the bar. Your weight should be supported by your shoulder blades and your feet. Extend as far as possible, then reverse the motion to return to the starting position.

The hip thrust is a little known but highly effective exercise for building size and strength in both the hamstrings and glutes.

Make sure you push through your heels, avoid arching your lower back, and reach full hip extension at the top of the movement.

Lying Leg Curl 2 sets x 12-15 repetitions (30-40 seconds of rest between sets)

Adjust the machine lever to fit your height and lie face down on the leg curl machine with the pad of the lever on the back of your legs (just a few inches under the calves), then bring your calves towards your behind and lower slowly.

Just to finish off the hamstrings, you’ll do a couple of high-rep sets on the lying leg curl machine.

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