Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Build Beautiful Legs: Hamstring Work

Leg day is my favorite workout day because it hurts so bad, but you feel like you've really worked hard for days after. When you work your leg muscles, it is really important to work your quads, glutes, hamstrings, and calves to get great muscle definition overall. Today, we are focusing on just a couple of exercises for your hamstrings.

Barbell Straight-legged deadlifts

There are a few important things to note with the straight-legged deadlift. You start the position with a straight back, looking down, with legs straight, and a barbell straight in front of you. Slowly lift up still keeping the back and legs as straight as possible. Keeping the back straight really allows the focus to be on the glutes, and keeping the legs straight allows the focus to be on the hamstrings. Note that you should try to keep a slight looseness in the knees so the joints aren't locked up. Lower back down and repeat. I try to do about 3 rounds of 15 with challenging weights.

Hamstring Curl

I love to show a lot of body weight exercises that you can do anywhere, but this is a machine exercise. To make it a body weight exercise, sit on a chair with your legs in front of you (you can use ankle weights if you have them), and try to put something heavy on your laps to keep your thighs down on the chair. Whether you are on a machine or not, slowly lift your lower legs (below your knees) up and back down. This puts the emphasis on your hamstrings and you should really feel it. Watch the video above for a better demonstration. I do about 3 rounds of 15. Make sure the weight is fairly challenging.

Hamstring Stretch

Of course, when you are done with several rounds of all that, you should make sure you really stretch out those muscles. Above is a great stretch that should help. Bring one knee in front in a low lunge, and lean back with your butt going towards the back knee until the front leg is straight. Really push into that front leg by flexing the toes and bringing the chest towards the knee. That should feel very good. Hold for about 30 seconds and switch sides.

Cheers Eights & Weights!

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