If you’re like most people who work out you may not spend enough time on your posterior chain as you should. Posterior chain being the backside of your body; primarily the lower back, glutes(butt), and hamstrings. For most who work out and train their legs hitting the hamstrings usually comes at the end, as an after thought. A great way to get out of this common habit is to either split your leg workout into 2 separate days or alternate your weekly leg workout so on one week you start your workout with hamstrings, then the next switch to quads. This will help balance out your legs and symmetry, as well as prevent any muscle imbalances.
Here’s an exercise to try, that is a great isolation move for the hamstrings. The lying leg curl is very easy to do incorrectly and/or use assisting muscle groups (ie lower back, calves) which therefore takes away from the intended working muscle, the hamstring.
In the starting position (as shown above) you want to keep your upper body completely off of the machine and have your arms relatively straight in front of you, holding the bench. This will help eliminate any momentum and lower back recruitment (which we don’t want). The goal here is to push your pelvis into the bench, again to prevent any momentum from other muscle groups. You’ll notice you will have to use lighter weight because of the strict form and lack of assistance from other muscles.
As you perform the movement, squeeze your hamstrings as hard as you can and come up 3/4 of the way or until your calves are perpendicular to your upper legs (like the letter ‘L’). If you find that your calves are getting too much work then drop the weight and relax your ankles. I normally recommend doing this exercise after at least 2 other exercises to ensure your hamstrings are properly warmed up.
Try 3 sets of 15 as a good builder.
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