Narkissos… I have lagging Hams!!! Part 1
The hamstrings are a commonly neglected muscle complex. ‘Out of sight, out of mind’ is the usually underlying precept of hamstring training… and the main reason for their underdevelopment. True, hamstrings aren’t a ’sexy’ showpiece muscle like the biceps of the upper arm… but under-development is never sexy. Furthermore, underdeveloped hamstrings can place you at risk for knee, hip, and lowerback injury.
With that in mind…Here’s my 12 week shock approach for lagging hamstrings.
The first 6 weeks will center around the modification of one exercise: laying leg-curls.
The second 6 weeks will centre around this modification, but we’ll also add a second modified exercise: laying leg-curls; Stiff-Leg Deadlifts
This goes contrary with the ‘more is better’ mindset… but, when did i ever claim to be non-controversial?
Weeks 1-6: Leg curl 21’s
Most of you who’ve been around the weight-training scene have been exposed to 21’s before. You know, that exercise where the biceps are worked through 3 different range-of-motions in one set:
7 full range reps
7 partial reps, from mid-point to the top of the movement
7 partial reps, from the bottom of the exercise to the mid-point
‘21′ is an arbitrary number though… But the concept of partials coupled with full range reps, i’ve used in a number of training phases… bringing my hamstrings up to the point where they are my best bodypart.
Narkissos… I have lagging Hams!!! Part 2
So… My Hamstring 21’s:
I should note that ‘21′ is a misnomer, as you’ll end up doing more than 21 reps per set.
First off, we’ll warm up with 2 sets of full range laying leg-curls.
Fully warmed up we’ll move on to the work-sets.
**NB: we won’t be doing more than 3 worksets per session
Select a weight that is 20-25% heavier than your 6-8 rep max would be during full range reps.
We’ll use this weight to overload your hams through the upper range-of-motion (ROM) of the exercise. The ‘upper range’ is from the point of full contraction (where the lower leg is at a 90Âº angle as compared to the upper leg).. to the mid point (where the lower leg is at a 45Âº angle as compared to the upper leg). These consitute ‘Half reps’ …and are slow and controlled.
When no more ‘half-reps’ can be acheived through the upper ROM.. Lower the weight to full extension.
From this position, we’ll do ‘half-reps’ from the point of full extension to the mid-point.
When failure is reached..Then we’ll have a training partner assist us through FULL ROM reps.. Obviously, you will be unable to complete these on your own.
These’ll be forced reps …where you control the negative completely.
When you can no longer control the negative…drop the weight by half..and complete unassisted full ROM reps til failure.
This constitutes one set.
e.g. you normally legcurl 90 lbs on work-set.
You load on 115 lbs instead and do slow and controlled half-reps til failure.
A rep’s range of motion starts at the glute..and ends at about 45Âº knee flexion.. or half-way tru the range of motion.
From there..the descent is stopped and you return to the top. When you can’t stop the descent at that point anymore.. you lower the weight to full extension and do half-reps til failure.
When you can no longer initiate a rep on your own, get your partner to take you tru a compliment of forced reps..your part of which is to control the negative completely.
When you can no longer control the descent period… have your partner reduce the weight to 50 lbs. From there, you rep out.
Keep your glutes down through-out the exercise as opposed to sticking out, as is easy to do.
Keep hips neutral as well… No swivelling to make the movement easier.
Between sets, stretch your hams.
Narkissos… i have lagging Hams!!! Part 3
Ok… so You’ve made it through 6 weeks. What’s next you ask?
Yes.. that’s right: Rest.
We’ve been pushing the envelope somewhat… so now it’s time to back peddle so as not to stagnate, or worse yet: regress.
‘Rest’ will consist of maintenance training for 4 weeks.
4 working sets of standing or laying leg-curls… once per week.
Each set should stop just short of absolute failure.
Narkissos… i have lagging Hams!!! Part 4
Ok.. so the 4-week rest period has left you anxious and ready for more hasn’t it?
Another 6-week shocker:
Our two core exercises will be the laying leg-curl, and the stiff-leg deadlift(SLDL)… but with a twist.
Firstly, the two exercises will be done one directly after the other: a technique commonly called a ’superset’.
Secondly, the stiff-leg deadlift will be done on a platform… increasing the range-of-motion of this exercise… and thus the fiber recruitment.
Set up your SLDL station as close to the laying leg-curl station as possible.
This is necessary as minimum rest between transitions is essential.
Set the SLDL bar with a weight that you normally get 10
Also, set up a 6″ platform… We’ll get back to this in a minute.
We’ll warm up with 2 sets of hyper-extentions, and 1 set of leg-curls..then we’ll get into the meat of the matter.
We’ll be doing 3 work sets per session…taking each set past failure.
The first exercise in the superset will be the laying leg-curl.
Our goal reps per set for this exercise will be 20 reps.
Choose a weight that is your usual 12 rep max.
Upon failure… Have your training partner assist you to the full compliment of reps.. past failure.
Directly upon reaching 20 reps… Go to Stiff-leg deadlifts: attempting to lower the bar, on each rep, to your instep.
Being on a platform increases the range-of-motion.. as normally, before the bar reached you instep, the plates would make contact with the floor.
Take each set of SLDLs just short of absolute failure… The stretch is the emphasis of the inclusion of this exercise.
On each set, you’ll fail earlier and earlier on the laying leg-curls… but it is fundamental that the rep-range be met.
I’ve used this routine a number of times in the past.. especially in contest prep. In doing so, i’ve made improvements from session to session.. and from phase to phase.
You won’t be disappointed!
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