Big lifts require big quads, big glutes, and big calves. But let us not forget about big hamstrings. You need them all to move the big weights. Hamstrings are one of those muscles that you might not think much about—until you're sweating under a squat, and by then you're toast. So get ahead of the game and build yourself some mighty stumps with this hamstring workout from MuscleTech-sponsored athlete and Team Bodybuilding.com member Abel Albonetti.
If you've never worked out under Albonetti's guidance, get ready for some major torture. The monster compound movements will cause pain, of course. Then there are the isolation moves that will have you looking for a fire extinguisher to cool down those hammies!
Albonetti recommends doing this hamstring workout once a week. Don't forget to do a separate quad workout.
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Seated Leg Curl
Albonetti is using this exercise to warm up and get you focused on the neurological connection between your brain and hammies. Don't take your reps to failure. Use a weight that will challenge you a bit, but you're not looking to set a PR here.
Once he's got you warmed up, Albonetti likes to go straight for a big compound lift. That way you can move some big weight and build your hamstrings while they're still fresh.
When he does sumo deadlifts, Albonetti like to either slip on some flat-bottomed Converse sneakers or go barefoot. An elevated shoe would push you forward a little bit more, something you don't want happening when you're deadlifting. Take time to warm up those hamstrings. You've just done the curls, but you're about to move a lot more weight.
As this lift unfolds, focus on placing your feet wide apart with your toes out. Keep your back straight as you pull up—and as you go down. Rest long enough at the bottom for the weight to touch for a split second. Explode back up.
Focus on keeping your feet closer together on this move. Keep tension on your hamstrings as you lower the bar. After getting a good stretch at the bottom, return to the starting position while keeping your back straight.
Albonetti adds blood flow restriction (BFR) to this press. The goal is to force as much blood as possible into your leg musculature. Wrap bands around each upper thigh, adjusting them to a tightness of 7-8 out of 10. Keep the bands on for the duration of each set.
Position your feet high and wide on the press plate. Unhook the stops and bend your knees to lower the press plate. Pause at the bottom, then explode back up.
Rest 45 seconds between sets.
Lying Leg Curl on Rowing Machine
Focus on the tension you feel in your hamstrings when they are fully contracted. After 1-2 seconds of enjoying this intense peak contraction, return to the start position and repeat. Your lower back should never touch the ground on this exercise. If it does, the tension will dissipate, reducing the effectiveness of the move. Just let your hamstrings go out, then come back in.
Negative Hamstring Curl
For the last exercise, Albonetti wants you to focus on the negative—and it's a big negative. Before you go down, find something to hold onto in order to help you get back up. With your back straight, lower yourself toward the floor. Using your aid, explode back up. Don't worry about using your legs too much to return to the starting position, as these curls are all about the negative portion of this movement. Take 3-4 seconds on the way down, then 1-2 seconds to get back up.
If this was the only exercise you were doing, this would be a piece of cake. Since it comes at the end of the workout, these curls will torch whatever might be left of the muscles below your waist.