How to build Hefty Hamstrings
You can’t build a house without a solid foundation and you’ll never have a freaky physique without a great pair of wheels. Leg training is always one of those days that’s either revered or despised, depending upon who you’re talking too. Either way, you should never skip leg day and you should never skip out on training each muscle group of your lower half. Even though the quads and calves usually get first notice from onlookers, it is the hamstrings that really tie everything together making for a nice flowing and symmetrical look. They say that bodybuilding shows are won from the back, so if you’re into winning the shows you decide to enter, my suggestion would be to focus on building up your hamstrings so that they’re big, hang low in the side poses and are clearly delineated from the back. Here then is how to build hefty hamstrings.
Squat with a Wide Stance
You can do all the leg curling exercises you want, but doing so will never come close to the effect that squatting will have on overall hamstring development. To maximize the effects squatting has on recruiting the hamstrings, make sure you go ass to the grass with a wider than normal stance. You should also point your toes out laterally quite a bit and sit back on your heels. You’re going to want to have a great pair of shoes on for this so that you can maintain stability and grip to the floor, so make sure whatever you wear is flat soled with a high top design for proper support. Heyday Footwear’s Tactical Trainer would be an excellent choice here.
Include Stiff Legged Deadlifts
This compound free weight movement has been a favorite of mine for years. The benefits of performing the stiff legged deadlift, in my opinion, comes from the extreme stretch you are able to inflict upon the hamstrings. Then once in that fully lengthened position, you can create an explosive type style of repetition that really pulls on the muscles leading to a great contraction at the top by squeezing the glutes together hard and slightly tilting your pelvis forward. Personally, I like doing these with dumbbells as I feel I can exaggerate the stretch even more so, but a barbell works perfectly as well. Be sure to stay on your heels here to maximize the stretch so again, a great pair of flat-soled shoes such as The Max would be ideal.
Utilize Long Stride Walking Lunges
Walking lunges to me just ties everything together nice and neat when at the end of a great leg day session. This exercise involves all facets of the lower body and requires a little bit of agility and athleticism to complete without toppling over. To shift the focus of the lunge to your hamstrings, what you’ll want to do is take a longer than normal stride with each lunge and make sure that your front knee never travels over your toes as the back knee touches down. This will allow you to lengthen the hamstrings better during the movement so that a full range of motion is accomplished. Due to the mobility of this movement, I like the idea of wearing a shoe that compliments the actions taken during this exercise and my particular favorite shoe to wear here is the Super Freak. These shoes are ultra-light and the cushioned soles flex with your feet as you walk so that you can get the most out of your walking lunges.
As a bodybuilder, you’re going to want to separate yourself from the pack, so why not do so by building up and focusing on a body part that often times is trained as an afterthought on leg day. Hit those hamstrings hard, use the more difficult exercises such as the ones listed above and make sure you look good in your Heydays while doing so.
Author: Dana Bushell
AST Sports Science sponsored athlete/writer, sponsored by Schiek Sports Inc.