I'm only a beginner concentrating on getting up to reasonable strength and focusing on my weak spots first. I've been working on my hamstrings and using Gironda's advice to feel where it hits the muscle by how sore it is the next day. Nordic / Russian Curls seem to hit me hardest at the short head of the biceps femoris behind me knees on the outside. I want to target higher up and recruit more muscle. Contracting my glutes recruits higher on the curls but arches my lower back. I'm really strict about posture and form.
I've been doing reverse hyperextensions and contracting my glutes seems to allow me to recruit more ham muscle higher up. But as a beginner this is probably all CNS not physical.
I can't do back squats, stiff leg DLs, RDLs and lots of other things due to back injuries. The eccentric phase of back squats in particular started to wake up my hamstrings but then I injured my back and I've had to adapt.
Bulgarian splits have helped a lot with balance and strength and I'm not up to the level of doing sets of 10 reps bodyweight yet - as in ATG bodyweight with good form. I can do Bulgarian splits ATG but I have to curl my upper body out of straight posture. But I'm doing sets of 6 well below parallel.
Leg press machine - can't really do 1.8 x what I should be back squatting without lumbar and pelvis / femur ball joint pain.
Any type of bilateral squats I do I am unable to do low enough reps for progression. So all my leg work is unilateral just about.
Yesterday I just tried to hammer my hamstrings and I succeeded but the location of the pain tells me I'm not recruiting enough muscle. Again, surely CNS but I need to connect to these unused fibres.
These look easy and they are really I suppose but as a beginner I've actually found medicine ball one legged bridges allow me to sort of recruit any part of my hamstrings I want and hold in that position as an isometric and I do them a lot but I can't see them adding mass. They're great for stabiliser muscles as you can move around balancing and holding yourself using stabilisers to stop you rolling and hams to keep your body in position. But again, not mass builders.
Any advice on bringing my hamstrings up? Do I need to do bilateral work or are largely uni based movements enough? Right now my vastus medialuses are bulkier and prominent but I'm not getting the newb mass gains expected after several months. I've got a lot stronger but my legs aren't getting much bigger. And targeting inner thigh(abductors) for strength and mass?
I mentioned I can't even use leg press machine effectively(low rep range) without warning / injury pain but I haven't tried a reverse squat press as I don't have access to such a machine but does anyone know how shearing forces on the lower back and so on compare to leg press machines?
Also I was thinking about a way to shock my muscles before they get complacent with what I've been doing. Maybe ramp up the volume and find variations for three weeks and then rest a whole week to give them some down time? I don't want to overtrain them and do all that work for no gain.
Would an increase in variety using variations and less effective but different exercises be worthwhile maybe?
And about callory intake and nutrients, I don't care too much about losing bodyfat. I don't want to loose it quick and lose any mass. But I also don't want to overconsume. I know there's calculation methods that take into account level of exercise and I follow one but I'm worried maybe I'm not getting enough calories. It's hard to tell when you're losing bodyfat and getting stronger - probably gaining lean muscle mass, all at the same time as beginners can do. Any advice on how I can really tell if I'm eating enough?
Should I consume some sugar after a heavy workout to spike insulin blood levels? My blood sugar level is really low from my diet and I am very sensitive to small amounts. I actually think I need more slow carbs and less protein.
As well as the gym there's some interesting exercise machines in a few parks I go to. Designed for rehab it has to be adapted but it's been pretty useful. There's a triceps pull down chair you're supposed to sit on and use bilaterally. I stand on a few plates on the chair and do uni triceps push downs and uni reverse grip triceps push downs and so on. I've been adapting a lot of things and relying on variety and to a lesser extent volume which has worked for getting my strength up but not so much mass and size. And yes, I aim for tenish rep sets for hypertrophy. How can I bring my legs up?
On overtraining - I basically determine a muscle / group is ready to hit when it's no longer sore from the last workout. I sometimes even do double days as a beginner to hammer my triceps or quads a second time before they've fully recovered then rest them a little longer than usual to recuperate from the two day shock workout. Is this perhaps overtraining? With