Zev, Nate Dogg and Others: Hammies!

Zev and Nate: You guys brought up a VERY intriguing thought on Michelle’s “extentions” thread that can be summed up in Zev’s comment:“If you stop focusing on the knee flexion function of your hammies and start focusing on the back extension function, you can switch things up and induce all kinds of new growth”. It would be GREAT to hear a little more thought and detail from you guys and others. The “Mags” seem to make all Curls (they have REALLY been on a “Single Standing Leg Curl” kick lately) “the” ham exercise.

Coach Davies has made me realize that training the hamstrings as an extensor is much more important than training it as a flexor. Have you noticed how so many top athletes have hamstring pulls and problems? I think a lot of that has to do with the fact that they don’t train their hamstrings hard enough or with the proper exercises. Have you seen some football player’s workouts? They emphasize the leg curl as the main hamstring exercise.

Yet, the hamstrings work as extensors in all running and sprinting. So why train it as a flexor? You’ll do your body a favor by focusing on deadlifts, stiff-legged deadlifts, reverse hypers, glute-ham raises, good mornings, deep squats (front and back), lunges and sprinting! Since incorporating Coach Davies’ workouts, I have noticed an increase in speed and strength with my hamstrings. This has always been a weakness of mine, but I can already feel the difference. Not to mention the fact that my hamstrings are always sore from all the work! I haven’t done any leg curls in quite a while, and I don’t feel like I’m missing anything. I’m sure for variation they are worth doing. But I would definitely focus on the hammies as extensors. The carryover will be much more beneficial. :slight_smile:

I like tc’s hamstring exeercise i think it was in studies that changed the world or something like that not so long ago.

Like I said before, I could never get my hams to grow for shit until I dropped curls from my routine entirely and began using only deadlift variations (lately I’ve been adding in some reverse hypers and glute-ham raises, and those seem to be good too). Seriously, my hams have grown more in the last nine months than they did in the previous eight years. I attribute the difference in results between curl and deadlift variations to a couple of things:

  1. Deadlift variations are more neurologically taxing. There’s no stabilization function in curling on a machine, but there is with free weight deadlift variations. It’s like the difference between leg pressing and squatting. Most everyone would agree that squatting is a better leg developer, and the reason (to a great degree) is that it requires more neurological and stabilization work than a guided leg press machine does.
  2. You can go heavier with deadlifts than with curls. More weight equals more muscle tension. Since the hammies are predominantly fast-twitch anyway, they like the heavy weights and low reps.

As for why the muscle rags evince such a fondness for unilateral standing leg curls, who knows. Maybe it’s because you “feel” your hammies working more when doing them than when doing deadlifts. However, “feeling” a movement does not necessarily mean that you’re growing from it. After all, you “feel” cable crossovers in your chest more than bench presses, but no one ever built big pecs using only crossovers.
So, bottom line, Mufasa, if you’ve neglected the hip extensor function of your hammies in your training, I’d strongly recommend rectifying the situation. Your legs will thank you.
P.S.: As a bonus, focusing on deadlifts has really increased my squat weights and improved my ab and upper back strength as well.

i am not sure i can even think of a “real world excercie” that you use your hamstrings very much as a flexor.

Bodybuilders like the flexion movements because they don’t involve the hamstring down in the area behind the knee. You take someone who’s been doing glute hams for a couple of years and they’ll have a thick muscle that appears to join the calf and hamstring together. I kind’ve like it myself

Didn’t TC write an article on training hamstrings just a couple of weeks ago?

Here’s an exercise that’s really killed my hams–stiff-legged DLs standing on a wedged board or 2x4 (toes elevated).

Charles Glass and many of the Pros advocate “Toes Elevated” SLDL’s…it gives a good pre-stretch…

The best ham “routine” I’ve ever done is WSB - which is all about train ing the hams as extensors. Live on GMs and reverse hypers and your hams will grow, plain and simple.