Training Rules for Huge Hamstrings

The best hardgainer strategy for building ham-sized hamstrings.

Training Rules for Huge Hamstrings
Kevin Horton

As a hardgainer, hanging hamstrings are probably near the bottom of your wish list. In a contest, vertical-blind lines in a rear shot or half-basket- balls from the side can make the difference between first and fourth, but those not planning to pose in public typically focus much more on arms or chest or even quads, leg curling comes almost as an afterthought. Get with the program. Your hams are much larger than, for example, your biceps, and building additions to this area fills out your legs, maintains a strength balance with your quads (thus preventing injuries) and, because of their relative size, packs on lean pounds faster than some showier parts. Our huge hamstring workout gives this crucial bodypart the stimulus it needs to maximize your mass appeal. 


Part of the reason hamstrings don’t receive the respect they deserve from noncompetitive bodybuilders is they’re typically tossed into a “leg workout.” This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t train hams with quads. Indeed, this program prescribes just such a pairing. However, you need to think of each bodypart as having its own workout. This may be merely a semantic discrepancy, but it can make a great difference in your approach. Too often trainers simply tack on a few lazy sets of leg curls after a grueling barrage of squats and leg presses. Likewise, as part of shoulder training, they’ll pitch in some shrugging after destroying delts, and, at the end of an arm workout, they’ll warm down with a couple sets of wrist curls. The focus and intensity will invariably be greater if you give hamstrings, trapezius and forearms their own workouts, making them the center of attention during the corresponding exercises, and not merely a part of a greater whole. 


This may seem to contradict rule 1, but it is actually complementary. You should provide each bodypart with its own individual workout, but always remain aware that most bodyparts are trained to a lesser degree with others. For example, hamstrings will get some work during squats and leg presses for quads, as well as during deadlifts for back. As another example, triceps will be stressed during pressing movements for both chest and shoulders. Generally speaking, the sort of compound lifts that involve two or more bodyparts are the best mass-gainers and thus they play principle roles in this routine. Although your focus should remain on the primary target muscles during compound lifts, be aware of the secondary muscles. As we will discuss in coming months, sometimes you may want to reduce the secondary involvement, via techniques like pre-exhaust or lockout avoidance, and yet, even then, secondary muscles will provide support. Embrace it, for this sort of synergy boosts growth and overall strength.


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