Welsh Wheels

Flex Lewis’ six steps for strong, thick, detailed legs.



Customize your hamstrings with etched in detailing

Guys who dream of crafting powerful, peeled thighs that threaten the seams of any pant leg they’re crammed into will dutifully rock squats, leg presses, hacks, extensions, and lunges until their tailor quits in protest. But then they’ll turn around, do a few sets of Romanians and halfhearted machine curls, and call it a day.

Big mistake. “My ham workouts are as brutal as my quad workouts,” Lewis brags, and rightfully so.

He begins with lying leg

curls, innocently enough as a warmup, before it morphs into a blood-soaked muscular murder scene that would make Dexter Morgan queasy. “I start off with three warmup sets, and then do four working sets,” Lewis says. “The weight increases each set, but I won’t go lower than 10 reps no matter what. I’ll go as heavy as I can while still controlling it—I remember old-school bodybuilders like Tom Prince training extremely heavy on hams and I’ve adopted that, sticking with my rule to not get stupid.”

Doesn’t sound too tough, right? Just wait. “You can get sadistic on leg curls,” Lewis intones. “On the last three working sets, could be I’ll do one set to failure at 15, then increase the weight and do butterfly kicks at the lower end, moving the stack an inch or so. All the tension is focused on the tie-in at the back of the knee to the bottom of the hamstring. I’ll do 50 reps of those until I can’t stand the pain.”

The next set, Lewis will stick with the same weight and go for 15 full reps again. “Those will be more of a struggle. Then I drop the weight in half, get as many reps as I can, and drop the weight a couple bars and go again until the hams are done.” To make sure, he’ll use rest-pause once or twice upon failing to see if he can get another rep or two.

For the last set (yep, there’s more) Lewis will gut out 10 conventional reps with an even heavier weight—full stack or close to it—then drop the pin halfway and do another 10 reps. With nary a rest, he drops the weight a few more bricks, finishes another 10 reps (with a couple seconds rest between reps as needed). From there, Lewis returns the pin to at least mid-stack and does 50 more butterfly kicks to finish the assault.

It may be hard to imagine, but from there Lewis will do two more exercises. One is a bit of badassery he calls kamikazes.“I kneel on the seat of a lat pulldown machine, facing away so my ankles are under the pads,” he explains. “I basically kamikaze dive toward floor, controlling the descent with my hams. It involves constant motion, going down toward the floor and then flexing my hamstrings to pull my body back upright. That’s one of the best exercises I brought with me from Wales.”

Don’t worry if you can’t get many reps. When Lewis resurrected the move a few years back, he could only get three the first time. Now he can get about 30 per set before face-planting in a heap.

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