Friday, March 16, 2012

How to Train Your Hamstrings Trouble Zones

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Tighten, tone and build your hamstrings. The hamstrings are made up of three muscles called biceps femoris, semitendinosus and semimembranous. These muscles are attached to the pelvic bone and the tibia. NOW HOW TO TRAIN THEM?

Ok, so this part you might not care to know or rather just find out what exercises you need. I understand. So here we go.

4 SETS 15 REPS of each exercise

Lower Hamstring Area:

Hamstring curl Prone Machine (on tummy)

Note: Be careful not to bend past 90 degrees with heavy weight. Try to keep your hips firmly planted on the bench while executing this lift. If your hips are lifting up high on each rep, this is a signal that the weight is too heavy. Be sure to pause at the peak of the muscle contraction.

Standing Leg Curl

picture from men's health

  • Attach a padded foot strap to a low-cable pulley. Loop your right foot through the strap and stand facing the weight stack, holding the machine for balance.
  • Curl your heel back toward your bum. Pause, then lower the foot and repeat.
  • Finish your repetitions with your right leg, then switch the strap to your left foot and repeat.
Tips: between curls, try keeping your leg straight while raising it behind you.
Stop when you feel tension in your hamstrings, then bring your leg forward again.

Standing Hamstring Curl with Band
picture from women's health mag
  • Grab an exercise band and fasten it around your ankles.
  • Place your left toe on the floor behind you.
  • Shift your weight to your right leg and slowly lift your left foot as high as possible behind you.
  • Hold for 2 seconds, then lower.
  • Do all reps, then switch legs.
Seated Hamstring Curl: Adjust the seat so your knees line up with the bend of the machine.
Upper Hamstring Area:

Stiff Legged Deadlift

  • Stand with shoulder width or narrower stance on shallow platform with feet flat beneath bar. Bend knees and bend over with lower back straight.
  • Grasp barbell or dumbbell with shoulder width overhand or mixed grip, shoulder width or slightly wider. Lift weight to standing position.
  • Lower bar to top of feet by bending hips.
  • Bend knees slightly during descent and keep waist straight, flexing only slightly at bottom.
  • With knees bent, lift bar by extending at hips until standing upright.
  • Pull shoulders back slightly if rounded. Extend knees at top if desired. Repeat
Note: Try shortening the range of motion by only coming back up 7/8 of the way. This will greatly intensify the lift with greater time under tension.

Good Morning

picture from Men's Fitness
  • Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, body upright, core braced and shoulders back.
  • Rest the bar across the back of your shoulders, not your neck, and grasp it with your hands just outside your shoulders.
  • Bend forward from the hips, not the waist, and bend your knees slightly.
  • Lean as far forward as the stretch in your hamstrings will allow (but not beyond the horizontal).
  • Keep a natural arch in your lower back.
  • Push your hips back to maintain balance.
Note: Remember to stick your butt out and keep the arch in the small of your back to protect your low back during this lift.

Ball Hyperextension
Ball Hyperextension
picture from RepMag
  • Lie facedown on an exercise ball so that your hips and lower abdomen are at the apex of the ball.
  • Anchor your feet in the crook of a wall or underneath a sturdy object and allow your head and shoulders to relax along the curve of the ball.
  • Place both hands behind your head, with your elbows flared.
Note: Keeping the ball steady, slowly lift your upper body off the ball until you’re in a straight line from head to heel—don’t go any higher. Pause for a moment and slowly lower back to the starting position.

Hyperextension Machine

  • Start by getting on the hyperextension machine. With your feet tucked into the machine, your legs and hips should be face down. The upper body should be hanging over the edge of the machine and free to rise up and down. Keep your hands either behind your head or crossed in front of your body.
  • Slowly lower the trunk of your upper body towards the floor. Rise until your body is straight. Lower and repeat. Remember to keep your motion fluid, slow and under control. Don't rock or swing your body.
  • After you are comfortable with the exercise and have built some strength in your lower back, hold a hand weight to increase the resistance.
Note: Remember to keep your head in line with your body while going through the movement.

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