Training for Ham Strength
- 06-23-2009, 02:47 PM
Training for Ham Strength
Here is my dilemma.
My knees are giving me a bit of trouble, so much so that even walking on a treadmill is now out of the question (unless I want to have knee pain for days).
I was informally discussing this quandry with a gym acquaintance of mine who happens to be a physical therapist. He was going through some possible causes of the knee discomfort that I am feeling, and the most likely cause of my knee pain is the difference in strength between my quads and hams.
My quads are very strong, and they get a thorough workout on leg day. However, I really only train hamstrings as an afterthought. I typically will do three or so sets of seated leg curls at the end of my leg workout and call it a day. My hams look decent enough, so I never really worried about it, but now it appears as though I have to correct this imbalance.
All the gym has is a seated leg curl machine, and since this is a "fitness oriented establishment" none of the machines have any impressive weights on the rack. The only movement that I know to do other than these seated leg curls would be stiff leg dead lifts. I am generally reluctant to do this movement because I train my entire leg on the same day, and I don't know how wise it would be to do squats and deadlifts during the same workout. I also tend to enjoy regular deadlifts, and do those on back day (which is a very taxing workout, and I don't want to add hams in on that day).
So what do the gurus here at AM think? Do you guys know of any bodyweight exercises or dumbbell movements that I can incorporate to get these hams up to speed?
Any and all advice is appreciated.
- 06-23-2009, 03:25 PM
You do not want to be doing leg curls. You want to strengthen your entire posterior chain. It will create more strength. Pullthroughs, Dimmel and Romanian deadlift, Stiff leg deadlifts, 45 degree hypers, Goodmornings, the list goes on and on. Most gym goers have a pretty week posterior chain in regards to their quads. It is usually not just thier hams.
If your lucky enough to have them the reverse hyper and glute ham raise are ideal.
06-23-2009, 04:09 PM
Also, make sure you stretch adequately. If you don't stretch all of your leg properly, the muscle imbalances will tighten and shorten the muscles and lead to unnatural pulling on one side of your joints. Get your PT to show you some exercises for increasing flexibility as well.
My buddy has rediculously tight hams and can barely squat correctly b/c of it. He doesn't stretch like he should. Also my wife had problems with her knees a few years ago b/c she wore high heels all the time. I know you don't, but her calf was in a flexed position 10 hous a day or more, so her calves and achillies tightened up big time. Had to have some therapy to loosen them up again.
06-23-2009, 05:34 PM
Dont worry too much about doing squats and stiff deads together. As long as you squat correctly you should have no problem with doing them together. When doing stifflegs make sure ur form is perfect and completely isolate ur hams.Most people cant do stiff legs to save their life and end up incorporating lower back and who knows wat else. Make sure you stick ur butt out and rock back a lil on ur heels lower the weight till you feel the pull in ur hams then come back up using all hams. If you do them right ur hams should get massive. As far as reg deads just space back and legs out enough to recover and you should be golden. Hope this helps
06-23-2009, 11:45 PM
06-23-2009, 11:57 PM
06-24-2009, 10:37 AM
Thanks for the replies, I appreciate the feedback.
I am going to incorporate Rah's stiff leg suggestion for right now, and see how that works out.
I will let you guys know how this goes.
06-24-2009, 09:54 PM
06-24-2009, 10:37 PM
06-25-2009, 05:32 PM
06-25-2009, 06:39 PM
06-25-2009, 07:12 PM
06-25-2009, 07:48 PM
06-26-2009, 12:06 PM
To lower the weight, push your hips back as you go down and feel the hams stretch. Go as far as the stretch will allow, keeping your back flat and tight(activating erector spinae muscles). To come up, push your hips forward reversing direction as you come up, and squeeze your cheeks like you are trying to hold one in because you are about 100 feet from the throne and have explosive diarhea. This will "TARGET" your hams much more than your back.
If you just break at the waist and bend over to lower the weight, then just raise back up, with your hips in virtually the same plane, this will "TARGET" your ERECTOR SPINAE much more than the hams.
It just seems like you enjoy arguing over semantics and simple wording as opposed to discussing differences of opinion, theory, principles, etc. We all know you are always right by now, so save yourself some mental energy. Say your piece, which is helpful and educated, since you do give backup to what you say. That part I am sincere about. But you seem to go on and on over semantics and wording or phraseology, and that just makes people mad and resent you.
You do have useful and helpful knowledge, and I do appreciate that.
06-26-2009, 05:50 PM
06-27-2009, 06:57 PM
06-27-2009, 09:38 PM
I recommend ham curls, back extensions, romanian deadlifts and good mornings. Also play around with foot positioning on the leg press. Feet up higher and a bit wider to work the hams and glutes. Be careful lowering that your butt stays down and does NOT roll as you lower weight.
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