Working away from isolation/machine work... hamstrings

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    Working away from isolation/machine work... hamstrings


    So usually on leg day I will focus on one main compound movement. I hit legs twice a week, usually one day with the hack squat(or some type of leg press) as the main lift and the other day ill do box squats. After this I would go to accessory work, which i dont really track as im 95% focused on the main lift. I use the accessory stuff more for the pumps/burn whatever and never follow a set rep/set scheme. I had previously been using the leg curl machines as my primary accessory movement for hammies and my knees click on them, which freaks me out in the first place, but I also feel they are not very "functional" and my goal for now is to cut out all the bull**** exercises and focus on just the heavy basic lifts. I understand the hamstring have two main functions, curling the leg and contracting at the hip (deadlift motion). If I do only straight legged deadlifts (knees slightly bent) will I be neglecting some portion of the hamstring and set myself up for an injury down the line, or will they grow unproportionally? I spend too much time in the gym as is and im just trying to cut out any unnecessary movements or lifts that I can to keep the focus on the bigger movements that will help me grow more. Im not really a powerlifter or bodybuilder, just like to be big and well proportioned.
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    This is only my opinion...,
    But I think any compound movement(s), where you are using a chain of muscles (say glutes, hams, low back, erectors, upper traps...) will build the body better, stronger and yes, nicer looking, (like a package) than any iso work. It seems to me, you can always tell guys who work mostly iso than guys who work compound lifts, since the tie in musculature looks more complete.
    That said, I feel an RDL, SLDL GM's, GHR's, or even a pull through, will work the hams (along with tying in the glutes and lower back muscle) better than say iso moves. But I am old school and don't use many if any iso moves or machines.
    Everyday strength and muscle balance and even shape/looks comes more from a movement the body will do in unison with itself, as opposed to say breaking it up into sections, then hoping the weaker areas not hit hard, will catch up or not get strained when one is using moves in everyday life.
    Lifters using compounds, will most likely be better balanced and good at functional daily movements, while looking great IMO.
    Not saying you cannot use or work iso lifts, many do and are fine, but if I can hit my hams, lats, pecs, traps, quads, erectors, delts, etc. etc. with a few compound lifts, then that is where 80%-90% of my focus and effort goes.
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    Quote Originally Posted by PaulBlack View Post
    This is only my opinion...,
    But I think any compound movement(s), where you are using a chain of muscles (say glutes, hams, low back, erectors, upper traps...) will build the body better, stronger and yes, nicer looking, (like a package) than any iso work. It seems to me, you can always tell guys who work mostly iso than guys who work compound lifts, since the tie in musculature looks more complete.
    That said, I feel an RDL, SLDL GM's, GHR's, or even a pull through, will work the hams (along with tying in the glutes and lower back muscle) better than say iso moves. But I am old school and don't use many if any iso moves or machines.
    Everyday strength and muscle balance and even shape/looks comes more from a movement the body will do in unison with itself, as opposed to say breaking it up into sections, then hoping the weaker areas not hit hard, will catch up or not get strained when one is using moves in everyday life.
    Lifters using compounds, will most likely be better balanced and good at functional daily movements, while looking great IMO.
    Not saying you cannot use or work iso lifts, many do and are fine, but if I can hit my hams, lats, pecs, traps, quads, erectors, delts, etc. etc. with a few compound lifts, then that is where 80%-90% of my focus and effort goes.
    He's not asking so much about iso work as he's trying to find good ways to train knee flexion. You partially answered it by recommending GHR which is a great option for knee flexion. Zir Red had a nice contribution to a thread with a list of exercises but off the top of my head you could do supine hamstring curls/glute bridges with a stability ball, hamstring curls with valslides (or any furniture slides work as well) or the GHR
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    Having had patellar tendonitis for years due to jump training for college, I can tell you that RDL's are a great way to gain overall strength and mass in your hammies, but it also helps with proportional strength vs. your quads. If your leg strength ratio is out of whack it leads to other issues such as knee problems, perhaps the clicking you speak of. I used to split my leg days so it was quads and calves one day, hamstrings and calves a few days later. I saw some serious growth in both strength and size when I started to split them like that. I would also do sets fo RDL's then sets hamstring curls after and my hamstrings would be sore for days after, compared to very little soreness when I did one OR the other. That's how I knew that combination worked, and stuck with it for a long time. You can also try doing Russian hamstring curls, or they are also called nordics. I've heard other names for them, but look them up, they are a great strengthener.
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    The short head of the biceps femoris plays a role in knee stabilization, and it is only active during knee flexion movements, so you wouldn't want to totally eliminate hamstring curls.
    You should, in my opinion, eliminate the hamstring curl machine, and (as others said) stick to movements that involve active stabilization at the hip and core. Watch people in the gym doing HS curls on a machine, especially prone, and you will see that a big part of the movement is created through anterior pelvic tilt (i.e.: major arching of the lower back to complete the movement). On the other hand, when you do swiss ball hamstring curls or supine hamstring curls (video below) you have to stabilize the hip with the glutes, psoas and core, and it does not allow for this deviation. This then requires your hamstrings to act predominantly at the knee.

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    Good vid ^^^ and thanks for that Jason...!
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    Quote Originally Posted by tnubs View Post
    So usually on leg day I will focus on one main compound movement. I hit legs twice a week, usually one day with the hack squat(or some type of leg press) as the main lift and the other day ill do box squats. After this I would go to accessory work, which i dont really track as im 95% focused on the main lift. I use the accessory stuff more for the pumps/burn whatever and never follow a set rep/set scheme. I had previously been using the leg curl machines as my primary accessory movement for hammies and my knees click on them, which freaks me out in the first place, but I also feel they are not very "functional" and my goal for now is to cut out all the bull**** exercises and focus on just the heavy basic lifts. I understand the hamstring have two main functions, curling the leg and contracting at the hip (deadlift motion). If I do only straight legged deadlifts (knees slightly bent) will I be neglecting some portion of the hamstring and set myself up for an injury down the line, or will they grow unproportionally? I spend too much time in the gym as is and im just trying to cut out any unnecessary movements or lifts that I can to keep the focus on the bigger movements that will help me grow more. Im not really a powerlifter or bodybuilder, just like to be big and well proportioned.
    Your gym dont got a GHR setup?

    Good mornings would be a good option too... OR you can just man up and follow the pdf I sent you this morning
    "The only good is knowledge and the only evil is ignorance." - Socrates
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    These are also great to do:

    Always open light. Itís not what you open with, itís what you finish with. Louie Simmons
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    If you don't have access to a GHR, Ham Killers are a solid option. I add them in place of GHRs when I want to switch things up a bit.

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