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Effective Hamstring Training for REAL Results

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Working through a lower body workout yesterday and the supplemental work included glute ham raises (GHR). As I’ve said many times when talking about programming volume for the lower body, your posterior chain work should include strength targeting the hamstring at the knee (GHR, sliding leg curls, banded seated leg curls) and at the hip (RDL’s, kb swings, back raises).

The Critical Setup Factor

As you can see in both pics above, there is a difference in knee placement on the pad. This simple setup variation will completely change the intensity of the exercise.

When the knee is on the pad – at approximately up 1/3 to 1/2 way on the back of the pad – the fulcrum is at the knee and the moment arm is the longest. Meaning the weight of the athlete’s entire torso, from the knee to the top of their head, is acting at the knee. This is the hardest and most intense setup.

If you move the foot plate back (as in the 2nd picture), and allow the knees to drop behind the pad when the athlete flexes their hamstrings and fires their glutes, the advantage changes. The start of the movement actually assists the athlete in flexing the knee and shortening the distance between the hamstrings and calves. The 2nd setup, while still powerfully engaging the calves, hamstrings, and glutes, is much easier.

Why is This Important?

Knowing the difference in how you setup on the GHR and why this changes the intensity of the movement, you can setup a simple dropset that blast the hamstrings if your goal is strength AND muscle mass.

1A] GHR (Position 1): 3-4 sets x 3-5 reps
1B] GHR (Position 2): 3-4 sets x AMRAP

To add even more of a regression / progression continuum, the following step-wise competency can be added to your coaches exercise database. Work from the center up and down depending on how your athlete presents ON THAT TRAINING DAY!

GHR with Explosive Back Raise (Position 2)
GHR with Band-Assistance (Position 2)
GHR (Position 2)
BASELINE: GHR (Position 1)
GHR with Slow Eccentrics (Position 1)
GHR with Elevation (Position 1)
GHR with Weight (Position 1)
GHR with Band-Resistance (Position 1)

By on March 6th, 2017

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