Wits & Weights | Nutrition, Lifting, Muscle, Metabolism, & Fat Loss

Quick Wits: Best Exercises for the Hamstrings (Lifting for Muscle Series)

February 08, 2024 Philip Pape
Wits & Weights | Nutrition, Lifting, Muscle, Metabolism, & Fat Loss
Quick Wits: Best Exercises for the Hamstrings (Lifting for Muscle Series)
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Show Notes Transcript

The hamstrings are the often overlooked powerhouse behind your lower body. Last week we talked quads. Today we're going to talk about the hammies.

Philip (@witsandweights) reveals his 4 go-to exercises for building strength and size in your hamstrings in this special Lifting for Muscle Series of Quick Wits!


β€œQuick Wits” are short, 3-5 minute episodes between full episodes to give you an actionable strategy or hit of motivation.

These mini-episodes give you practical advice on fitness, training, and mindset based on my everyday experience with clients that you can implement right away.

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Philip Pape:

The hamstrings are the often overlooked powerhouse behind your lower body. Last week we talked quads. Today we're going to talk hamstrings. Join me on the lifting for muscle series of quick wits as I reveal my four go-to exercises for building strength and size in your hamstrings. Welcome to the Wits and Weights podcast. I'm your host, philip Pape, and this twice a week podcast is dedicated to helping you achieve physical self-mastery by getting stronger, optimizing your nutrition and upgrading your body composition. We'll uncover science-backed strategies for movement, metabolism, muscle and mindset, with a skeptical eye on the fitness industry, so you can look and feel your absolute best. Let's dive right in. Welcome to quick wits, where we attempt to get straight to the point. In today's episode, we're zeroing in on the hamstrings, unoverlooked but crucial for leg strength and stability. We're going to look at four exercises that I love for this. First, of course, with a barbell, is going to be the deadlift. Deadlifts are arguably for your legs and for your back and I mentioned them on the back on the very first quick wits in this series about the back as a stabilizer, but of course they are phenomenal for hamstring development, the active muscle in the hinge movement. They engage your entire posterior chain, including your glutes and hamstrings. When someone says to me and, ladies, you know who you are, I want to get bigger glutes my first question is are you squatting and deadlifting because you want to have those in, at a minimum to load those up before you get to the other movements? The key with deadlift, as we said before, is that neutral, solid back, that slight extension in the lower back, the proper hinge and strong pull to the top. There's a lot of elements that I'm not going to be able to explain here. There's some great videos about that and if you have questions, always reach out to me.

Philip Pape:

Deadlifts are number one. Number two are going to be some other hinge with a barbell, usually with a barbell, but also could be used with a dumbbell, such as Romanian deadlifts or good mornings. These isolate the hamstrings even more. I like the Romanian deadlift from the top, bringing it slowly down to the bottom, very lightly, locking the knees not locking the knees, but there's a slight bend in the knees and you're not bending them further, where it would become more of a deadlift. You're keeping them somewhat stiff or straight. Some people use the term straight leg deadlift when you do this from the ground, but a Romanian deadlift is bringing it down and feeling that tension in your hamstrings. The good morning is having the bar on your back, kind of like a high bar movement, and then hinging forward and getting the stretch in your hamstrings. Rdls focus on lifting the weight with your hips and legs and good mornings pivot around your waist. But either way, they're both really solid barbell or dumbbell movements that can give you a targeted hamstring movement and avoid some of the strain you might get from the deadlift which is going to tax other things like your back.

Philip Pape:

All right. So number three is going to be, if you have access to either of these, either a glute ham raise or Nordic curls. Now, Nordic curls you can kind of rig up in your home gym. It takes some time to set it up. Look it up online. I'm not going to explain it. You're basically just you're on your knees and you're hinging forward. Most people need a band because it's so difficult to bring yourself up unless you have sufficient strength. Glute ham raises, also known as GHR or GHD machine, is often only found in a gym, unless you're lucky enough to have one at home and you're basically just locking your legs in. Your torso is upright and then you're going forward and getting a really nice tight stretch in the hamstrings, and then you're pulling yourself back up.

Philip Pape:

The last one is, of course, going to be leg curls. Whether these are line seated or standing, they're very targeted isolation movement which allows you to focus on that mind muscle connection, that contraction, that control. They're great as a finisher in your leg workout or you can use them as a warmup for pre-exhaustion. So there you go. If you get these four things the barbell deadlift, the Romanian deadlift, the good mornings, the GHD or Nordic curls and the leg curls into your routine, you'll have some nice, well-developed, strong hamstrings. And there you have it, my top four exercises for hamstring strength and development. Thank you for tuning in to another episode of Wits and Weights. If you found value in today's episode and know someone else who's looking to level up their wits or weights, please take a moment to share this episode with them and make sure to hit the follow button in your podcast platform right now to catch the next episode. Until then, stay strong.

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