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To Strengthen Hamstrings

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To Strengthen Hamstrings

Old 11-16-22, 12:30 PM
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To Strengthen Hamstrings

What are some proven recommendations for strengthening hamstrings for a cyclist who seeks to improve climbing?
I am considering hiring a "physio" or trainer to correct a significant muscular imballance I developed years ago during some substancial weight training. That is, while doing leg work, my hamstrings would not fire and all my squats and leg curls where developing my calves instead of my hamstrings. Today, while cycling, my calves are fatiquing from doing so much of the work while my hamstrings are not being engaged.
Training my body to get my hamstrings to fire would be the best way to describe what I'm looking for.

All useful and productive comments are welcomed.
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Old 11-16-22, 06:09 PM
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Barbell stiff legged deadlifts:

Been doing them for years. Note that the knees are NOT locked. They keep a slight angle throughout the exercise. I use a tiny bit more knee bend than shown in the video. Note that the bar almost touches the shins on the way up and down. I briefly pause at the bottom so as to eliminate the possibility of bouncing at the bottom and thus putting on more stress then just the weight of the bar. Keep your back flat. Start light, say 50#, and gradually work you way up over time. I never used more than 135. Main thing is not to damage a tendon or tear a meniscus. Take it easy, don't try to lift as much as possible. 3 sets of 12 reps to keep the weight down, nice and slow, not exploding on the way up..

On the bike, pull back at the bottom, enough that you can feel pressure in your heel cups and relaxing your calves, i.e. not pointing the toes down. You can extend that maybe 30° up the backstroke before your hip flexors try to take over. Don't try to lift the pedal with the hip flexors, just your leg, but lift it with a tiny bit of pressure in the heel cup until you get over half the way up, at which point your hams will have stopped contracting and you lift your toe and start pushing forward with your quads.
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Old 11-17-22, 07:22 AM
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Deadlifts, and definitely starting with knees bent. I hate the hamstring curl machine.
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Old 11-17-22, 12:19 PM
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Originally Posted by MoAlpha View Post
Deadlifts, and definitely starting with knees bent. I hate the hamstring curl machine.
The hamstring curls have contributed to the muscular imbalance I have today because for way too many years only my calves were activating and my hamstrings did not. Poor execution on my part.
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Old 11-17-22, 01:29 PM
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Deadlifts are what helped strengthen not only my hamstrings, but virtually my entire posterior chain, from lower back down. After doing proper deadlifts (traditional deadlifts) I would really feel it in my glutes and hamstrings, but also a little in the lowerback (not much) and also a little in my calves.

I never felt this activation in my posterior chain, until I watched a video on deadlifting and corrected my technique, before this I'd mostly feel really bad in my back, thanks to my poor technique.

However, it's important to note that this exercise must be done with a traditional straight bar, like in the video. Using those Trap (or Hex) bars are no good for doing actual deadlifts. When using that type bar, you're actually doing more of a traditional squat as opposed to a deadlift. I never come away after use of a Trap bar feeling like I exercised my posterior chain.


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Old 11-17-22, 04:44 PM
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Kettlebell swings is my favorite posterior chain exercise. Much safer than deadlifts, more carry over to other activities, they build strength and endurence and they won't fatigue your CNS like heavy deadlifts.
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Old 11-22-22, 01:53 PM
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I've been doing deadlifts for years. Then I started doing Romanian deadlift for more focus on the hamstrings.

However, in the past few months I switched over to sitting leg curl machine and the leg press for some real isolation at high reps (15 to 20) to failure.

And I do feel the benefits when I cycle.

Last edited by Daniel4; 11-22-22 at 10:34 PM.
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Old 11-22-22, 07:27 PM
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fwiw - I use the machine, in the gym circuit, that I use. I use a weight that I can do 15 reps with. how many sets I do, depends on how much time I have that day
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Old 11-28-22, 01:39 PM
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Originally Posted by bigblackcrank View Post
Pedal standing on a stationary bike with the heels down can do the trick. Pedaling heels down will relax and disengage your calves and doing it while standing will likely engage the glutes (butt muscles) and also the hamstrings on the downstroke. I found it effective workout for both the glutes and hamstrings if either muscles is weak. You'll need to ease yourself into this training. Start easy or you can potentially injure your ankle joint as you relax the calves by pointing the heels down.
Thanks for your input.
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Old 12-01-22, 04:25 PM
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I've been doing glute bridges, first a set of two-legged, then a set of one-legged (each side).

It works both the glutes and the hamstrings.




It's helpful to do a quad stretch before doing glute bridges:


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Old 12-02-22, 09:17 AM
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Originally Posted by terrymorse View Post
...


Without hands, if you hold a soccer ball or just squeeze a balloon between your ankle and your glute, you'll get a good hamstring workout.
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Old 12-12-22, 07:03 AM
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Originally Posted by wolfchild View Post
Kettlebell swings is my favorite posterior chain exercise. Much safer than deadlifts, more carry over to other activities, they build strength and endurence and they won't fatigue your CNS like heavy deadlifts.
Jesus I'm going to have to agree with Wolfchild here!
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Old 12-12-22, 10:38 AM
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Originally Posted by wolfchild View Post
Kettlebell swings is my favorite posterior chain exercise. Much safer than deadlifts, more carry over to other activities, they build strength and endurence and they won't fatigue your CNS like heavy deadlifts.
I also like these for the same reasons, but I don't include them in my strength routines until April 1.

I don't do normal deadlifts. The only thing like that I do is dumbbell deadlifts, 4 fast sets of 10, total no more than 85% bodyweight. Works. I do those until Jan. 1.
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Old 12-13-22, 01:55 PM
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I've been adding in these "second position grand plié" exercises lately to work the quads, glutes, and hamstrings simultaneously. They also target the calf muscles.

When done right, these are killer. I did a set this morning, and my legs are pretty wiped.




Instructions:
  1. In your natural turnout, step wide to a second position.
  2. Rise up on to the balls of your feet.
  3. Keeping your heels high and spreading all toes across the floor, bend your knees to sit in to a deep plié.
  4. Stretch your legs to come back to the high relevé position. Repeat the bend and stretch action eight to 16 times.
  5. Hold the last plié and perform eight to 16 pulses, then lower and lift heels eight to 16 times and then hold your position in deep second position plié for eight counts.
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Old 12-14-22, 07:37 AM
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The effectiveness of resistance training for maintaining bone density is uncertain, but there's some evidence that the negative studies didn't use enough resistance. I'm putting as much weight as I safely can on the squats and deads for this reason. Shock loading is the best thing, but I can't do much of that for other reasons.
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