If I’ve seen it once, I’ve seen it a thousand times. It all comes back to that age-old adage, “Out of sight, out of mind.” Dudes in gyms across the country and around the world bust their ass to blow up their quads and then do a couple of sets of leg curls, if that, before they head on out the door. The result? Puny hamstrings. Do they know how weak that looks? Big quads without big hams are like steak without potatoes, titties without... Fuck it, you get the point. Now, don’t think I’m being judgmental. At least they train legs. Shit, the majority of the training world is made of what I call “half bodybuilders” who wouldn’t know a squat rack from a hat rack.
But you are not one of them. You are the real deal. You know that the importance of each muscle group is equal and thus equally deserving of your attention, effort and scrutiny. You’d never think of training tris and skating past bis or blasting your chest and skipping back day. Such is the attitude with which you must approach your hamstring training. Stretch and contract, hard and heavy until your hammies bulge through the back of your sweatpants, pulsating with blood, growing into grizzly steel cables fortifying your posterior. This is the real shit, bro. This is what the people paid to see. Time to get nasty.
Exercise #6: Stiff-Legged Deadlifts
For these you’ll need to steal one of those steps out of the aerobics class. Now don’t worry… the Richard Simmons-looking instructor in the leotards wouldn’t dare stop you. Load a barbell with a conservative amount of weight, assuring that you will be able to control it throughout the entire set. Stand on the step and grab the barbell assuming the top position of a traditional deadlift. With your feet together, you want to slowly lower the barbell keeping your lower back arched and your knees straight. Continue to lower the barbell as far as possible while maintaining good form. Accentuate the stretch. This is the key to the exercise. Now slowly stand up, stopping before lockout, not giving your lower back a chance to contract. You are going to do this for three sets, pyramiding the weight from 15 reps, to 12 to 8 heavy reps on you last set.
Exercise #7: High Platform Leg Press
Limp over to the leg press and place your feet as high as possible on the platform. This foot placement emphasizes the role the hamstrings play in the movement. You will be able to handle some serious tonnage in this position, but each rep must be done deliberately to ensure that the hammies are the primary muscle pushing up the weight. Driving through your heels and flexing your hamstrings hard at the top of each rep, you will complete three sets of 12, 10 and 8 reps respectively.
Exercise #8: Superset: Seated Leg Curls w/Standing Unilateral Leg Curls
You didn’t really think you were gonna get out of here this easily, did you? Remember, there are no shortcuts in this game and nothing traditional about becoming a freak. You must test your limits and push past them. Load a seated leg curl machine with enough weight to complete 12 strict reps, do the same with the standing hamstring apparatus. You must now complete both exercises in succession without pause. Raise the weight for two more supersets, being mindful of the pace of the exercise: explode up, squeeze your ass off at the top, and lower slowly. Master your form, focus on each rep and feel your hamstrings explode with fresh growth.
So that is leg day. Crushing your quads, searing your calves and wringing the life from your hamstrings. This is primal and visceral. It’s ugly and gruesome. This is the law of the jungle applied to modern society. Survival of the fittest, motherfucker. Enduring shit in the gym everyday that would bring the average poser to his knees. But then again, it’s just another day at the office for you. You know that next week you’ll have to up the ante, and be better than you were today, be more than you are right now. This is the path of the champion. March on.