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Hamstring Training

What are the hamstring muscles?

The hamstring is a grouping of muscles located on the posterior of the leg, and consist of the semi-membranosus, semi-tendinosus and biceps femoris (long and short head) muscles. This group of muscles is predominantly fast twitch, meaning they are an explosive muscle able to cope with heavy loads, over a short duration, however, this does not mean you should limit the training of these muscle to heavy loads.


What is the function of the hamstring?

The group of muscles that make up the hamstring muscle have two functions, hip extension, and knee flexion, though the short head of the biceps femurs is the only one of the four muscles that works across one joint, as it flexes the knee joint. An example of a hip extension exercise is the Romanian/stiff-legged deadlift, and knee flexion exercise would be any variation of a leg curl.



Posture, stretching and training

Sitting for any extended period of time can lead to retraction of the hamstrings, tilting the pelvis back and reducing the natural curvature of the spine, which may lead to vertebral injuries. It is important to stretch the hamstrings between sets, and at end of training is recommended.

Two exercises that may be used to both train and stretch the hamstring muscles are the seated or standing good morning and the Romanian/stiff-legged deadlift.



Basic Training Programme


Exercise Sets Reps Tempo Rest

A1 Lying Leg Curl (t/i) 3 8-10 4-0-1-0 60s

A2 45 Deg Back Ext 3 10-12 3-0-1-2 60s


B1 Lying Leg Curl (t/n) 3 8-10 4-0-1-0 60s

B2 Seated Good Morning 3 10-12 3-1-1-0 60s


C1 Lying Leg Curl (t/o) 3 8-10 4-0-1-0 60s

C2 Cable Pull Through 3 12-15 3-1-1-0 60s

(t/i - toes pointing inward; t/n - toes neutral; t/o - toes pointing out)


Intermediate Training Programme 1


Exercise Sets Reps Tempo Rest

A1 Clean Deadlift 3-4 6 4-0-1-0 10s

A2 Romanian Deadlift 3-4 12 3-0-1-0 10s

A3 45 Deg Back Ext 3-4 25 2-0-1-0 180s


Intermediate Training Programme 2


Exercise Sets Reps Tempo Rest

A1 Glute Ham Raise 4 6-8 3-0-1-0 10s

A2 Romanian Deadlift 4 10-12 3-1-1-0 60s


B1 Lying Leg Curl (t/n) 4 8-10 4-1-1-0 10s

B2 Reverse Hyper Ext 4 10-12 3-0-1-2 60s


C1 B/B 45 Deg Back Ext 4 10-12 3-0-1-1 10s

C2 Backwards Sled Drag 4 40m n/a 90s



Advanced Training Programme 1


Exercise Sets Reps Tempo Rest

A1 Podium Snatch D/L 3-4 6 4-0-1-0 10s

A2 Clean Deadlift 3-4 12 3-0-1-0 10s

A3 Snatch Deadlift 3-4 25 2-0-1-0 180s



Advanced Training Programme 2


Exercise Sets Reps Tempo Rest

A1 Lying Leg Curl (t/i) 6-8 5 5-0-1-0 10s

A2 Horizontal Back Ext 8-10 5 3-0-1-1 10s

A3 Standing Good Morning 10-12 5 4-0-1-0 10s

A4 Romanian Deadlift 10-12 5 3-1-1-0 180s



Advanced Training Programme 3


Exercise Sets Reps Tempo Rest

Glute Ham Raise 3-5 6-8 3-0-1-0 10s

Snatch Grip Rom D/L 3-5 8-10 3-1-1-0 10s

Lying Leg Curl (t/i) 3-5 6-8 4-0-1-0 10s

Sn Grip 45 Deg Back Ext 3-5 8-10 3-0-1-1 10s

Lying Leg Curl (t/n) 3-5 6-8 4-0-1-0 10s

Standing Good Morning 3-5 10-12 4-0-1-1 10s

Lying Leg Curl (t/o) 3-5 6-8 4-0-1-0 10s

Horizontal Back Ext 3-5 10-12 3-0-1-0 180s



Advanced Training Programme 4


AM Exercise Sets Reps Tempo Rest

A Clean Deadlift 8 3-5 3-0-X-0 240s


PM Exercise Sets Reps Tempo Rest

A Sn Grip D/L mid shin 5 4-6 5-1-X-0 180s

B Seated Good Morning 4 6-8 4-0-1-0 120s



Give this hamstring progression a go, spend three weeks on each phase. Seven phases, 21 weeks of training, and see how the performance of your hamstring improves.



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