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[ Top 100 training tips ] -[ Programs] -[ Coach Ron explains ]

1. Hams are not an afterthought.
Too many times I see guys just stick in a couple of sets of hams at the end of their routines. They think this counts as a workout but strong hams are essential to healthy knees and optimal athletic performance. So train them with the same seriousness you give all other body parts.

2. Romanian deadlifts are best.
It's similar to a stiff-legged deadlift, but performed with a slight bend in the knees. Be sure to keep your spine concave or '' lordotic''. The bar should track close to your knees and shins (if it drifts too far forward or in front of you, you risk back injury). Keep the downward motion slow and controlled, while keeping a brisk, explosive upward motion.

3. Stretch the hams thoroughly after each workout.
Inflexible hams are a prerequisite to injury. Flexible hams also enhance development. I prefer an alternating split stance stretch in the upright position, leaning forward with hands down on the front leg.

4. Use higher repetitions on leg curls.
Although Romanian deadlifts are the priority, if you finish with leg curls use a repetition range above 10 although I've always preached that legs in general respond better to higher repetition, this especially holds true when utilizing the leg curl to finish hams.

5. Spend time flexing the hams.
Every now and then between sets take time to flex the hams in the same way you tense your biceps or contract you chest. Flexing a muscle will result in growth and density something too many guys forget.

6. Try combining back and hams as a workout.
I've always found this coupling of body parts to be an outstanding combination. Since we work both these body parts by primarily bending at the hip, they almost complement each other in the therapeutic way. I've also seen the most development from this duo.

7. Work with varying speed in your repetitions.
Although I prefer quick contraction and slow descent, once in a while, change the speed with which you complete repetitions. I've found, with athletes in particular, that changing speeds when training hams can have a profound stimulatory effect. Work slowly on some days and fast on other, just for occasional variety.

8. Use both flexed and extended foot angle when doing leg curls.
Pointing the toe either up (dorsi-flexion) or down (plantar flexion) can have a profound effect on ham contraction. When my feet are pointed up, I tend to feel a fatter contraction of the hams higher up on the leg. Whereas, when they're pointer down, I tend to feel a deeper contraction lower down in my hams, along with some contraction in my calves.

9. Use both tense and flaccid feet for added variation.
Most people don't think about this and simply tense their feet when leg curling. That's typically traditional, but try relaxing the feet to the point that they are flaccid. By the drop in the weight you're able to curl and the difficulty of the motion, you'll see first hand just how much your calves help the hams and contribute to the motion. By doing this you tend to isolate the hams.

10. Walking lunges work your hams, too.
Most people think of walking lunges as a quad movement and, although that may be true, if you step long enough and go down deep, you stimulate your hams as well. Along with Romanian deadlifts. This is one of my favorite hamstring and glute movement; you just have to be sure your quads are fully recovered from their own workout because they will surely catch a bit a beating.