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Thread: Hamstring exercises question

  1. #1
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    Default Hamstring exercises question

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    I have a question on working hamstrings that is purely out of curiosity. In my old program before I began NLP, I used to perform both RDL's along with either Nordic or Sliding Leg Curls. This way I worked both ends and muscles in the hamstring, which cover both the hip and knee hinges. My question is not about the necessity or not of these exercises, since I see these as assistance or additional exercises and only so long as they don't interfere with the main lifts.

    My question is rather about the hamstring function. In real-world athletic performance, other than something similar to a reverse or roundhouse kick in martial arts that requires full-power flexion of the knee joint, is there anything else that benefits working that side of the muscle group that the main compound lifts don't work?

  2. #2
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    Squats work hamstrings more than they should: see Lombardís paradox.

  3. #3
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    Thanks for the reply, that's been my suspicion too. My question came from talking to a friend and how many coaches and PT's these days recommend performing exercises that work each function of the hamstring - like I used to do. But since starting NLP, I believe I've only done any sort of leg curl once or twice, and it was much easier to do than before. The main benefit I feel I would get out of bodyweight leg curls now would be mostly glute development, and the RDL is quite good for that.

    I have come to feel that the current view among the PT community is misguided, because most athletes who have hamstring injuries are those who do predominantly machine leg curls only, but they seem to feel that replacing machine curls with RDL's or squat variations won't strengthen the knee junction. But, surprise surprise, I'm finding that just doing low bar squats has increased my strength in bodyweight leg curls. I was telling this to my friend that I feel the PT community that their current view to keep doing leg curls is unnecessary, and confirmed by my own results in NLP training What you just said confirmed that too. Thanks.

  4. #4
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    If you are playing a sport where hamstring injuries are prevalent, like maybe soccer, then Nordic Hamstring Curls may be worth doing, as they have been shown to reduce injury risk:

    Including the Nordic hamstring exercise in injury prevention programmes halves the rate of hamstring injuries: a systematic review and meta-analysis of 8459 athletes | British Journal of Sports Medicine

    If you just want to have stronger than average hamstrings, squats/deads/RDLs are probably plenty.

  5. #5
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    A CTRL-F search fails to find the words "squat" or "deadlift" in this paper. I think the paper actually says that this sillyass "NHE" thing is better than absolutely nothing, but saying they may be worth doing when FAR better options for training hamstring strength are available is an incomplete assessment, and is arch-typical of the ExFizz "literature."

  6. #6
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    starting strength coach development program
    LOL!!! Thanks for the chuckle Rip, it's certainly a more light-hearted statement than I used. Yes, that was probably the study that the modern "trainers" are going off, and I believe it's really only meaning, if the only thing you do is bench or machine hamstring curls, the NHE or sliding curls are better choice, since they're supposedly using both ends of the chain on the femur. But as I progress in low-bar squats, I'm finding I get plenty of hamstring and glute strengthening - as I witnessed by trying the above after a couple months doing only low-bar and deadlifts for posterior chain. If I want more, RDL's do just as well for me.

    Rip, I did not doubt what you wrote in the book or have said about the compound exercises. But I admit I was surprised by just how much additional contribution and growth is given to the hamstrings and glutes simply by moving the bar down 3 inches on my back. And my old-guy knees thank me (and you) for it too.

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