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Deadlifting with your knees straight targets your hamstrings
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Women looking to build size in their hamstrings may have a bit greater challenge ahead of them than men due to hormonal differences, but with the appropriate training program, they'll still see significant developments. The hamstrings, which are a collection of three muscles at the back of your upper thigh, take on two responsibilities. They primarily head up knee flexion, or when you bend your knee against resistance, but they also help your gluteus maximus with extending your hips. For women to make their hamstrings bigger, they've got to compile a battery of knee flexion and hip extension exercises, and complete them at a volume and intensity that's designed to build muscle.1.
Work out your hamstrings two days per week. Traditional strength training calls for a day off between each workout, but you'll be performing high-volume workouts. That schedule will break down the muscle tissue in your hamstrings, so you'll want to give them two days off to fully recover. Try a Monday and Thursday or a Tuesday and Friday schedule.
Perform three to six sets of six to 12 reps of each hamstring exercise you incorporate into your session. According to Jessica Matthews of the American Council on Exercise, that training volume is most effective for building mass. Give your hamstrings just 30 to 90 seconds of rest time between sets.3.
Begin your session with straight-leg deadlifts. You want to complete compound, multi-joint exercises first before moving onto isolation exercises that specifically target your hamstrings. Straight-leg deadlifts are performed with a weighted barbell. Hold the barbell down at the front of your thighs with your hands in an overhand grip and positioned at shoulder width. Keep your knees straight, but not locked, and bend forward at the waist. The bar should remain close to your thighs and lower legs. After your back is parallel to the floor, rise back up to a full standing position to finish the rep.4.
Move on to the barbell good morning exercise, which is an isolation activity that specifically targets your hamstrings. The movement is similar to straight-leg deadlifts, except that instead of holding the barbell in front of your thighs, you hold it securely against the back of your shoulders. Keep your back straight and bend forward at the waist, continuing until your torso is parallel to the floor. Rise back up to full standing position.5.
Finish your workout with lying hamstring curl on a machine. Lie face down on the machine with the back of your lower legs securely against the leg pads. Bend your knees to lift the pads up and back toward your glutes as far as you can. Slowly straighten your legs to control the pad back to starting position to complete the rep.6.
Fuel the muscle-building process by consuming an adequate amount of calories and protein. Dr. Joseph A. Chromiak of the National Strength and Conditioning Association recommends consuming .65 to .8 grams of protein for every pound you weigh on a daily basis. He also notes that taking in about 250 extra calories per day will offer enough fuel to put on a half pound of muscle per week.
- Women naturally possess lower levels of muscle-building hormones than men, but they can facilitate their own gains in muscle mass by taking in a meal of protein and carbohydrates within 30 minutes of completing each weight-training workout. Doing so helps ensure your body has the nutrients and fuel it needs to take on the muscle-building process.
- See your doctor to make sure it's safe for you to start a new workout program.