He that is good for making excuses is seldom good for anything else.
I don’t have enough time…
I don’t have enough money…
I don’t have the equipment…
I’m REALLY busy…
No more excuses, only solutions. Problems without solutions, are just complaints, and if you don’t want to be a complainer you have two options:
- Option #1: Present a problem and give possible solutions…
- Option #2: See the problem and fix the problem…
This mindset is just as important in life as it is in training. If you need a mind-check try reading 8 Things Einstein Taught me About Fitness, How to Improve the Greatest Human Strength or The Art of Weight Loss (what no one talks about)
So, let’s talk hacks, or rather, creative training solutions.
Because a hack is really just a solution.
What are we “hacking”?
Who cares about hamstrings?
First, let me start with asking you a few questions:
- Do you want healthy knees?
- Would you like to run faster?
- Would it be nice to jump higher?
- Do you want to squat more weight?
- How about deadlift more weight?
Then you need to strengthen your hamstrings!
There is a GOOD CHANCE your hamstrings are undertrained…
In the bodybuilding world you see guys (the non-serious bodybuilders) with chicken legs and a swole upper body.
In the functional fitness world you see a lot of guys who are quad dominate, and never train hamstrings.
I could take some of the strongest guys in a CrossFit box, take them over to a globo gym and put them on the lying leg curl machine for 3 sets of 10 reps and they wouldn’t walk right for a week.
However, I bet if I put them in the quadricep extension machine at the globo gym, for the same workout, they wouldn’t be sore at all.
Do you think this is because the hamstring is some baby muscle that can’t handle exercise, or because they are rarely trained properly?
I’ll let you decide.
If you plan on doing any cutting, running, jumping, or any other stuff humans were designed to do, and you have weak hamstrings, you are asking to be injured.
So what’s a good way to train hamstrings? Two different studies show…
The most effective exercises for hamstrings are:
- Glute ham raise
- Lying leg curl
The next best exercises for hamstring are:
- Good morning
- Single-leg deadlift
- Romanian deadlift
In the minimal equipment world, a glute-ham raise machine and a leg curl machine are pretty expensive.
However, good mornings, single-leg deadlifts and Romanian deadlifts are pretty easy to execute…but what if we want more?
Are there more creative ways to train the hamstrings…
Can we hack the glute ham raise and lying leg curl?
Today, I won’t be the one hacking. I’m leaving that up to Sam Dancer.
First, meet the hacker: Sam Dancer
I recently had the opportunity to talk Sam Dancer, CrossFit Games and National Pro Grid League athlete, for an extended period of time, and I learned two things:
1.) He’s a really cool dude
2.) He’s a DIY Genius!
We did a podcast with him at betterhumanology which will come out in the next week or so, but until then I wanted to share some of the stuff we talked about.
Which was a lot of DIY! So much so, I decided to write this post.
A lot of the DIY I do around here involves wood, screw and glue. His DIY projects are more of what I would call “hacks”, and if you want to see what else he has done check out Sam Dancer’s Instagram.
Today, we go over how he has hacked his hamstrings, as he is coming back from a recent lower body injury and surgery.
Oh, and he’s probably one of the strongest, if not the strongest, FITNESS athletes.
Let’s get into it!
Hack #1: A Dolly for Your Hamstrings
Who would have thought a simple $15-20 moving dolly could make for great accessory work for the hamstrings?
- Step 1: Go buy a moving dolly
- Step 2: Move around
Just scoot around for a few minutes. Don’t worry, the initial feeling of looking dumb will subside as your brain starts to focus on that burning sensation in your hamstrings 🙂
I tried this once recently…
It was a burner!
Hack #2: Banded Hamstring Curl
As seen in the Instagram video above, we have banded hamstring curls. Bands are slowly becoming my second favorite piece of exercise equipment, with the barbell being #1, of course… The versatility of a band is insane….
- Banded pull-ups
- Banded Squats
- Banded Deadlift
- Banded Press
- Hamstring work
- Accommodating resistance on most anything!
All you need to do for this exercise is hook up a band to two anchor points, which may take a little creativity depending on your setup.
After you have them set up, do 1-2 sets of 50-100 reps and you will start you path towards some bulletproof hamstrings.
So what else can we do?
Hack #3: Rings and Cardboard
Earlier in the article I pointed to a study that said GHDs and lying leg curls were the two best hamstring exercises you can perform.
Well, we saw Sam hack the lying leg curl with a little band creativity.
Now, let’s check out an alternative to the GHD. GHD will set you back anywhere from $350 for a modified version to $1,400 for the full monty.
That’s a lot of cash!
Well, here’s a hack you can do TODAY! Well, assuming you have, or can find, a piece of cardboard.
I hope you find these hamstring hacks as useful as I do!
How about you?
Have any “hacks” for the hamstrings?
Muscle Activation During Various Hamstring Exercises, The King of Hamstring Exercises, Quadriceps and Hamstrings Coactivation During Common Therapeutic Exercises, Regional differences in muscle activation during hamstrings exercise, 7 Ways to Fix Weak Hamstrings.