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Goal 6: Emphasize Your Hamstrings.

Hams shouldn’t be an afterthought, and not just for aesthetic reasons; they also support knee-joint integrity. Most bodybuilders are familiar with the family of leg-curl movements, which can be done lying, seated, standing, or with one knee supported on a bench. Don’t forget to work the hams from the hip joint as well, which means doing Romanians.

Often confused with the stiff-legged deadlift (a lower-back exercise) and even the conventional deadlift (with Romanians, the plates never touch the floor), it’s an effective move for the upper hams where they tie in with the glutes. Good form is critical with RDLs—keep your back flat and never try to achieve excessive range of motion if it causes your back to round.

Don’t forget, your hams also get worked when you squat deep and when you control the speed of the descent in squatting motions. However, that amount of work isn’t enough to let you skip dedicated hamstring exercises. If you decide to split your quad and ham workouts into two different days, separate them by at least 48 hours to ensure full recovery. Or tack this workout onto the end of a quad/glute workout, occasionally even doing it prior.

This workout again follows a reverse-pyramid protocol, which allows you to take more total sets to muscle failure. As the rep target goes up, be sure to lighten the weight commensurately.

Notes

Do as many warm-ups as you need, but never take them to muscle failure.
Choose a weight that allows you to reach muscle failure by the target rep listed.
This scheme follows a reverse pyramid, meaning you lighten the weight after your first 1-2 sets for slightly higher reps.
If you have trouble doing the floor glute-ham raise at the end of your workout, do it earlier when you’re less fatigued.
Alternate seated and lying leg curls for the standing single-leg curls so you’re including all three at least once every three workouts.

Hamstring-Emphasis Routine

1 Romanian Deadlift

4 sets, 6-8, 6-8, 8-10, 12 reps (Lighten the weight after your first 2 sets.)

2 Standing Leg Curl

3 sets, 8, 10, 12 reps

3 Floor Glute-Ham Raise

3 sets, bodyweight sets to failure