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Health and Fitness Tips
Sculpted hamstrings provide one of those erfect balances to your body that creates symmetry and an ascetically pleasing look. Strong hamstrings also increase you leg strength and can provide extra lift to the buttocks.
Here are two exercises that will help you build great hamstrings.
Lying Dumbbell Leg Curl
Why Do It: It stretches out the muscle and allows you to fill your hamstrings with blood. Leg curls also allow you to isolate the hamstring muscle as much as possible, and are considered one of the most efficient and effective muscle building exercises for the hamstrings.
Getting Ready: Lie on a bench with your kneecaps just over the edge, so the very bottoms of your quads make contact with the edge of the bench. Place your hands on the floor or grasp the front legs of the bench for stability. Your body should be in a straight line, with your hips down and your hamstrings almost fully extended - keep just a slight bend in your knees. With a light weight placed between your feet, you are ready
Push it Out: Now that you are in position, allow the tops of your quads to dig into the bench as you slowly bring the weight up until your lower legs are fully upright. When you get to this point, squeeze and hold for a count of one. Then come back down, hold your hamstrings tight as you let the weight stretch them, fighting against gravity. Keep lowering the weight until your legs are just short of parallel. Perform 10 repetitions and three sets of this exercise.
One-Legged Machine Curl
Why Do It: This is a total detail movement. One-legged curls work the fibers and cords, really bringing out the detail of your hamstrings.
Getting Ready: Using either a standing or supported one-legged curl machine, step into the machine with one leg under the pad.
Push it Out: Focus on keeping your hips down and your glutes out of the movement. This way your focus is on your hamstrings. Bring the weight up slowly, stopping at the point where you feel the max contraction in your hamstring. At this point, squeeze and hold for a count of one, then slowly lower the weight back, feeling the stretch in your hamstring. Avoid letting the weight touch down to the stack at the bottom. Maintain tension on your hams at all times as you transition into the next repetition. Perform 10 repetitions and three sets of this exercise for each leg.
Strong hamstrings can help complete well defined legs, and are an important part of lower-body strength.
Rick Gusler is a certified personal trainer and diet nutritionist who serves his clients through Gusler Body Sculpting Fitness Center in central Denver. To schedule a free consultation, or to learn more about the Gusler method of body sculpting, spin yoga, or Rick's Boot Camp, please contact him at 303.860.7131 or online at www.guslerbodysculpting.com.
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