Hamstring training tips
Working on some hamstring training with one of my clients. What I’m doing here is something I learned from legendary strength coach Charles Poliquin. I’m having my client dorsi flex (flexing at ankle and pointing toes towards shins) her feet on the contraction or positive part of the moment and then plantar flex (flexing at ankle and pointing the foot and toes downward) then on the lowering or negative part of the movement.
The reason for this is the gastrocnemius muscle of the calf is a bi-articular muscle which means it crosses two joints, the ankle and knee. The muscles in the gastrocnemius do 2 functions. They help flex the knee (as in leg curls here) and do plantar flexion. These muscles have a hard time though doing both functions at the same time. So when you are in plantar flexion the gastrocnemius can’t work effectively doing knee flexion as well. So plantar flexing the feet during a knee flexion exercise like leg curls makes it a more effective hamstring exercise by putting more of the work on the hamstrings and limiting the involvement of the gastrocnemius.
What I have noticed though is it can be tough to teach and coach someone to plantar flex their feet throughout the entire movement. The gastrocnemius tends to cramp up because the body is still getting used to doing the movement this way making it harder to do the exercise. Once the body adjusts it goes away.
What I like to do to help with this is just start with someone plantar flexing their feet on the lowering or negative phase and stay in dorsi flexion on the contraction or positive phase. The lowering under plantar flexion puts more stress or work on the hamstrings and will work the hamstrings more thoroughly. Once someone adjusts to that we can progress to plantar flexing the feet throughout the entire exercise. I recommend trying this in your next leg workout and notice how much more you feel it in the hamstrings. #kneeflexion #hamstringworkout#hamstrings #bicepfemoris #gastrocnemius #semitendinosus#semimembranosus #calves #legcurls #legcurl #legworkout #legtraining#personaltrainer #lasvegas #strengthcoach #fitness #fitnesstrainer