Okay knuckleheads, here’s day 5, the final day of my current training split.
I’ve always had good quad development. Virtually anything I threw at them — leg presses, leg extensions, split squats, and of course, squats — would make them grow.
I also enjoyed training quads and had mild disdain for hamstring work, which didn’t help matters.
As a result, I’m quad dominant. So much so that the first time I did deadlifts with Dan Trink of Peak Performance, he commented that I was the first guy he’s seen turn a deadlift into a quad-dominant movement. Hey, I try.
So this day is about addressing my posterior chain. Here goes.
A) Trap-Bar Deadlift — 4 x 6-8. Okay, the trap-bar deadlift is certainly NOT the most hamstring-focused pull. I still perform traditional deadlifts though I prefer to save them for dedicated strength blocks, not high volume phases like this one.
To hit the hamstrings harder, I do a little tweak. I perform the concentric phase normally, which uses the quads considerably and is basically like a squat from the bottom.
During the eccentric or lowering phase, however, I keep my legs basically straight and drive the hips back, so it becomes more like a Romanian deadlift. It’s a sneaky way to mechanically overload the hamstrings during the eccentric portion. I maintain a 4-second eccentric tempo to really drive it home.
I’m not “married” to the trap-bar deadlift. After about 6 exposures I’ll cycle in another pulling variation, likely Romanian deadlifts for 10-12 reps.
B1) Standing Good Mornings — 3 x 10-12. I love good mornings. I’ve yet to find a movement that seems to hit my glutes and hamstrings to the same degree. It also has a very high crossover to my squat, which is always nice.
To make them work, keep the upper back tight and be sure to hinge properly — think about driving the hips back. I like a wider stance and emphasize spreading the floor with my feet. Keep the tempo slow and be safe.
Rest 30 seconds
B2) Back Extensions — 3 x failure. Nothing fancy here. Hop on a back extension bench and bang out as many quality, smooth reps as possible. Contract the glutes with each repetition and hold for a second at the top. After the good mornings these get tough fast.
C) Kettlebell Swings — 3 x 15-20. Kettlebells are not the panacea some coaches make them out to be, but the KB swing is tough to beat. Use a moderate weight and go for power and explosion, not “muscling” the weight up. The hinge is everything here — load the hamstrings and then explode back up.
Ideally, for power recruitment, I would do this lift first. However, as I’m using them more as a finisher, I prefer to do them last.
D1) Seated Calf Raise — 3 x 30. Yes, 30 reps. Put a light-ish weight on the machine and go for a long time under tension. Squeeze for a second at the top, rolling onto the big toe.
D2) Standing Calf Raise — 3 x 12. Go heavier here, and this time hold the stretch at the bottom for 2 full seconds (no bounce).
This workout is relatively fast and gets me out of the gym with energy to spare. Which is a good thing, as you can’t leave smashed every damn day.
Okay that’s it. Next blog is all about …. fitness modelling!