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Exercises Movements, technique & proper execution

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Old 08-11-2004, 10:56 AM   #1
John de la Garza
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How do you all work the part of the ham that closes your leg or contracts it?

not the part that deadlifts work

it seems like the only way to work it would be leg curls or as I do hanging upside down from my ankles (gravity boots) and pulling my self up so my heels come close to my butt

I don't see much talk about working this musle. Can't this cause imbalances?

Also, how does squating work the ham? To me that would be liek saying pressing works the bicep (I'm not arguing that it doesnt, because I have felt sore in my hams after squating). Is it dirrect ham work or just the same kind of work your abs get doing leg raises (if you dont' curl your lower spine, just raise your legs)

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Old 08-11-2004, 11:32 AM   #2
Craig Bucher
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Glute-Ham Raises. They make special machines for these, but they are fairly rare, what I do is use a lat pulldown machine. I kneel on the seat facing away from the stack, and anchor my heels/ankles under the knee pad. Then you just extend you knees and lower your body. Probably want to put a bench out in front of you to catch yourself on till you get pretty good at these. It is the same muscle, just a different function of that muscle.

Squating works the hamstrings similar to the way deadlifting does, hip extension. When you squat down you flex at the hips, extending the hips on the way up recruits the hamstrings and glutes.
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Old 08-11-2004, 11:36 AM   #3
Graham Hayes
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With the type of training advocated by Crossfit and the friends of Crossfit you don't really need to worry about a tiny muscle in the hamstring area. If it's sore hammies you want then the romanian deadlift should do the trick, I get sore hams doing squats. Squats aren't direct hamstrings work they are a direct whole body movement, just like presses.
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Old 08-11-2004, 12:13 PM   #4
Larry Lindenman
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The hamstrings should not be worked in isolation. The hamstrings are not the biceps of the leg (not that I would do arm curls either). Therefore the hamstrings should be worked as a unit; usually called the postierior chain. Glute Ham Raises on a dedicated bench or natural, as Craig suggested, will do the job. . .but, all of the olympic lifts and thair variants work the posterior chain very hard! Follow the Workout of the Day, don't isolate muscle groups, and you don't have to worry about the hamstrings!
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Old 08-11-2004, 01:55 PM   #5
Ross Hunt
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Does anyone know a good article on how Glute-Hams on a Glute-Ham bench work the hamstring properly whereas leg curls do not?

I am not contesting the point - I have felt the difference - but I would like to read an explanation of how the Glute-Ham is not an isolation exercise.

Thanks, all,

Ross

P.S.; If someone could just explain it, that would be just great, too.
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Old 08-11-2004, 02:08 PM   #6
John de la Garza
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Larry,
I guess that may be where I am confused. I thought the ham is an analogy to the bicep. I don't do curls, but feel like there is no analogy to doing pullups and rowing for the legs that is widly practiced. I know dead lifts work part of the ham, but not the muscle that close the leg or whatever you call the motion of doing a leg curl.

I don't do any isolation exercises at all either, that is why I'm trying to come up with ways to work the part of the ham that does this.

I feel like lifting myself from hanging from my ankles works my hips in conjunctionwith my hams, I have never heard of anyone doing this though.

You wouldn't consider that isolation would you? being that I work my hams and hips together. Or you dont' see doing this leading to any imbalances do you? I really aim to have a body that has no out of proportion dev as to not end up with injuries.
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Old 08-11-2004, 02:26 PM   #7
Paul M
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Watch someone performing a Snatch or a full clean to a squat, and you'll see that they are pulling themselves down just like you are pulling yourself up while upside down.

Also, as to squatting working your hamstrings, hamstrings work to straighten your hip joint, so they're worked there. Also, as you get deeper into a squat, your hamstrings also begin to take up part of the load that you're quads can't handle because of poor leverage.

Also, I would tend to think that whether the action is to bend your knee or straighten your hip, you're working the same muscle. Its probably just a difference in what's being held in place - either by other muscles, or the bench on the leg curl machine.

-Paul
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Old 08-11-2004, 03:11 PM   #8
John de la Garza
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the hams also have another function to close yoru leg, and when squating you are open your leg joint

it is actually a different muscle in your ham that does the leg curl or closing motion

that is the part I am trying to targe with my hanging leg curl things
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Old 08-11-2004, 03:36 PM   #9
Brad Hirakawa
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Yes, you are opening your leg joint. You are also extending your hips & using your hamstrings. I believe there are 4 main muscles (hamstring) back there with long fancy latin names. I think many are recruited during the squat... squat real deep and you'll really feel them.
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Old 08-11-2004, 03:59 PM   #10
Brad Hirakawa
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Just to elaborate a bit... using one and only one muscle of the hamstring group, to perform an exercise that involves moving the heel of your foot towards your back-side, would be very tough to do. You would probably have to inject a paralytic agent into the neighboring muscles. Even doing an "isolation" exercise like ham curls would use more than one of the muscles on the back of leg, and perhaps just emphasize one or two that are not emphasized with other exercises. However....

I think that the hamstring-taxing exercises we do at Crossfit (Olympic, squats, dead lifts, running, rowing, plyometrics) hit just about all of the muscles back there, and many more. With some of these lifts we can really generate some explosive force, a wham-bang neuroendocrine response, improve our coordination, get more flexible, etc. etc. To answer your original question, my old exercise physiolgy book describes the function of the hamstrings during a squat as "dynamic stabilizers."

Hanging from gravity boots and pulling your body up so that your butt reaches your heels sounds real tough!

But... my physiology education is getting close to a decade old, and my memory ain't what is used to be.
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