Day 10:Hamstrings & Calves

September 28, 2018 4 min read

For this workout, I start with lying legs curls. This is my favorite hamstrings move. I usually begin my hamstrings training with lying or seated leg curls. For lying legs curls, the first rule is don’t let your butt come up. If that’s happening then you aren’t getting the most out of your hamstrings. One way to prevent this is to bring up your knees so they aren’t in contact with the pads. When you do this, you won’t be able to lift your butt.

The second thing you want to do is keep your legs closer together because they can lift more weight this way. The reason for this is that you’re able to involve your hips and glutes, which undercuts hamstrings work. Notice that I only have about an inch between my feet to put more stress on my hamstrings.

I also use blood-flow restriction (BFR) or occlusion training for this exercise. This advanced technique is great for people who are injured or who want to have a lighter day and get a really good pump. Wrap your legs to about a 7 out of 10 at the highest point of the extremities you’re training. You don’t want to go tighter and cut off blood flow altogether.

The advantages of BFR are that it encourages more use of fast-twitch fibers and increases production of mechanical  growth factor (MGF), which is a hormone inside your muscle fibers. So you get more of a pump, more stimulation and a greater production of hormones that support muscle growth. Studies show this recruits more muscle fibers and builds more muscle than regular sets. We’ll include this several times throughout Project Inferno, but not every day. Keep your legs tied off for the entire duration of the exercise to create a pump. Keep your rests short—to about 30 seconds.

The second exercise today is Smith machine stiff-legged deadlifts. Now you have a lot of blood pumped into your target muscles after releasing the BFR wraps or bands. You don’t need a ton of weight for this move because your hamstrings should be really full of blood. You can use Smith machine, barbells or dumbbells, whichever allows you to perform the move with the best form to target hamstrings. To perform this exercise, you should think about having a broomstick through your hips. You don’t want to lift with your lower back; you want to swivel from the hips. Place your feet close together—about two inches apart— to recruit all three muscles of each set of your hamstrings.

I’m strapped back up for seated legs curls to use BFR/occlusion training for this move as well. It’s a great technique to overcome injuries and intensify the pump. Lean over the weights and round your back to emphasize hamstrings for seated legs curls. Sitting back all the way allows you to use the muscles of your lower back.

For the next move, I find that bending over while you perform standing leg curls really recruits more hamstrings. It’s good to include at least one move where you train your legs individually for better focus and isolation. So that’s four moves for hamstrings, two using BFR and two without.

Often I perform calves first in my hamstrings and calves workouts because it allows me to give calves ultimate focus and hit them with more sets. I believe it’s important to prioritize the body part your trying hardest to fix. Today, I wanted to focus more on hamstrings, so that’s why I put them before calves training.

For calf presses on the seated leg press machine, put your toes on the platform, allowing your heels to be placed a little below your knees. If you don’t have this type of sled available at your gym, then use another legs press machine with the lowest angle.

My next move is standing calf raises. Note that both of these two moves hit your gastrocnemius, the muscles at the backs of your calves. For my post-workout cardio I use the Stepmill because this really recruits calves, allowing you to hit soleus (the muscles underneath your gastrocnemius). Seated calf raises, which are performed with your knees bent at about 90-degrees target the soleus.

 

Download the Workout

 

Morning cardio

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Perform 40 minutes before consuming food

 

LYING LEG CURL 7 Sets x 15-20 Reps
Smith machine stiff-legged deadlifts 5 Sets x 15-20 Reps
Seated legs curls 4 Sets x 30 Reps
Bent-over single-legs curls 4 sets x 12-15 reps each leg
Seated leg press calf press 6 sets x 10 reps
STANDING CALF RAISE 4 sets x 10-15 reps

Stepmill

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Perform 25 minutes immediately after weight-training or add this session later in the evening

 

TIP:

You can place a plate under your toes for moves such as stiff-legged deadlifts. This encourages more recruitment of hamstrings. It works the same for squats—people place a weight under the heels to recruit more quads. Either way, this creates a greater range of motion for your target muscle. Always look for these small tweaks to get the most from every exercise, and keep in mind that some will work better for you than others.

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