Q: I’m going for my natural pro card this year and feel that all I’m lacking is a bit of hamstring-glute-tie-in detail. Assuming my bodyfat is low enough, what can I do from an exercise perspective besides leg curls.
A: You are correct in your assessment that leg curls alone are not enough to maximize the look that you’re after, so let’s discuss the most effective movements available for developing and etching this very specific area of your physique.
First on the list would be stiff-legged deadlifts done slowly and precisely with a very full stretch and maximum focus on pulling with your hamstrings and glutes.
The second exercise is hyperextensions. While they’re generally thought of as a lower-back builder, they’re also one of the best movements for creating steel cords in the backs of your thighs tying into split-up, rock-solid glutes. The key is to keep your butt and hams flexed throughout the set, which will help keep you from engaging the erectors to any great degree during the concentric portion of the rep. Also make sure to squeeze your hamstrings and glutes extra hard at the peak of the movement.
Leg presses come next, but with your feet at the very top of the platform. Done that way, especially if you concentrate on pushing “through your heels,” the leg press goes from a quad-crusher to one of the most intense hamstring/glute developers on Planet Iron! Make sure to set the seat back as far as it can go so that you’ll have a very long and complete range of motion, which will further assist in creating very deep cuts right where you want them.
Finally, I’d like to recommend a movement that you normally see only the ladies doing, but that is actually an awesome exercise for developing and striating the glutes when and if your bodyfat gets down to 4 percent or less—the standing cable hip extension. Check it out here: www.exrx.not/WeightExercises/GluteusMaximus/CBStandingHipExtension.html. This one is best done with light weight and a repetition range of about 15 to 20, with the utmost attention paid to flexing the butt very hard at the fully contracted position. And if anyone gives you a hard time for doing a “girls’ exercise,” simply ignore him and visualize glutes that would make Phil Heath a little jealous!
Here is your complete program, incorporating the above exercises into your normal routine:
Lying leg curls 3 x 8-10
Single-leg standing or seated
leg curls (per side) 2 x 8-10
or hyperextensions 2 x 12-15
Leg presses (feet at top
of platform) 2 x/8-10
Standing cable hip
extensions (each side) 2 x 15-20
Remember, we at IRON MAN are “behind” you in your pursuit of a pro card! Best of luck!
Editor’s note: Eric Broser’s new DVD, “Power/Rep Range/Shock Max-Mass Training System,” is available at Home-Gym.com. His e-books, Power/Rep Range/Shock Workout and The FD/FS Mass-Shock Workout, which include complete printable workout templates and Q&A sections, are available at X-Workouts.com.