Q: I really suck at the glute/ham raise. Any tips on how I can improve my performance?
A: Because the hamstrings primarily contain fast-twitch muscles, they will respond well to eccentric overload. Here’s how to do it. At the bottom position of the glute-ham raise hold a dumbbell close to your chest; then pull yourself to the top position of the exercise in the conventional manner. Extend the dumbbell in front of you, and slowly return to the bottom position, keeping the dumbbell as parallel to the floor as possible. The glute/ham exercise is difficult enough without any additional resistance, so you may have to start this training method by using pink plastic dumbbells.
By changing the leverages during glute/ham raises, you increase the resistance during the eccentric portion—which is important because, as I mentioned, the hamstrings are primarily fast-twitch muscle fiber.
Editor’s note: Charles Poliquin is recognized as one of the world’s most suc-cessful strength coaches, having coached Olympic med-alists in 12 different sports, including the U.S. women’s track-and-field team for the 2000 Olympics. He’s spent years researching European journals (he’s fluent in English, French and German) and speaking with other coaches and scientists in his quest to optimize training methods. For more on his books, seminars and methods, visit www.CharlesPoliquin.com. IM