Maximize Hamstring Growth
The Hamstrings have to main functions collectively: Flex the knee and help extend the hips. Training each movement is key for optimal Hamstring development. Here’s how to target each muscle that makes up the Hamstrings👇
Biceps Femoris: This muscle is mainly responsible for knee flexion such as in a lying leg curl. The Biceps Femoris has two heads, long and short, but only one of the crosses both the hip and the knee joint which makes the Biceps Femoris a bit more suited toward knee flexion movements. However, it does also help to extend the hips so that function can’t be ignored. Therefore, a mix of movements that do both such as deadlifts, rack pulls, and leg curls are great movements for the Biceps Femoris.
Semimembranosus and Semitendinosus: These two muscles collectively have the same main functions which are to flex the knee and extend the hips. However, both of these muscles cross the hip and knee joints making them very well suited for extending the hips and aiding in knee flexion along with the Biceps Femoris. Exercises like the stiff leg deadlift, lying glute bridge, glute-ham raise, bosu ball glute bridges, and even back squats are solid Hamstring exercises. The back squat isn’t great for Hamstring development based on EMG findings, but out of the other variations of the squat, it’s the best.
Something to keep in mind is that studies have found the Hamstrings as a whole to be nearly 70% fast twitch muscle fibers. This makes them very well suited for lower rep training and eccentric (when you’re lowering the weight) based training. Therefore, sticking between 6-12 reps for most Hamstring focused movements will be great.