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Build A Powerful Foundation

Build A Powerful Foundation

Training Tips for Building
Powerful Glutes & Massive Hamstrings

There’s an old training adage that goes: The front is for show and the back is for go. While there’s truth to this saying, it’s not one hundred percent accurate. While the back does provide the go, it also gives us a good show.

Let’s develop the posterior chain to its full glory: strength, power, show and go. The next 1,000 words or so will tell you how.

Defining The Derriere
(And Its Posterior Cohabitants)

The glutes and hamstrings are members of a line of human anatomy known as the posterior chain. While some scalpel-wielding folks argue about its beginning and end, consider the posterior chain to consist of all the muscle and soft tissue that runs from the bottom of the foot, up the back of the legs, up the spine and to the top of the head.

This narrative’s heroes reside in the middle of the chain—performing numbers of heroic feats like extending the hips, bending the knees and stabilizing the legs, hips and trunk during a surfeit of movements.

Hip extension and knee flexion are our tools of posterior construction. We’ll develop powerful glutes and massive hamstrings with these two functions.

Let’s Extend Heavily

I’m typically not the suspicious type, but I’m wary of any posterior development article that doesn’t begin with a deadlift discussion. The deadlift and its variations are the most effective glute and hamstring development tools in existence.

Deadlifting recruits every ounce of the posterior chain. While some trainers may have you believe that muscular isolation is most important for glute and hamstring development, it’s imperative to build systemic strength first. A bigger, more efficient engine makes better use of the constituent parts.

Rake the bar up your legs for sets of one to five. And, on most occasions, leave a few reps in the tank. Keep the total reps under twenty-five. Creep above five reps per set, or twenty-five total reps per session, and there’s a great chance you’ll offer the nervous system more stimulus than it’s prepared to handle. The result is lack of adaptation; no strength gained, no size accrued.

Want slabs of muscle from heel to head? (Who doesn’t?) Build an affinity for bloody shins, a strong gift from a knurled barbell.

Posterior Assistance

While the deadlift spearheads posterior chain training, amassing volume with assistance training morphs and molds the glutes and hams into aesthetically majestic and functionally powerful forms.

Let’s review the best glute and hamstring assistance exercises and solid ways to implement them.

Romanian Deadlift (RDL)

Yes, deadlift is in the title and we’ve already discussed deadlifting. But keep your slacks on, the RDL fits best into the assistance category.

You’ll program this battleship of an exercise to follow your main deadlift movement. This earns it the title “first level assistance exercise.” The great news is that it’s a hugely versatile exercise—meaning that it’s loaded well in a variety of rep ranges.

Want a thick, dense and powerful backside? Load this hip extension champion in the four to eight rep range. Feel as though you need more dramatic hypertrophy? I’ll offer you two options: lengthen the eccentric contraction or increase the reps.

Time under tension builds mass. Longer eccentric, or lowering, phases help muscles increase time under tension. Implement RDL eccentric reps by increasing the lowering phase to about five seconds while maintaining reps in the four to six rep range.

If eccentrics don’t suit your fancy, simply increase your RDL reps per set while maintaining a normal tempo. It’s certainly feasible to hit sets of fifteen. Be sure, however, to leave a few reps in the tank at the end of each set and to keep the total reps under sixty.

Glute-Ham Raises (GHR) and Russian Leg Curls (RLC)

GHR’s and RLC’s are slight understudies of the RDL. They aren’t loaded as heavily and aren’t sustainable for as many reps per set, but they are serious backside builders.

These two exercises are similar. The only difference is GHR’s involve a toe plate. Their best feature is that they simultaneously train both hamstring functions—knee flexion and hip extension.

You may need assistance when first implementing a member of this challenging duo. A partner helping you with the concentric action or a band hooked above, and behind, you on a squat rack work well.

Work these exercises in the four to eight rep range and stay under forty total reps. That is if you want to walk for the next week.

Kettlebell Swings

There’s no downside to a properly performed kettlebell swing. Swings, like RDLs, are versatile. They’re great for reps and as a conditioning stimulus. When loaded heavily they build tremendous hip power.

Swings are like a choose-your-own-adventure story. You can include them during any part of your training. They’re great during warm-ups to prepare for deadlifting. Work them in after RDLs and GHRs as a third-level assistance exercise. Use them for high reps as a conditioning tool. A lifter can’t go wrong by swinging a bell.

There is, however, a caution. Be sure to learn the swing well before implementing it. Seek out resources from StrongFirst or RKC to get your swing right.

Supplement Suggestions

[Editors Note: Ever pull (or, much worse, TEAR) a hamstring? It’s sheer agony and it will put your training regimen in reverse for a good several months, at least. Unfortunately, our all-important tendons, ligaments, and joints are all-too-often ignored until catastrophe strikes. The smart athlete, however, supports his connective tissue BEFORE it’s too late with targeted nutrition. ProSource’s Ultra Cissus contains a clinically indicated 750 mg dose of Cissus Quadrangularis Extract (standardized for 10% total steroidal glycosides) that has been shown to play an important role in anti-inflammation support and joint support.

Looking in another direction, we can all agree that a proper deadlift is achieved through focus, aggression, and intensity. You’ll experience those pre-workout factors to the maximum degree when you walk out onto the gym floor properly primed with BioQuest’s pre-workout formula AndroFury. AndroFury’s extraordinary one-two punch of performance optimizers and testosterone-boosting power has athletes everywhere amazed by the results. This ultra-potent pre-workout contains a full-spectrum protodioscin-rich botanical super compound designed to support endogenous testosterone levels. It also contains a perfect synergy of other vital performance optimizers, including Arginine-AKG, citrulline, niacin, beta alanine, and R-lipoic acid, plus the key aminos glutamine, taurine and BCAAs. AndroFury is the difference between an average workout and a mega-productive workout!]

A Backside Conclusion

Want some show and some go? Commit to deadlift training and implement posterior assistance exercises with vehemence and consistency. You’ll construct enviously powerful glutes and massive hamstrings.

Read more about ProSource Ultra Cissus.

Read more about BioQuest AndroFury.

Use as directed with a sensible nutrition and exercise program. Read and follow all product label instructions and warnings thoroughly before use. These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.