Exercise! - Never feel it in the "hammies"




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Eliana
04-01-2011, 09:27 AM
Our spin instructor is always telling us which moves should hit our "hammies" as she loves to call them. ;) I never feel the hamstrings, not even when I'm doing dead lifts. I get my rear end as far back on that bike as I can and I "hover", but I never feel it there. I feel the quads though. So I finally asked her about it today and she watched my form. She finally decided I must just have really strong hamstrings.

Do you suppose that could be from years of being obese? I carried 100 extra pounds around for 10 years.


runningfromfat
04-01-2011, 10:48 AM
I have no clue but I've always had the same problem and I've "only" been obese for 2 years (not counting pregnancy time). I do have really strong leg muscles, though, and back in my college athlete days could out lift a lot of guys in my weight lifting class on my legs.

Like you I can definitely feel my quads but I still have yet to find a workout that really works my hamstrings.

goodforme
04-01-2011, 10:58 AM
I've read that women are naturally quad-dominant. There is a "test" you can do (I'll try to find and post a link) but the one that hit the point home for me was this:

I cannot do lunges. A tip I read said to kneel down on the floor (like you're going to pop the question) and then stand up. I could NOT get up. I literally felt like my legs were paralyzed. I had to use my hands on the floor, and my back foot toes to push myself up.

There are ways to "activate" the glutes and hamstrings, and I'll try to post a link to some of those as well. . .


runningfromfat
04-01-2011, 11:02 AM
I've read that women are naturally quad-dominant. There is a "test" you can do (I'll try to find and post a link) but the one that hit the point home for me was this:

I cannot do lunges. A tip I read said to kneel down on the floor (like you're going to pop the question) and then stand up. I could NOT get up. I literally felt like my legs were paralyzed. I had to use my hands on the floor, and my back foot toes to push myself up.

There are ways to "activate" the glutes and hamstrings, and I'll try to post a link to some of those as well. . .

huh, just did that and had no problem at all... does that mean I have strong hams/glutes? I don't like lunges in general because of my knees (they pop like crazy when I do them) but I try and do static lunges instead.

goodforme
04-01-2011, 12:06 PM
http://figureathlete.t-nation.com/free_online_article/most_recent/how_strong_are_your_glutes_really

Ha, finally! I found it, I haven't yet tried it, because I know I can't do it. LOL

Good luck ladies!

runningfromfat
04-01-2011, 12:40 PM
http://figureathlete.t-nation.com/free_online_article/most_recent/how_strong_are_your_glutes_really

Ha, finally! I found it, I haven't yet tried it, because I know I can't do it. LOL

Good luck ladies!

Thanks for posting that! So I did just fine with everything except the straight leg hip extension on my right side. I was a total failure! :p I'm going to try out those moves and see if they help... maybe I'll avoid squats for a bit then? Weird thing is... I tried his intermediate suggestion for the straight leg hip extension and it seems way to easy but I still can't for the life of me get my foot off of the floor for the level 3 one. :?: Maybe I could do the beginner one and try adding some ankle weights to see if that helps?

I'm really surprised that my right side was weaker, though, consider I'm right handed/right legged? Weird!

natamars
04-01-2011, 01:28 PM
I also find it hard to work my hamstrings. Surprised you don't feel anything on deadlifts though. Are you using handweights or a body bar? You could try increasing the weight. Two other things to try:

1) Does your gym have a weight machine for hamstrings? usually you lie on your stomach and curl your legs in toward your butt?

2)Lie on your back with your feet on top of a stability ball. Roll the ball toward your butt using your legs. I feel this one right away!

grneyedmustang
04-01-2011, 01:50 PM
I have the same issue. Thanks for posting the link to the article about "activation", I'll definitely be trying a few of those exercises!

Eliana
04-01-2011, 04:35 PM
I also find it hard to work my hamstrings. Surprised you don't feel anything on deadlifts though. Are you using handweights or a body bar? You could try increasing the weight. Two other things to try:

1) Does your gym have a weight machine for hamstrings? usually you lie on your stomach and curl your legs in toward your butt?

2)Lie on your back with your feet on top of a stability ball. Roll the ball toward your butt using your legs. I feel this one right away!

I have used dumb bells and a barbell for dead lifts and hesitate to add weight because I DO feel it in my back. I'd rather protect it.

I've the second exercise you mention and again, it's the quads that give out before the hamstrings feel it.

ange82much
04-01-2011, 10:09 PM
i find it difficult to use hammies on the bike too.

Not read the link, but i believe you need less resistance otherwise your quads definitely take over, and concentrate on a flat foot (heel down) at the bottom of the cycle and lifting your knees and flicking your heels up to your butt as you reach the top of the cycle. And concentrate on what you're trying to do!

I definitely feel my hammies in dead lifts though. For that think about elongating your back and neck as long as possible throughout the movement and keep your head in line with your body - i.e. you're looking straight down at the floor when fully bent over.

The other dead cert for feeling hammies is running uphill!!

Eliana
04-01-2011, 10:16 PM
The other dead cert for feeling hammies is running uphill!!

You are right!! That's one of the things that does it to me! I'd forgotten about that. I don't tend to do it because it causes weird pains in my legs and that scares me because I do not want an injury. I'm a bit timid about pain when it comes to running. That and hills hit the calves too. I'm looking forward to doing more hills outside as the weathers heats up because somehow they're better on my legs than the treadmill.

joyfulloser
04-02-2011, 08:56 AM
another vote for running and deadlifts (heavy)!:D

geoblewis
04-04-2011, 03:06 PM
I've been over 300 lbs for many years and found my quads to be quite strong when I started working out. But I too never felt my hammies until...Pilates!

OMG! Once I mastered bridges and learned to properly focus my attention on specific movements for specific exercises, I really felt the old girls wake up! I can now really experience the work in my hamstrings, all the way up into my glutes and through my inner thighs.

fitness4life
04-04-2011, 04:05 PM
Here's a good hammie exercise. Lay down face up on a mat with a stability ball under your calves (knees straight). Lift your rear up off the mat so that your back makes a straight line from the floor to the ball.

Bend your knees and roll the ball so that your soles of your feet are on the ball and your knees are bent above.

Straighten your legs rolling the ball back to calves.

Repeat for 1 minute or more. You should feel it.

Eliana
04-04-2011, 04:37 PM
Here's a good hammie exercise. Lay down face up on a mat with a stability ball under your calves (knees straight). Lift your rear up off the mat so that your back makes a straight line from the floor to the ball.

Bend your knees and roll the ball so that your soles of your feet are on the ball and your knees are bent above.

Straighten your legs rolling the ball back to calves.

Repeat for 1 minute or more. You should feel it.

I do like this one, but again...it hits my quads. :?:

My spin instructor has an exercise she wants me to try tomorrow. I'll see what that is. I think maybe other muscles engage before the hamstrings ever do. I don't know. I know I'm stronger by far on the leg extension than the leg curl, though I keep the weight the same so as not to overwork one and not the other. But that machine doesn't seem good enough, I guess because it never makes me sore and what I feel is more behind the knee, and not necessarily hamstring. Who knows? :dunno:

stacygee
04-04-2011, 11:05 PM
Interesting question... in spin I don't feel it in my hamstrings at all... HOWEVER, I just started deadlifts last week and I definately felt those... make sure you are doing the dead lifts properly... it was actually hard for me to catch on and my trainer said it is one of the hardest to teach someone.

After I did the deadlifts though... I started positioning my body when we "hover" in spin like I am doing a deadlift. I think it is supposed to be the same muscle group and I felt like I got more out of the 'hover'.

kaebaka
04-05-2011, 02:00 AM
I don't remember the source (sorry!) but I came across a athletic training site a while back that said that hamstring strength should ideally be 60 - 80 % of quad strength. The specific test suggested to measure it was that the weight on the leg curl machine should be about 60 - 80 % of the weight used on the leg extension machine. I was looking this up specifically because I have weak ligaments so I wanted to make sure that I am not developing muscle imbalances that are going to put additional stress on already floppy joints. The site did seem fairly reputable, but I'm sure like with almost everything conflicting opinions exist and things like gender and activities will affect what your ideal ratio would be. This was also on a page specifically for people who have ACL injuries / deficiencies like me, so, perhaps if your leg functions properly the ideal ratio might be a bit different?

My weight lifting buddy definitely falls right in that range at about 70%. For me, my hamstrings are closer to about 95 - 110 % of the weight used on the leg extension, but that kind of depends on what other activities I've been abusing my legs with recently. My physical therapist once referred to me as having "football player" hamstrings, so, uh... I guess for me my hamstrings are relatively strong or something? Also, the hamstring tendon inserts somewhere around the back of the knee. When I have put a lot of stress on my hamstrings in the past, the back of knee / tendon area would hurt more than the bulk of the muscle itself. Maybe that's what you're feeling in the back of your knee as well?

stacygee
04-06-2011, 09:34 PM
Eliana- I thought of you in spin class today. Our spin instructor had us spin backwards for a song. Have you ever done that? It reeally worked my hamstrings and I even felt a little more effort in my lower ab area. We even climbed while pedaling backwards.

Eliana
04-06-2011, 10:32 PM
Kaebaka, thank you so much for all that information! I've been thinking about your leg extension vs. leg curl since you wrote that. I want to research it and figure out if I could/should do more weights for the extension or not. I don't particularly like those machines anyway because they're all isolation moves.

Stacy, no, I've never done the bike backwards! Interesting! I bet that would work the hamstrings! My instructor was cute today. She came back, put my resistance all the way up, watched my form and had me continue after everyone else sat down! :dizzy: LOL! Be careful what you tell your spin instructor! After class she said she couldn't put my resistance up any more than that so she took me out and showed me dead lifts on a raised platforms, and two moves with the exercise ball. I think between the three I will be hitting the "hammies". :D

stacygee
04-06-2011, 11:01 PM
I just learned deadlifts last week- those got my "hammies"

AZ Sunrises
05-01-2011, 10:35 PM
:o Apparently my tubby body is capable of doing more than I give it credit. I could do everything listed in the link. My left one has a bit of a charley horse now that I've finished, but still....not bad for 283 lbs.

That's after walking about 5 mi today. Yay me.