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Hammer Your Hamstrings

Prevent muscle imbalance and Injury, and avoid looking like a lollipop, with three simple moves.

The epidemic of guys forsaking leg training has reached near-catastrophic proportions. Walk through any gym and, usually near the bench area, you’ll see them lumbering about: top-heavy, unathletic and seriously misguided. If these guys squat at all, it’s a pitiful sight and tends to top out at a quarter-range of motion. But even if you train smarter than that, there’s a good chance your quad development has outpaced that of your hamstrings, and studies show that as this imbalance becomes severe, you’re at a greater risk for injury. In addition to deep squatting, here are three accessory moves that can help you finish your leg workout—and develop some serious pork cords: WALKING LUNGES

Stake out a clear path that will allow you to take 10 long strides. Grab a pair of heavy dumbbells and step forward. Descend to the floor so that your back knee touches the ground; you should feel a stretch in your front leg. Drive off your front leg to stand up and step forward with the opposite leg. Repeat until you’ve hit 10 reps, then around and repeat. Do four sets total. GLUTE-HAM RAISES

If your gym doesn’t have a glute-ham bench, anchor your feet underneath a barbell loaded with 25-pound plates or have a spotter hold them for you. Kneel on the floor (a towel or Airex pad is recommended to protect your knees); keep your abdominals tight and your spine neutral as you lower yourself to the floor by extending your knees. Start the movement back to the top with a slight push off the ground, then let your hamstrings take over. If you don’t need the push-off, more power to you. Hit eight-10 reps for four sets. SWISS BALL LEG CURLS

Lie on the floor with knees bent and your feet resting on a Swiss ball. Lift your hips off the floor and dig your heels into the ball, pulling it toward you as you contract your hamstrings. Slowly extend your knees until your legs are straight, being careful to control the movement of the ball. Hit 10-15 reps for four sets.

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