Hamstring Training: Keep It Simple

The Texas Oak

By Logan Franklin

Q: How would you design a complete workout for the hamstrings? Which types of movements should always be in there?

A: I always start with seated hamstring/leg curls. It’s just easier for me to warm them up in that position. I will always do one other type of hamstring curl, either a lying leg curl or a standing leg curl machine. It’s important to me that I get a good stretch of the hams on that second curl movement, because the seated curls take care of the contraction point perfectly. Romanian deadlfits are another staple. I prefer using a barbell, but many others like dumbbells better. These don’t have to be done super heavy like you see some guys using 405 or something crazy. The resistance just needs to be heavy enough to stretch and squeeze the hams, and you always want to keep an arch in your lower back. Never, even round your lower back during any type of deadlift for the back or the hams! I also like to work the adductor and abductor machines with hamstrings. Don’t overcomplicate hamstring training. Just choose a few simple, basic exercises and focus on good form and always stretching and squeezing on every rep. The same exercises that I was using as a beginner are the same ones I use today as an Olympia competitor.

Is Blending Food Better?

Q: There seems to be a trend lately of blending food to get it down easier, things like rice and chicken for instance. Do you think the body digests the food the same if you drink it instead of eating it, or is one better than the other? Have you tried this yourself aside from the shakes we see you make on your YouTube channel?

A: I promise you all I have never blended up a chicken breast shake! I remember a few years ago watching a video of pro Men’s Physique champ Anton Antipov where he was doing that, so it’s not something new. I heard the late bodybuilder Mike Matarazzo used to blend up canned tuna and drink it. I think it’s nasty. I do believe you will digest solid food better than in liquid form, even though that probably sounds contrary to what you might assume. Your mouth releases natural digestive enzymes in your saliva as you chew, which is why I make a point to chew my food a lot more than a person might normally, even if that means taking longer to get the meal down. You will digest the food faster in a liquid form, but you won’t be digesting it as well. Another benefit to chewing your food, and slowly, is that there is a delay in your body sensing it’s full. That’s critical when you’re dieting and eating smaller portions. If you eat faster or drink your meals for ultimate speed, you will still feel hungry when you’re done.

Grateful for Social Media

Q: You’re young enough to be very comfortable with social media, but old enough to remember life before it. As a bodybuilder, do you ever wish you could have been around back in the time when athletes could “work in silence” and unveil all their hard work on contest day like Dorian Yates did, instead of having to constantly post updates and other content?

A: As I have grown older and after almost a decade of doing this and using social media as a big part of making my living more and more as the years go by, it can get stressful and repetitive. There are times when I want to go off grid, shut my phone off and not have to deal with it; just focus on my family and personal growth. But it’s part of my job. I have to promote myself. Would I love to be like the guys were back in the day before social media? Sure, but only if I could still make the same type of living that I do now. That’s just not realistic in 2023 because social media is a critical part of every business now, and definitely the fitness industry. I’m grateful for social media for giving me a platform and so many opportunities so I can provide a home and a good life for my wife and son. I get to live and breathe my passion every single day of my life. It does get draining sometimes posting content all the time, and I would love to just show up at a contest and shock people who hadn’t seen what I looked like in many months.

Plate-loading vs. Weight Stack Machines

Q: I’ve heard some bodybuilders say they prefer plate-loading machines to machines with a weight stack and a pin because they feel those are closer to free weights, but is that really accurate? They are all machines moving inside a fixed track.

A: I don’t have any preference or bias toward either type of machine as long as it meets the proper resistance curve for whatever muscle I’m targeting. At the end of the day, I am the machine. I often make small adjustments of things like the grip or the angle if it means I get a better contraction. The two most important criteria for me with any machine are that it’s smooth with no friction or sticking points, and I can feel it exactly where I want to. I’m not sponsored by any equipment company, but I do like a lot of pieces by Panatta, Prime, and Atlantis.

For coaching: www.TexasOak.com

Instagram @logan_franklin

YouTube: Logan Franklin 

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