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How to Get Bigger Hamstrings

author image Paula Quinene
Paula Quinene is an Expert/Talent, Writer and Content Evaluator for Demand Media, with more than 1,500 articles published primarily in health, fitness and nutrition. She has been an avid weight trainer and runner since 1988. She has worked in the fitness industry since 1990. She graduated with a Bachelor's in exercise science from the University of Oregon and continues to train clients as an ACSM-Certified Health Fitness Specialist.
How to Get Bigger Hamstrings
A woman is doing a barbell deadlift. Photo Credit InnerVisionPRO/iStock/Getty Images

Building bigger hamstring muscles at the back of your thighs requires attention to detail with your exercise and eating programs. The weight you lift must be heavy enough you can only do six to 12 repetitions for majority of your sets. Your meal plan should also include plenty of calories and protein so your muscle cells can repair, remodel and grow. If you are doing lots of cardio, decrease your volume and intensity so you have plenty of energy for your leg workouts to get bigger hamstrings.


Step 1

Multiply your weight in kilograms by 50 calories to estimate the minimum number of calories you need to eat to maintain your muscle mass if you are a man. Multiply your weight in kilograms by 44 calories if you are a woman. Add 350 to 700 calories to your minimum requirement for the total number of calories you eat every day to build bigger muscles, including your hamstrings.

Step 2

Multiply your weight in kilograms by 1 ½ to 2 g of protein, calculating the amount of protein to eat everyday to build bigger muscles.

Step 3

Drink a protein shake immediately after every resistance training workout, especially a hamstring session, to build bigger hamstrings. Blend 48 to 72 grams of protein from whey protein powder, 1 ½ cups skim milk, ½ cup of water, 1 cup of fresh pineapple and half of a small banana; the amino acids and fast-digesting carbohydrates in your shake optimally stimulate muscle protein synthesis, according to a 2010 article by Tim Ziegenfuss, Ph.D., and colleagues, published in the “Strength and Conditioning Journal.” Freeze the fruit ahead of time for a slushy treat.

Straight-Leg Dead Lifts

Step 1

Begin your leg workout program with straight-leg barbell dead lifts, positioning the barbell on the squat rack about two inches higher than your knees.

Step 2

Grasp the barbell with your hands about shoulder-width apart and your palms facing in opposite directions. Stand close to the bar to lift it off of the support racks then step backward about 12 inches.

Step 3

Stick your buttocks out behind you, bending your hips to lower the barbell toward your ankles. Contract your hamstrings to raise the barbell up and push your pelvis slightly forward; repeat for six sets using progressively heavier weights. Rest for two to three minutes between each set.

Good Mornings

Step 1

Position the barbell on the squat rack about an inch lower than the level of your shoulders.

Step 2

Grasp the barbell with your hands slightly wider than your shoulders then duck your head under the bar so the barbell rests across both shoulders and the muscle at the base of your neck. Your hips and feet should be nearly under the barbell.

Step 3

Hold the barbell in place and stand up to unrack the bar; step back about two feet and tighten your abdominals. Slowly stick your buttocks out behind you and lean your trunk forward until you feel tension at the back of your thighs. Your knees should be slightly bent.

Step 4

Focus on your hamstrings, contracting them to raise the barbell back up, straightening your body. Repeat the exercise for six sets using progressively heavier weights to build bigger hamstrings. Rest for two to three minutes between each set.

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