I like to use GM's, and occasionally SLDL's as accessory lifts. Both are supposed to be great hamstring exercises, but with me, when the weight goes up, I don't feel them so much in my hamstrings. For example, my best conventional pull is 475, and I feel fairly certain that I could pull 500. When I do SLDL's, with weights like 135, 185, etc., I really feel it in my hamstrings. But when the weight goes up (even to like 275), I feel I am working my back more. Not necessarily a bad thing, but I'd like to be able to activate the hamstrings more as well. I feel like I should be able to get more hamstring activation with a weight around 50% of my max. I know to push the hips back to recruit the hamstrings, so what should I do in terms of weight on these exercises? Go heavy, or lower weight and higher reps? Any tips on activating the hamstrings more? It just feels like I would be wasting my time SLDL'ing and GM'ing 135 when that's not what I'm capable of. I hope that makes sense! Thanks, guys. I appreciate the help.
If you want to train hamstrings without too much lower back involvement, try one leg (with the other leg resting on a bench or a chair) SLDL with a bar or dumbbells in each hand.
I have a feeling your hamstrings are weak in proportion to your lower back. That's why when you go heavier you feel it in your lower back. The strongest muscle group will take over when you go heavier. I'd keep it lighter where you feel your hamstrings working. As they get stronger you'll be able to go heavier with it.
With the goodmornings, take a close stance and push your hips wayyyy back and keep your back arched hard. This will hit your hamstrings like nothing else. You don't have to get crazy with the weight for it to be effective (Lou told me this)
Lones you bring up a good point. We basically do good mornings with two different forms---one as a "squat assistance" with a wider stance where the hip are also worked--we do them suspended ~38-40 (Depending on who's doing what) inches off the ground where you rock back slightly to activate the glutes and then straighten to lift the weight. The back is arched, but not super tightly and you don't drop the hips into an anderson type squat. There are examples of this form on Elitefts's exercise index video and Team ST squat video.
For me at least, this is a very different exercise from doing the same thing with the heels close together (ie a foot or so apart), the hips pushed back, and the back tightly arched. You can use alot of weight with the first form. If you tighten things up, keep the heels close together and keep the back arched it shifts the emphasis to the hamstrings (less glutes, less hip). This to me carries over more to the deadlift than the squat. You also cannot use near as much weight with this form.
Thanks, guys, for the tips. I appreciate them. Marcus, you are probably right. I've always felt like my low back strength was a strong point of mine. I will keep these suggestions in mind next time I go to do them. Again, I appreciate it.