Rep. Numbers for Hamstrings (RDL'S)

What rep. numbers should be used for RDL’s?
I know for Oly. Lifts under 5 reps. And for core lifts less than 8 reps depending on phase. And for anxillary/assistance exercises around 8 reps suffice but where do RDL’s fall under?

Also i am not competing at all this summer and as you can see from my avatar my legs are real skinny compared to my upper body as well as weaker. Bench and squat are around the same. 320 @ 155 pounds. So would i benefit from more hypertrophy work in the lower area or …???

Hamstrings love to be worked in the low rep range. I would start with 6 sets of 4 and would never go over 6 reps.

Biopsies have indicated that the hamstrings group are primarily white fiber dominant. Thus, it is reasonable to state that the employment of lower repetitions are optimal. However, you must more accurately define your goal. The loading parameters that you employ will vary depending on the training goal.

What are your current strength levels in the DL variations?



Would you use RDLs as a developmental stage or reinforcement tool for the clean, and, if so, how would that influence numbers?

Charlie, I would use the RDL for both purposes. What I have seen first hand, (here in the US) is a number of OL, OL trained athletes with good technique but ,ironically, grossly underdeveloped limit strenth/posterior chain. I see this as one of the major contributing factors for the US, the men anyway (Hamman excepted), getting routinely spanked on the international level.

As we all know, once limit weights are reached, technique is the name of the game. However, one must have already developed high limit strength to get to the competitive standard. This is why the Russians and eastern bloc lifters have dominated year after year.

It is my belief that a strong RDL will greatly facilitate the first and second pull phases of the OL’s.


I am a strong advocate of the concurrent development of various motor qualities.

History has shown us that incredibly strong athletes do not always dominate their respective technically based events. (i.e., Udo Beyer eventually superceded by the less strong/but more speed [Timmerman?])

I also recall reading how Alexeyev claimed that a OL who possed a big back squat did not necessarily make for a big clean. Obviously Alexeyev’s performances speak for themselves, and if I remember correctly he did not utilize weights in the back squat which were much in excess of his clean.


There was an thread a while back proving that hamstring hypertrophy increases sprinting speed. So, make them as big as possible… you’re probably best to go in the 8-12 rep range.

Ask for Dwain,
he was the Bigger HaMan on tracks.

There was a discussion, but nothing PROVING that hamstring hypertrophy increases speed. The hamstrings work over the hip and the knee. Most speed comes from power around the hip (where it is most likely that heavier weights with low rep numbers will suit), whereas the need for strength around the knee is less (so higher reps and lighter weights, if done). If someone works heavy weights and high reps around the knee and gains hypertrophy, what then?
Exercises without weights (though lightly resisted) such as reverse hypers, which work the hams, gluts, and erector spinae (shown on the GPP DVD) would be done in the 8 to 10 rep range for 2 to 3 sets.

Charlie, so what rep range would you suggest for RDL’s.
For me from what ive told you anyway.

I’d prob keep the RDLs at 6 or less, but concentrate first on the hyper/reverse hyper exercises in sets of 10. You can see them clearly illustrated on the GPP DVD and you could go up to 3 x (10 x 3 exercises) for a max total of 90 reps. If you have it, let me know what you think of the workout.

Thanx for the suggestion but we do not have a reverse hyper machine where i train. (I do own the dvd).

So i should keep my RDL #'s around 6 reps?

Check the DVD again. You don’t need a machine for the hyper/reverse hypers, just a box-horse or a sturdy table and partners (they’re shown in the main part, not the weights section)

Right Ok i remember now! I have only watched the DVD once so far since i am not in general prep at the moment. I will go back and refresh my memory.

So do you think it would be benifical to do my RDL’S on Day #1 and instead of doing them again on Day #4 do what you suggested?

There’s a lot there you can use in the SPP as well, especially the technical sprint work. If you have the capacity, maybe you could run a split screen with the appropriate example on one side and your film on the other for a quick comparison to help analyse your technique (I wouldn’t have a clue how to do that- though I’m sure Number Two could do it)

As for the split on the exercises, it will take some time to build up the numbers with the hypers so I’d keep the RDLs as is for the time being.

Sorry to jack the thread, but I wanna catch u while you’re on… Charlie, I am looking to develop my hamstrings more, as they are small compared to the other parts of my posterior chain and quads. I am looking in to buying a reverse hyper, glute-ham raise or reverse leg press. Which one would you recommend I get? Or would you recommend a different option?

I use the box horse with partners as shown on the GPP DVD. Where do you train and why would you have to buy this equipment?

Do you like RDL’s better than good mornings? I have great results after changing to good mornings last summer like you recommended.

I train by myself, so I have no partner.

can back hypers be done laying on the ground where you raise the shoulders and knees at the same time? we did these in practice, but you don’t have the range of motion.