Rich Gaspari’s Top 3 Exercises for Glute & Hamstring Development

Rich Gaspari's glute and hamstring workout

Rich Gaspari’s leg workouts consist of ramp training and a high volume of 20 reps for each movement.

Training your glutes and hamstrings is crucial for developing strong and well-defined legs. These two major muscle groups are pivotal in movements like the deadlift, which requires ample force from your posterior chain to pull the weight. Today, we turn to the expertise of Rich Gaspari for an effective glute and hamstring training session.

Rich Gaspari is one bodybuilding legend still prominent today despite officially retiring in 1996. He was the first athlete ever to win the Arnold Classic, and despite not winning the Olympia, being a three-time runner-up, he has made his mark in the industry. Gaspari was among the first bodybuilders to own their supplement brand, Gaspari Nutrition. It has grown into a successful supplement chain that produces top-quality supplements for gym-goers and athletes. He’s also a renowned bodybuilding coach. 

Full Name: Richard Gaspari
Weight Height Date of Birth
225 lbs 5’9” 5/16/1963
Division Era Nationality
Men’s Open 1980s-1990s American

Rich Gaspari is iconic for his motivation to succeed against all odds and is considered one of the wealthiest bodybuilders without winning the top title money. This mindset is what had him competing on the Olympia stage with the best bodybuilders despite being a bit genetically disadvantaged by being shorter (5’9″) compared to other Men’s Open contenders.

You can learn more about Gaspari’s life story in his movie Gaspari. It dives into how he revolutionized the bodybuilding and fitness industry through hard work and dedication.

Rich Gaspari’s Life Story Film 

Stream or download GASPARI on Amazon Prime Video.

After visiting Korea, the “Dragon Slayer” shared his three most effective glute and hamstring development movements in an Instagram post. He writes,

“After a week in South Korea with. Full day of rest to recover from jet lag. I’m back in the gym, hitting my glutes. Here are the 3 exercises I do, which are the walking lunges. Goblet squats and finishing with RDLs to hit glutes and hamstrings. All reps of 20 increasing weights each set. Never make excuses not to get to the gym, no matter how you feel. Just be there!”

Let’s look at Rich Gaspari’s glute and hamstring training approach below. 

Rich Gaspari’s Glute & Hamstring Workout

 

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Rich Gaspari’s workout includes three exercises to train his glutes and hamstrings: walking lunges, goblet squats, and Romanian deadlifts. He says he does multiple sets of each exercise, hitting as high as 20 reps each, making it great for volume and muscular endurance. Research shows that training for muscle hypertrophy is recommended to train in a rep range of around 8-15 reps (1)

Gaspari also shares that he increases the weight after each set for all his exercises. This is known as ramping or ramp loading and is one of the popular ways that Olympic lifters train. Ramp loading is a great way to activate your nervous system by loading up progressively. It helps you manage fatigue and tax the muscles with more challenging weight each subsequent set. Now, let’s look at the exercises that Rich Gaspari did for this training.

Walking Lunges

Rich Gaspari’s first routine for this training is the walking lunge. In the set he shows online, Gaspari does this training with 40-pound dumbbells in both hands and walks 20 steps forward for ten steps for each leg.

Walking lunges are a great core and lower body exercise. They target your abs, quads, hamstrings, glutes, and calves (2). This functional exercise helps you strengthen the muscles you use daily and makes your movements easier. Walking lunges also increase the flexibility in your hamstrings and hips. This can help with your overall posture and balance. As resistance training, walking lunges are done with weights, such as barbells, dumbbells, or kettlebells.

Goblet Squats

Rich Gaspari did goblet squats on an elevated surface for the next exercise. Doing goblet squats this way increases your range of motion as you can squat deeper. It also makes the routine more challenging and increases its effectiveness. 

Goblet squats target your core, quads, hamstring, calves, and glutes. However, holding a dumbbell or kettlebell to add weight during this routine strengthens your arms and grip. Many athletes prefer goblet squats because they eliminate tension in your lower back while still effectively working on your quad and glutes. 

Goblet squats are functional and help you improve the muscles that you use every day. It could particularly enhance your form of lifting heavy objects. Your upper body also receives training during them as your chest and triceps act as stabilizers. 

Romanian Deadlift

rich gaspari

Rich Gaspari rounds up his workout by doing multiple Romanian deadlifts. To help with his form, he uses a weightlifting belt and weightlifting straps while lifting the barbell. 

The Romanian deadlift is a compound exercise that targets your posterior chain muscles. Studies indicate that the Romanian deadlift showed the same activation level on the glutes and hamstrings as the barbell hip thrust, which is an effective exercise for training those muscles (3). Romanian deadlifts also work on your forearms and increase arm strength.

Doing Romanian deadlifts has carryover to exercises like the squat and deadlift as it strengthens the main muscles that they use. Moreover, this exercise teaches you the proper mechanics for lifting heavy objects from the ground, which is crucial during the deadlift. Also, the hip-hinge-focused motion of this exercise makes it more friendly for your knees than exercises like the squat.

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References

  1. Schoenfeld, B. J., Grgic, J., Van Every, D. W., & Plotkin, D. L. (2021). Loading Recommendations for Muscle Strength, Hypertrophy, and Local Endurance: A Re-Examination of the Repetition Continuum. Sports (Basel, Switzerland), 9(2), 32. https://doi.org/10.3390/sports9020032
  2. Jönhagen, S., Halvorsen, K., & Benoit, D. L. (2009). Muscle activation and length changes during two lunge exercises: implications for rehabilitation. Scandinavian journal of medicine & science in sports, 19(4), 561–568. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1600-0838.2007.00692.x 
  3. Delgado, J., Drinkwater, E. J., Banyard, H. G., Haff, G. G., & Nosaka, K. (2019). Comparison Between Back Squat, Romanian Deadlift, and Barbell Hip Thrust for Leg and Hip Muscle Activities During Hip Extension. Journal of strength and conditioning research, 33(10), 2595–2601. https://doi.org/10.1519/JSC.0000000000003290
As a personal trainer and writer, Terry loves changing lives through coaching and the written word. Terry has a B.S. in Kinesiology and is an ACSM Certified Personal Trainer and ISSA Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist. He enjoys playing music, reading, and watching films when he's not writing or training.