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Sunday, April 14, 2024

Hamstring Curls: 6 Variations From Primary to Superior

Whether or not your health targets are performance-related or extra about the way you look in a pair of denims, prepare to fulfill your new favourite power transfer: hamstring curls.

Situated south of your glutes, your hamstrings are a strong (but typically missed) muscle group that helps bend your knees, lengthen (straighten) your hips, and rotate your legs. The hamstrings come into play throughout practical actions, like strolling and climbing stairs, and may be strengthened with compound actions, just like the squat and deadlift.

However incorporating hamstring workouts into your resistance coaching can amplify your outcomes and supply extra focused advantages associated to lower-body power and energy, damage prevention, and aesthetics (learn: a shapelier butt).

Beneath are six completely different hamstring curl variations you are able to do with no machine, starting from beginner-friendly banded leg curls to a extra superior body weight hamstring curl.

To carry out every isolation train accurately, you’ll want entry to an train mat, resistance band, dumbbell, stability ball, bench or chair, and gliders.

1. Standing Hamstring Curl

Woman Does Standing Hamstring Curls | Hamstring Curls

Issue stage: simple to reasonable

This standing, single-leg hamstring curl may be carried out as a body weight train or with a resistance band looped round your ankles.

  • Stand along with your ft hip-width aside. Place your arms in your hips or maintain onto a steady floor, just like the again of a chair or a wall, for steadiness.
  • Shift your weight to your proper leg and, maintaining your left foot flexed, slowly draw your left heel towards your butt.
  • When you’ve gone so far as you possibly can go, pause for a second. Slowly decrease your left foot to the bottom.
  • Repeat for the desired variety of repetitions, then change legs.

2. Seated Hamstring Curl

seated hamstring curl with band

Issue stage: simple to reasonable

To carry out seated hamstring curls, anchor a resistance band to a pole, weight rack, or heavy fixture at about ankle top. Organize your chair or bench so that you just’re dealing with the anchor level.

  • Sit on the bench and lengthen your proper leg so there’s a gentle bend in your knee. Loop the open finish of the resistance band across the again of your proper ankle. (Alternatively, you possibly can place the band round each ankles to work each legs on the identical time.) There ought to be a reasonable quantity of pressure on the band. That is your beginning place.
  • Maintaining your chest up and your shoulders again, slowly draw your proper heel again towards the bench so far as you possibly can. Pause for a second.
  • Slowly lengthen your leg to return to the beginning place.
  • Repeat for the desired variety of reps, then change legs.

3. Glider Hamstring Curl 

Issue stage: simple to reasonable

The glider hamstring curl takes the already difficult glute bridge and dials it up a notch. When you don’t have gliders, strive substituting paper plates or sporting slippery socks on exhausting flooring.

  • Lie in your again along with your arms at your sides, knees bent 90 levels, and left heel resting on a glider.
  • Have interaction your core and raise your hips so your physique types a straight line out of your shoulders to your knees. That is your beginning place.
  • With management, slowly lengthen your left leg by sliding the glider away out of your hips.
  • Go so far as you possibly can whereas nonetheless sustaining management and maintaining your hips lifted. Then, use your hamstrings and glutes to slip the glider again towards your hips.
  • Return to the beginning place and repeat for the desired variety of reps earlier than switching sides.

4. Mendacity Hamstring Curl

Issue stage: reasonable to difficult

When carried out with a dumbbell between your ft, the mendacity hamstring curl — often known as the susceptible hamstring curl — engages the hamstring muscle mass in each legs. You can even anchor one finish of a resistance band to a pole, weight rack, or heavy fixture at about ankle top and slip the opposite finish of the band round one or each ankles.

  • Lie face down along with your legs collectively and your brow resting in your arms. When you’re utilizing a dumbbell, place the deal with between your ft. When you’re utilizing a resistance band, be sure you’re dealing with away from the anchor level and loop the open finish across the backs of each ankles. (When you’d choose to work one leg at a time, loop it round one ankle and hold the opposite leg prolonged on the ground.)
  • Have interaction your core and, maintaining your ft flexed, slowly draw your heels towards your butt. Proceed to maintain your thighs pressed in opposition to the bottom.
  • When you’ve gone so far as you possibly can, pause, then slowly decrease your ft again towards the bottom.
  • Repeat for the desired variety of reps. (When you go for the single-leg mendacity hamstring curl, full each repetition on one leg earlier than switching sides.)

5. Stability Ball Hamstring Curl

Man Does Stability Ball Hamstring Curl | balance exercises

Issue stage: reasonable to difficult

By introducing a component of instability, the Swiss ball hamstring curl exams your steadiness and fires up your core muscle mass whereas additionally constructing power in your hamstrings.

  • Lie face up along with your again on the bottom, legs prolonged, and calves resting on the soundness ball. Open your arms to a “T” place to assist steadiness.
  • Have interaction your core, contract your glutes, and press the backs of your legs into the ball to raise your butt off the bottom till your physique types a straight line out of your shoulders to your ankles. That is the beginning place.
  • Together with your ft flexed, slowly draw your heels towards your butt, permitting the ball to roll towards you and beneath your ft.
  • Pause, then slowly lengthen your legs, rolling the ball away from you, to return to the beginning place.
  • Repeat, maintaining your hips lifted, for the desired variety of reps.

6. Nordic Hamstring Curl

Cartoon Depiction of Nordic Curls | Hamstring Curls

Issue stage: difficult

When you’re searching for a problem, give the Nordic hamstring curl a shot. Carried out from a kneeling place, this superior motion requires sufficient hamstring power to each decrease and raise your torso with management.

  • Begin in a tall kneeling place. (Place a rolled-up towel or pad beneath your knees for consolation.) Anchor your ft by slipping your heels beneath a heavy weight rack or piece of furnishings, or ask a associate to carry your ft in place.
  • Maintaining your core engaged, slowly lean ahead at your knees and decrease your torso to the ground. Use your glutes and hamstrings to regulate your descent.
  • When you’re a number of inches from the ground, permit your arms to catch the load of your physique in opposition to the bottom. Instantly draw your self again as much as a tall kneeling place utilizing your hamstrings and glutes. If essential, use your arms to help you.
  • Repeat for the desired variety of reps.

Hamstring Curls: Advantages

Your hamstring muscle mass play a important position in flexing your knees and lengthening and rotating your hips. You want them for on a regular basis actions like strolling, operating, squatting, climbing stairs, and bending over.

Including hamstring curls to your exercise may help you preserve wholesome practical motion patterns by strengthening these muscle mass, however that’s not their solely profit. Listed here are a number of extra causes to contemplate incorporating leg curls into your strength-training routine.


There’s a hamstring curl choice for each stage of means and expertise (simply have a look at the above checklist of choices), and you’ll simply make every variation tougher or simpler by adjusting the resistance.

Energy and energy

The hamstring muscle mass comprise a considerable amount of sort II muscle fibers, that are liable for rapidly producing massive quantities of pressure. So, whether or not you play a sport or simply need to climb stairs quicker, hamstring curls may help you develop extra lower-body power.

Damage prevention

Analysis exhibits that commonly performing the hamstring curl — the Nordic hamstring curl, particularly, which applies load to the hamstrings as they’re lengthened — might scale back the speed of sports-related hamstring accidents by as much as 51 %.

Addresses imbalances

As visible creatures, we are likely to concentrate on the “mirror muscle mass,” or the physique components we will see, and neglect in regards to the muscle mass that make up the posterior chain. This could create problematic muscle imbalances that may result in motion compensations and damage.

Workouts that strengthen the muscle mass that run alongside the bottom of the physique, just like the hamstring curl, may help restore and/or preserve steadiness.

A shapely rear

It’s not all in regards to the legs. Properly-defined hamstrings may help intensify your butt, making it look tighter and extra lifted. Hamstring curls can set off hypertrophy, or muscle progress, which is liable for a extra shapely booty.

Hamstring Curls: Muscle mass Labored

hamstrings muscles anatomy

Whereas some leg curl variations like the soundness ball hamstring curl and the glider hamstring curl interact the glutes and deep core muscle mass, all hamstring curl workouts primarily goal the hamstrings, a gaggle of muscle mass situated on the backs of your thighs.

The anatomy of the hamstrings, which originate on the pelvis and insert into the knee simply above the calve, is comprised of three separate muscle mass.

Biceps femoris

Comprised of each an extended head and a brief head, the biceps femoris is the outermost hamstring muscle and is liable for flexion of the knee, extending the thigh on the hip, rotating the decrease leg when the knee is barely bent, and rotating the thigh when the hip is prolonged.


The innermost hamstring, the semimembranosus additionally capabilities to flex the knee, lengthen the thigh on the hip, and help in each thigh and lower-leg rotation.


The semitendinosus, which is situated between the biceps femoris and the semimembranosus, has basically the identical capabilities because the semimembranosus.

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