HomeFitnessHamstring Curls: 6 Variations From Basic to Advanced

Hamstring Curls: 6 Variations From Basic to Advanced

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

Positioned south of your glutes, your hamstrings are a robust (but typically ignored) muscle group that helps bend your knees, lengthen (straighten) your hips, and rotate your legs. The hamstrings come into play throughout useful actions, like strolling and climbing stairs, and will 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 energy and energy, harm prevention, and aesthetics (learn: a shapelier butt).

Under are six totally different hamstring curl variations you are able to do and not using a 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

Problem stage: straightforward to reasonable

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

  • Stand together with your toes hip-width aside. Place your palms in your hips or maintain onto a steady floor, just like the again of a chair or a wall, for stability.
  • 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 may go, pause for a second. Slowly decrease your left foot to the bottom.
  • Repeat for the required variety of repetitions, then swap legs.

2. Seated Hamstring Curl

seated hamstring curl with band

Problem stage: straightforward to reasonable

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

  • Sit on the bench and lengthen your proper leg so there’s a delicate bend in your knee. Loop the open finish of the resistance band across the again of your proper ankle. (Alternatively, you may place the band round each ankles to work each legs on the identical time.) There must be a reasonable quantity of rigidity on the band. That is your beginning place.
  • Holding your chest up and your shoulders again, slowly draw your proper heel again towards the bench so far as you may. Pause for a second.
  • Slowly lengthen your leg to return to the beginning place.
  • Repeat for the required variety of reps, then swap legs.
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3. Glider Hamstring Curl 

Problem stage: straightforward to reasonable

The glider hamstring curl takes the already difficult glute bridge and dials it up a notch. If you happen to don’t have gliders, attempt substituting paper plates or carrying slippery socks on onerous flooring.

  • Lie in your again together with your arms at your sides, knees bent 90 levels, and left heel resting on a glider.
  • Interact 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 may 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 required variety of reps earlier than switching sides.

4. Mendacity Hamstring Curl

Problem stage: reasonable to difficult

When carried out with a dumbbell between your toes, the mendacity hamstring curl — also called the inclined hamstring curl — engages the hamstring muscle mass in each legs. You can too anchor one finish of a resistance band to a pole, weight rack, or heavy fixture at about ankle peak and slip the opposite finish of the band round one or each ankles.

  • Lie face down together with your legs collectively and your brow resting in your palms. If you happen to’re utilizing a dumbbell, place the deal with between your toes. If you happen to’re utilizing a resistance band, be sure to’re dealing with away from the anchor level and loop the open finish across the backs of each ankles. (If you happen to’d favor to work one leg at a time, loop it round one ankle and hold the opposite leg prolonged on the ground.)
  • Interact your core and, maintaining your toes 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 may, pause, then slowly decrease your toes again towards the bottom.
  • Repeat for the required variety of reps. (If you happen to go for the single-leg mendacity hamstring curl, full each repetition on one leg earlier than switching sides.)
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5. Stability Ball Hamstring Curl

Man Does Stability Ball Hamstring Curl | balance exercises

Problem stage: reasonable to difficult

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

  • Lie face up together with your again on the bottom, legs prolonged, and calves resting on the steadiness ball. Open your arms to a “T” place to assist stability.
  • Interact 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.
  • Along with your toes flexed, slowly draw your heels towards your butt, permitting the ball to roll towards you and below your toes.
  • 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 required variety of reps.

6. Nordic Hamstring Curl

Cartoon Depiction of Nordic Curls | Hamstring Curls

Problem stage: difficult

If you happen to’re in search of a problem, give the Nordic hamstring curl a shot. Carried out from a kneeling place, this superior motion requires sufficient hamstring energy to each decrease and raise your torso with management.

  • Begin in a tall kneeling place. (Place a rolled-up towel or pad below your knees for consolation.) Anchor your toes by slipping your heels below a heavy weight rack or piece of furnishings, or ask a companion to carry your toes in place.
  • Holding 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 just a few inches from the ground, permit your palms to catch the burden 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 needed, use your palms to help you.
  • Repeat for the required variety of reps.

Hamstring Curls: Advantages

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

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


There’s a hamstring curl choice for each stage of skill and expertise (simply take a look at the above listing of choices), and you may simply make every variation more durable or simpler by adjusting the resistance.

Energy and energy

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

Damage prevention

Analysis exhibits that usually performing the hamstring curl — the Nordic hamstring curl, particularly, which applies load to the hamstrings as they’re lengthened — could cut back the speed of sports-related hamstring accidents by as much as 51 p.c.

Addresses imbalances

As visible creatures, we are inclined to deal with the “mirror muscle mass,” or the physique elements we are able to see, and overlook concerning the muscle mass that make up the posterior chain. This will create problematic muscle imbalances that may result in motion compensations and harm.

Workout routines that strengthen the muscle mass that run alongside the bottom of the physique, just like the hamstring curl, will help restore and/or preserve stability.

A shapely rear

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

Hamstring Curls: Muscle mass Labored

hamstrings muscles anatomy

Whereas some leg curl variations like the steadiness 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 positioned 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 a protracted head and a brief head, the biceps femoris is the outermost hamstring muscle and is chargeable 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 features to flex the knee, lengthen the thigh on the hip, and help in each thigh and lower-leg rotation.


The semitendinosus, which is positioned between the biceps femoris and the semimembranosus, has primarily the identical features because the semimembranosus.

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