7 Hamstring Curl Variations to Improve Overall Leg Strength

Lexi Lutz
Reading Time: 9 minutes
hamstring curl variations
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As a muscle builder and coach, I always hunt for fresh hurdles to boost my workout game. Mixing up hamstring curl variations turned out to be a game changer for me.

These exercises not only zero in on the hamstrings but also contribute to overall leg strength. In this article, I’ll share some highly effective hamstring curl variations, ranging from standing and resistance band curls to stability ball, dumbbell, core slider, isometric, and Nordic hamstring curls. Whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned athlete, there’s a variation suited for everyone.

1. Standing Hamstring Curl

The standing hamstring curl is one of the most popular hamstring curl exercises. It’s a simple yet effective exercise that targets the hamstrings, glutes, and lower back muscles. The standing hamstring curl can be performed using either machines or free weights, and it’s an ideal exercise for those looking to build strength in the legs.

To perform the standing hamstring curl:

  1. Stand with your feet hip-width apart and your knees slightly bent.
  2. Place your hands on your hips.
  3. Lift one leg off the ground behind you, keeping the knee bent.
  4. Slowly curl your heel towards your buttocks, squeezing your hamstrings as you do so.
  5. Pause at the top of the movement, then slowly lower your leg back down to the starting position.
  6. Complete the desired number of repetitions, then switch to the opposite leg.

2. Resistance Band Hamstring Curl

Looking to take your hamstring curl to the next level? Try the resistance band hamstring curl! This innovative exercise variation adds extra resistance, making it a challenging and effective way to target the hamstrings.

To perform the resistance band hamstring curl:

1. Start by attaching a resistance band to a stationary object, such as a post or door frame. 

2. Then, loop the band around your ankles and lie face down on a mat with your hands by your sides.

3. Bend your knees and bring your heels towards your glutes, keeping your feet flexed. 

4. As you curl your legs towards your body, squeeze your hamstrings and keep your core engaged. 

5. Slowly lower back down to complete the rep.

The resistance band hamstring curl is a great way to strengthen the hamstrings, which are important for overall leg strength and s3. tability. By incorporating advanced hamstring curl variations like this into your strength training routine, you can challenge your muscles and see greater improvements in your fitness goals.

Resistance band hamstring curl

3. Stability Ball Hamstring Curl

If you’re looking for a challenging hamstring curl variation that can engage your core and target your hamstrings effectively, the stability ball hamstring curl is an excellent option.

1. Start by lying on your back with your feet resting on top of a stability ball. 

2. Place your arms at your sides with your palms facing down. 

3. Then, lift your hips off the floor, keeping your back straight. 

4. Roll the ball towards your buttocks by bending your knees, and pause for a few seconds before rolling it back out.

This exercise requires balance and precision, which can make it challenging, but it’s also an effective way to strengthen your hamstrings and improve your overall leg strength. The stability ball hamstring curl is one of the top hamstring curl variations that you can incorporate into your strength training routine and is excellent for making progress.

4. Dumbbell Hamstring Curl

The dumbbell hamstring curl is an effective variation that adds extra resistance using dumbbells. 

1. Lie face down on a bench with a dumbbell between your feet. 

2. Keeping your legs straight, raise the dumbbell as high as possible and then lower it slowly back down. 

3. Repeat for the desired number of reps.

Remember to keep your movements slow and controlled throughout the exercise to get the most out of it. Additionally, always start with a weight that you can comfortably handle and gradually increase it as you get stronger.

Dumbbell Hamstring Curl

5. Core Slider Hamstring Curl

As the name suggests, the core slider hamstring curl is a variation of the hamstring curl that requires sliders to target the hamstrings. 

1. To perform this exercise, start by lying on your back with your feet on the sliders and arms at your sides. 

2. Engage your core and lift your hips off the ground while sliding your heels towards your glutes. 

3. Pause for a moment at the top of the movement, then slowly extend your legs back out to the starting position.

This exercise is great for building leg strength and improving hamstring flexibility. It also engages the core muscles, making it a full-body exercise. There are several variations of this exercise, including single-leg and weighted versions, that can help you progress and challenge yourself even further.

6. Isometric Hamstring Curl 

The isometric hamstring curl involves holding a static position, which can help increase stability and muscle endurance. 

1. To perform this exercise, lie face down on a mat and bend your knees at a 90-degree angle. 

2. Lift your heels towards your glutes and hold this position for a few seconds before lowering your legs back to the starting position.

7. Nordic Hamstring Curl

The Nordic hamstring curl, on the other hand, requires a partner or a sturdy object to anchor your feet. 

1. Kneel on the floor facing away from your anchor, and slowly lower your upper body to the floor while keeping your legs straight. 

2. Use your hamstrings to push yourself back up to the starting position. 

This exercise can help improve hamstring strength and reduce the risk of injury.

By incorporating these two hamstring curl variations into your strength training routine, you can improve your leg strength and overall athletic performance. Always be sure to use proper technique and gradually increase your reps and intensity over time.

FAQ

What are hamstring curl variations?

Hamstring curl variations refer to different exercises that target the hamstrings and improve overall leg strength. These variations involve different equipment or techniques to provide a diverse workout for the hamstrings.

Why are hamstring curl variations important for improving leg strength?

Hamstring curl variations help target the posterior chain, which includes the hamstrings, glutes, and lower back. Strengthening these muscles improves overall leg strength, enhances athletic performance, and helps prevent injuries.

What is the standing hamstring curl exercise?

The standing hamstring curl is an exercise that targets the hamstrings while standing upright. It involves flexing the knee against resistance, typically using exercise machines or weights.

How can the standing hamstring curl benefit leg strength?

The standing hamstring curl targets the hamstrings, helping to build strength and stability in the leg muscles. It can improve athletic performance in sports that require explosive movements, such as sprinting or jumping.

What is the resistance band hamstring curl?

The resistance band hamstring curl is a more advanced variation that adds extra resistance to the hamstring curl exercise. It involves looping a resistance band around the ankles or feet and performing the curling motion while lying down or standing.

How can the resistance band hamstring curl be beneficial?

The resistance band hamstring curl challenges the hamstrings by adding resistance throughout the entire range of motion. This variation can help increase hamstring strength and improve stability in the leg muscles.

What is the stability ball hamstring curl?

The stability ball hamstring curl is a challenging variation that requires balancing on a stability ball while performing the curling motion. It engages the core along with the hamstrings, providing a full-body workout.

How can the stability ball hamstring curl benefit leg strength?

The stability ball hamstring curl targets the hamstrings, glutes, and core, helping to build overall leg strength and improve balance and stability. It also activates the stabilizer muscles, enhancing the effectiveness of the exercise.

What is the dumbbell hamstring curl?

The dumbbell hamstring curl is a variation that adds extra resistance by using dumbbells. It involves performing the curling motion while holding dumbbells in the hands.

How can the dumbbell hamstring curl be effective for leg strength?

The dumbbell hamstring curl adds extra resistance to the exercise, challenging the hamstrings and promoting muscle growth. It helps improve overall leg strength and can be customized based on individual strength levels by adjusting the dumbbell weight.

What is the core slider hamstring curl?

The core slider hamstring curl is an exercise that requires the use of sliders to target the hamstrings. It involves sliding the feet or legs on the sliders while performing the curling motion.

How do core slider hamstring curls impact leg strength?

Core slider hamstring curls engage the hamstrings and challenge the muscles in new ways. They improve strength, stability, and flexibility in the legs, making them an effective variation for overall leg strength training.

What are isometric hamstring curls and Nordic hamstring curls?

Isometric hamstring curls involve holding a static contraction in the curling position, while Nordic hamstring curls are performed by using a partner or a strap to anchor the feet while curling the body forward.

How can isometric and Nordic hamstring curls benefit leg strength?

Isometric and Nordic hamstring curls are specialized variations that focus on eccentric and isometric muscle contractions. These exercises help build strength, improve balance, and reduce the risk of hamstring injuries.

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