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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.

Positioned south of your glutes, your hamstrings are a robust (but usually ignored) 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 might 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, harm prevention, and aesthetics (learn: a shapelier butt).

Beneath are six completely 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

Issue stage: straightforward to reasonable

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

  • Stand along with your toes 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 stability.
  • Shift your weight to your proper leg and, conserving 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 desired variety of repetitions, then change legs.

2. Seated Hamstring Curl

seated hamstring curl with band

Issue 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. Prepare 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 comfortable 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.
  • Preserving 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 desired variety of reps, then change legs.

3. Glider Hamstring Curl 

Issue stage: straightforward to reasonable

The glider hamstring curl takes the already difficult glute bridge and dials it up a notch. When you don’t have gliders, attempt 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 varieties 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 conserving 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 toes, the mendacity hamstring curl — often known as the inclined hamstring curl — engages the hamstring muscle groups in each legs. You may also 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 along with your legs collectively and your brow resting in your arms. When you’re utilizing a dumbbell, place the deal with between your toes. 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 maintain the opposite leg prolonged on the ground.)
  • Have interaction your core and, conserving your toes flexed, slowly draw your heels towards your butt. Proceed to maintain your thighs pressed towards the bottom.
  • When you’ve gone so far as you may, pause, then slowly decrease your toes 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 stability and fires up your core muscle groups whereas additionally constructing power in your hamstrings.

  • Lie face up along 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.
  • 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 varieties 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, conserving 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 in search of 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 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.
  • Preserving 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 couple of inches from the ground, permit your arms to catch the burden of your physique towards 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 groups play a vital position in flexing your knees and increasing and rotating your hips. You want them for on a regular basis actions like strolling, working, squatting, climbing stairs, and bending over.

Including hamstring curls to your exercise will help you preserve wholesome practical motion patterns by strengthening these muscle groups, however that’s not their solely profit. Listed below are a couple of extra causes to think about incorporating leg curls into your strength-training routine.

Versatility

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

Energy and energy

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

Damage prevention

Analysis reveals that often 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 p.c.

Addresses imbalances

As visible creatures, we are likely to concentrate on the “mirror muscle groups,” or the physique elements we are able to see, and neglect in regards to the muscle groups 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 groups 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 in regards to the legs. Effectively-defined hamstrings will help intensify your butt, making it look tighter and extra lifted. Hamstring curls can set off hypertrophy, or muscle development, which is chargeable for a extra shapely booty.

Hamstring Curls: Muscle groups Labored

hamstrings muscles anatomy

Whereas some leg curl variations like the steadiness ball hamstring curl and the glider hamstring curl have interaction the glutes and deep core muscle groups, all hamstring curl workouts primarily goal the hamstrings, a gaggle of muscle groups 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 groups.

Biceps femoris

Comprised of each an extended 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.

Semimembranosus

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.

Semitendinosus

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

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