wikiHow to Perform a Hamstring Curl

Three Methods:Curling on the FloorCurling with a MachineCurling with a Ball

A hamstring curl is a commonly uses exercise. It exercises the hamstrings and glutes. Depending on what’s available to you and the level of difficulty you’re looking for, there are modifications to help you reach your goals.

Method 1
Curling on the Floor

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    Lie on the floor. To do a hamstring curl on the floor, lie on your stomach with your hands in front of you, slightly wider than your shoulders.
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    Lift your feet. From this position, lift one or both feet off the floor by bending your knees. When doing this, you should be keeping your knees on the floor. Keep your back straight and your knees close together throughout the repetition.[1]
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    Straighten your legs. Release your hamstring by lowering your feet back to the floor. From here, repeat for the recommended amount of repetitions.
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    Add weight. If these are too easy and you don’t notice the contraction in your hamstrings, add some weight. You can do this by either wrapping ankle weights around your lower legs, or by holding a dumbbell between your feet as you lift them off the ground.

Method 2
Curling with a Machine

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    Find the machine. The hamstring curl machine will have stacked weights on one side, a flat bench for your body, and a padded cylinder for you to move with your legs.
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    Adjust the lever. Laying on your stomach, the padded cylinder behind you should go on top of your legs. The pad should hit just a few inches below your calf muscles. You can adjust it using the lever until it is in the right spot for your height.[2]
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    Keep your torso flat. Tighten your core muscles to help you keep your torso flat on the bench. Ensure your legs are fully stretched in the starting position, and grab the handles in front of your shoulders to steady yourself.
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    Exhale and curl. As you breathe out, curl your legs up as far as possible without lifting your upper legs off of the bench. Hold for a second once you reach the fully contracted position.[3]
    • If it is too easy or too hard, you can stop and adjust the weight using the stack next to you.
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    Inhale and release. As you breathe in, bring your legs slowly back down to your starting position. Repeat for recommended amount of repetitions.[4]

Method 3
Curling with a Ball

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    Find a swiss ball. Those are the oversized, light, rubber balls often used for Pilates. It doesn’t matter which size you use. Choose one that you’re comfortable with. You’ll get a bigger contraction with a larger ball.
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    Lay on the floor. With your back on the floor, roll the ball up under your feet. You want your feet to be on the top center of the ball. [5]
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    Lift your hips. Put your full weight between your feet (on the ball) and your shoulder blades. Use your arms to stabilize yourself. This will be your starting position.
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    Bring the ball towards you. Bend your knees, pulling the ball as close as you can to your bottom. This will contract the hamstring. Hold for a brief pause and then push the ball back out to your starting position. Repeat for the recommended amount of repetitions.[6]

Article Info

Categories: Leg Strengthening Exercises | Building Muscle & Strength