Strengthen Your Hamstrings With These Alternatives to Leg Curls
Leg curls got you down? Maybe you need something more challenging? We’ve got you covered…
Hamstrings are important muscles in the human body that crosses both the hip joints and the knee joints.
They are involved in functions such as walking and becomes especially important when running.
Strong hamstrings result in a faster speed when running and also makes it easier to stop and to change direction suddenly.
Apart from being important for runners, when you attend to your hamstrings as you do with other muscle groups in your body, it helps you maintain a better posture and can even help to lower your risk of suffering a leg injury.
The advantages of having strong and powerful hamstrings are widely known, which is why the machines for performing leg curls are often full at the gym.
Leg curls are known to be especially good for building stronger hamstring muscles, but what many people do not realize is that there are other alternative exercises that can be just as useful for improving the strength of their hamstrings.
Best Alternatives To Leg Curls To Strengthen Up Your Hamstring Muscles
While many activities are known to work on your hamstrings apart from leg curls, not all of them deliver equal efficiency in strengthening these muscles.
Thus, whether you are a frequent runner or simply want to get stronger hamstrings to help improve your posture, the activities we share below are all powerful options to target multiple muscle groups, while still attending to the strength of those hamstring muscles.
What’s more, the activities we are about to share with you can be done at home – no need to spend hundreds of dollars on a gym membership to help you get on the track, boost your speed and prevent injuries affecting your legs.
The Nordic Hamstring Curl
This particular exercise is quite popular among professional athletes and is also well-known among coaches.
While popularly known as the Nordic Hamstring Curl, it also goes by many other names – such as the Russian ham curl, the bodyweight hamstring curl, and the kneeling Russian hamstring.
This is a particularly effective move that was developed specifically to target the hamstring muscles and is known to contribute to great speed and control over the hips and knees.
The Nordic Hamstring Curl has not only become popular for its effectiveness in improving hamstring strength but has also become quite a popular option used among professional athletes to help reduce the risk of strains and injuries in the legs.
The exercise is sometimes also used as a type of rehabilitation technique to help strengthen muscles following an injury and prevent further injuries.
There are different variations of the Nordic Hamstring Curl.
Most of these activities require support from a buddy or, in the case of an athlete, a coach. You would start by kneeling.
While someone is holding your feet to the ground, you would then lower your body (head toward the ground) with both your feet and knees planted on the pad beneath you.
The Single-Leg Deadlift
Another excellent option for strengthening the hamstring, while also working on surrounding muscles, is the single-leg deadlift.
The great thing about this exercise is that you don’t need the support of a buddy or coach, and you can do this particular exercise at home.
You simply need some open floor space and a kettlebell. This is also a very easy move to perform and does not require any special skills.
The single-leg deadlift is useful for more than just your hamstring muscles.
It helps to strengthen your hips and also help to stabilize your legs.
Furthermore, this particular exercise is also excellent for improving your posture and for working on your balance.
It is often used by athletes to help them gain the strength they need to participate in sports that require running.
There are two main variations of this exercise, including the double kettlebell single-leg deadlift and the single-arm single-leg deadlift.
Both of these exercises are quite similar and share the same principles, but many people do find the double kettlebell single-leg deadlift more appropriate as it provides a better balance to their core.
While performing this exercise, it is important that the back remains in a neutral position throughout the activity and that the front knee bends without moving forward in an extreme way.
Furthermore, you should keep your shoulders in a parallel position to each other, as well as to the floor.
Even though the Romanian deadlift exercise is often used to help strengthen the biceps and the chest, this particular exercise is also one of the most effective options for working out your hamstring muscles.
This exercise is useful for improving the flexibility of the hamstrings as well, and aid in improving the strength of the hips and the backs.
Professional athletes also benefit from improvements in their hip hinge when they perform this move.
This is another type of deadlift exercise that can be easily performed at home. It does require a bar with weights in order to work effectively.
It is a good idea to start with a lower weight and move up as you build your strength – this will help to avoid potential injuries while giving you maximum benefit from the Romanian deadlifts you are performing.
When you are performing a Romanian deadlift, be sure to keep the bar in a position close to your body and to push your buttocks out as far as you can.
You should keep your head up, and ensure your shoulders are kept backward. Do not push it too far with this move as it may cause complications.
When it comes to strengthening your hamstrings, while also attending to other muscles in the same region, it is important not to overlook the potential of box-squats.
These are great for balancing the strength of muscles in the lower region of your body and helps to work on your buttocks, hamstrings, and surrounding muscle groups. Box-squats also help to improve your mobility and flexibility, while adding a considerable boost to your lower body strength.
For the box-squat, you will also require a bar. No need for large weights, however. The bar is held below the neck during this move.
You will also need a box, chair, or another platform that can bring you into a parallel squat position. Other than this, the box-squat is very much similar to a traditional squat but adds support for getting into the appropriate position, which helps to reduce your risk of an injury.
The Glute-Hamstring Raise
Finally, we want to place emphasis on just how effective glute-hamstring raises are when it comes to making the hamstring muscles more powerful and for activating these particular muscles in the body.
A study that was done by the University of Memphis in Tennessee found that this is actually one of the best exercises to perform when a person wants to active their hamstring muscles.
An important fact to note is that this exercise does not cause strain on the lower back area, which means it is a perfect way for people with existing problems with their lower back to strengthen their hamstrings.
Glute-hamstring raises also help to correct imbalances with muscles in the legs, which can potentially help to reduce the risk of injury.
Furthermore, they have also been proven to assist with boosting spring speed among athletes.
Before You Go…
Even though hamstrings are often one of the primary muscle groups targeted by runners and individuals involved with sports that require speed, the average person can also greatly benefit from stronger hamstring muscles.
While the first exercise that comes to mind when strengthening these muscles would be leg curls, many alternative physical activities can also provide great benefits to the hamstrings.
To help get you started, we shared some top alternatives in this post – many of which adds additional benefits apart from targeting your hamstring muscles.