How to Do Leg Curls at Home? 5 Ultimate Fitness Guides

“If it doesn’t challenge you, it doesn’t change you,” as the saying goes. And if there’s one thing that’s helped us reach our fitness goals, it’s a challenge.

Let’s be honest: the quarantine has been hard. Since the gyms have been closed for months, your muscles are probably getting weak again.

Today, I’ll show you how to do leg curls at home, so all those hours you spent on the hamstring machines won’t be wasted.

But staying at home doesn’t have to mean losing muscle tone, and not everyone can afford to drag an expensive gym machine into their garage.

Even if you’re stuck in your living room, you can easily stay on track with exercises like the leg curl.

One of the most important things I’ve told my clients is that leg curl variations work your hamstrings much better than those big machines.

Since the main job of the hamstrings is to extend the hips, you need to know how to properly isolate these muscles. You can find the best results right in front of you.

Follow this guide to learn exactly how to do all the different kinds of leg curls at home and get the tight lower body you’ve always wanted.

5 Best Leg Curls Exercises To Do At Home

Hamstring Towel Slides

  • Reps: 8 to 12
  • Sets: 3
  • Rest between reps: 30s

This is one of my favourite ways to do seated leg curls at home from all the years I’ve been a personal trainer.

Not only does it work your hamstrings, but it is also a great way to work out your whole body. As it works your core and glutes, you’ll need to keep your balance.

It also helps keep your knees stable. At first, shaking is normal, so don’t worry about it. If anything, your family will find it funny to watch your face as you try to keep your core tight and not lose form.

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Instructions

  • Place the towel under your feet.
  • Be sure to lie on a flat surface on the floor. With your back against the floor, place your palms facing down on either side of your body. 
  • Bend your knees and press into your heels so that your lower body is raised into a bridge. 
  • With your feet tilted at a 45° angle from your heels, use the towel to drag and extend your legs out fully without touching the surface of the floor. 
  • Pull your knees back in to revert to your starting position. This makes one rep.

Benefits & Muscles Worked

  • Improves hamstring strength
  • Strengthened core muscles
  • Develops glutes
  • Faster running speed
  • Improves balance
  • Helps preventing ACL injuries

Standing Leg Curls

This is one of the easiest alternatives to leg curls. Doing standing leg curls at home will help you build strength in your thighs and improve your balance as a whole.

If you are just starting out, I would suggest starting with just your body weight. But if you’re already used to working out, it would be a good idea to add a resistance band to make your muscles work harder. This is especially true if you want to tone your muscles.

How to Do Leg Curls at Home

Instructions

  • Loop the resistance band over both feet.
  • Use one foot to press firmly into the ground as your pivot or balance.
  • Standing upright, slightly bend both knees and squeeze your core.
  • Bend the knee of the other foot upwards toward the glutes. Hold for at least 5 seconds, then release the leg back to the starting position.

Benefits & Muscles Worked

  • Targets hamstrings, glutes, and calves
  • Better stability and balance
  • Reduces risk of injury when running
  • Reduces tension
  • More leg strength

Lying Leg Curls

  • Reps: 8 to 12
  • Sets: 2
  • Rest between reps: 30s

As an alternative to working out on the old machine, lying leg curls have been shown to be more difficult. That’s because you have to place a dumbbell between your feet in a way that works against your form.

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The weight is completely up to you, and you can change it as the weeks go by. Most dumbbells are cheap, but if you want a high-quality one, I suggest getting the Bowflex Select Tech 552 from Amazon.

How to Do Leg Curls at Home

It’s made in a way that makes it easy to change its weight in real time, so you don’t have to buy a lot of different sets that you’ll have to store somewhere.

Like the original routine, the lying leg curl is a great way to build strength and flexibility and work the gluteal muscles around the hips.

Instructions

  • Secure the head of the dumbbell firmly between your two feet.
  • With your stomach flat on the floor and your feet closest to the ground, squeeze your hamstrings and bend your feet as you slowly lift the weight toward your buttocks.
  • As soon as your knees hit 90°, lower your legs back to their original position on the floor.

Benefits & Muscles Worked

  • Targets hamstrings, butt, thighs, and calves
  • Improves stamina and balance
  • Lessens knee joint and back issues

Hamstring Walkouts

  • Reps: 15 to 20
  • Sets: 2
  • Rest between reps: 30s

This is more like a modified bodyweight hamstring curl without the sliding towel. It’s another great way to change up seated leg curls at home. The way to start is pretty much the same, but this time the knees and hips move a little bit more.

Instructions
  • Lie flat on the floor with your palms facing downward and your legs fully extended.
  • Drive your heels into the ground and press your hips upwards into a glute bridge.
  • With your back rested firmly on the ground, pivot your feet at 45° from your heels and make small steps forward until your legs are almost fully extended.
  • Revert to the starting position by walking back inwards upon your heels. Try as much as possible to avoid resting your hips on the ground throughout reps.

Benefits & Muscles Worked

  • Awesome exercise for overall leg stretching
  • Improves coordination and balance
  • No equipment required

Swiss Ball Leg Curl

  • Reps: 15 to 20
  • Sets: 3
  • Rest between reps: 30s

The leg curl with a Swiss ball is a little different from the other exercises. I like this exercise because it keeps my core, hips, and lower back stable while working my glutes and hamstrings.

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How to Do Leg Curls at Home

It’s one of the harder moves to get right, but it works great once you do. Most of my clients now swear by this method as another way to do leg curls at home, even though you need a little more than just your bodyweight.

Instructions

  • Position yourself with your back flat to the floor and your palms facing downward on either side of your body.
  • Place your lower legs over the exercise ball.
  • Press your heels into the ball as you lift your hips and pull the ball inwards under your body with your knees.
  • Hold the position for a couple of seconds, then slowly release the ball and lower your body back to the original position over the ball.

Benefits & Muscles Worked

  • Improves lower-body strength
  • Mainly works your glutes and hamstrings
  • Anterior core strength increased
  • Helps with fat loss
  • Develops flexibility

Frequently Asked Questions

Are Leg Curls Bad For Your Knees?

Leg curls done without a machine are a great way to strengthen the muscles around the knee joint and prevent knee pain and injury in the long run.

Are Seated Or Lying Leg Curls Better?

When you do seated leg curls, you work out more than just your hamstrings. Lying leg curls, on the other hand, are best for directly working the muscles in your thighs. This is what most people agree on for both leg curl machines and leg curls you can do at home.

Work It Out

Even though gyms have perks like social accountability and lots of machines, you can pump your hamstrings just as quickly without a leg curl machine.

How to Do Leg Curls at Home

With just your body weight, a dumbbell, and a Swiss ball, you can improve your posture and reduce knee and back pain while getting more toned. We’re not that far from home and health.

Did your at-home hamstring exercises work? You can show your support by sharing this article on your social media accounts.

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