Fitness Monsterr logo 2021 WHITE

10 Best Alternatives Leg Curls Without Machines (2021)

⚡ TL;DR 
Do you like training hamstring muscles in your legs but looking for alternatives to shock your leg muscles? Check out Best Leg Curl Alternative today!
📅 Post Updated on July 18, 2021
|
🏷️
|
🕒 24 minutes read
Best Alternatives to Leg Curls
ADVERTISEMENT

Introduction

Are you looking for alternative exercises to the leg curls? Especially without the use of machines?

It could be due to you prefer not to go to the gym, or you'd prefer to use your own bodyweight as the resistance force to your workout.

Whatever the reason may be, this article right here will definitely help you out! Finding the best leg curl alternative is what you should do next!

The leg curl (also known as the hamstring curl) is a basic movement exercise that requires the movement of curling, hence the name leg curl.

Aren't all leg curl exercises the same? No they are not, studies have shown that different exercises engage the muscles more than others. That is why this list of leg curl alternative will help you be more versatile and engage your muscles all around.

leg-curl-alternative
Leg curl machine

If you have been working out in the gym, there are very specific machines that can be used to target the hamstring.

You might recall lying stomach flat on a bench with your ankles tug under a cushion where you can curl your legs upwards and target the hamstring.

ADVERTISEMENT

Another machine that you might know would be the seated curls, where you will be seated and putting your ankle on the cushion and you curl downwards towards the butt.

Both machines very well target the hamstring specifically by flexing our legs towards our butts against the weighted resistance.

However, you're here because you are looking for alternatives WITHOUT the use of machines!

As we've mentioned earlier, whatever your reason may be, here are some of the best leg curl alternatives without machines alternatives that you can start to workout with at home or outdoors!

1. Single Leg Hip Extension

This workout is called the single leg hip extension. This could be a good start as it is a workout for beginners! No weights needed and relatively easy to execute anywhere.

The single leg hip extension is sometimes also known as the single leg curls because it is a uilateral exercise that targets the hamstring by contracting them with the load of your body weight of gravity.

How To Perform A Single Leg Hip Extension Exercise with Correct Form:

  • Lie down flat in a sleeping position.
  • Bend your knees and curl your feet inwards 90 degrees with your knees (ensure your feet are hip width apart)
  • Lift your butt off the ground to form like a 'Half-Triangle' shape to the ground.
  • Straighten the resting leg out inline with your body and hold this position.
  • Start to lower your hips on the other leg down to the ground and then focus on the hamstring to push your hips back into starting position.
  • Lower your hips and back down to the floor and then push them back up through the stabilizing leg.
  • Focus the load on the stabilizing feet on the ground and focus your movement.
  • A good starting point will be 4 seconds up and 4 seconds down.
  • Once done about 8-12 reps, switch to the other side and repeat the same for the other leg.

PRO TIPS:

  • Keep the resting leg extended and only focus on the working leg.
  • Butts should be inline with the body at all times to focus on your core as well.
  • Always face upwards to keep your neck in neutral position to avoid any injuries.

If you need visual help on how to execute this Single Leg Hip Extension, you can watch the video below!

ADVERTISEMENT

2. Swiss Ball Leg Curl

Another alternative that is great as well would be the Swiss Ball Leg Curl.

To execute this exercise, you will need to use the gym ball, well if you do not have one, proceed to the next alternative!

Using a gym ball is great addition to your workout because on top of the targeted hamstring muscles, the ball will force your body to work on your core as well to maintain balance.

You might want to invest in a gym ball as they are fun to work with as well as there are tons of exercise you can execute with it to get a great workout.

How To Perform A Swiss Ball Leg Curl with Correct Form:

  • Start off line flat on the ground in a supine position.
  • Place your arms straight by your side and your palms facing down on the ground.
  • Find the best possible way for you to position the ball below your extended legs with your butt off the ground.
  • You will be in a similar position like the Single Leg Hip Extension, except that both legs are extended with the gym ball under your legs.
  • Your whole body will look almost like a straight line, from the back of your shoulders to your feet.
  • Maintain your core by holding your butt up and not sludging down.
  • Once you are in the starting position, slowly bend your knees and roll your heels along the ball for the curling movement.
  • Reverse the movement back into the starting position and this will be counted as 1 repetition (1 rep).
  • Remember to exhale while inhaling at the end and starting points.
  • Aim for focus movement about 3 seconds from start to end.
  • Aim for about 8-12 reps to complete 1 set. Aim to complete 4-5 sets.

PRO TIPS:

  • Butts should be inline with the body at all times to focus on your core as well.
  • Always face upwards to keep your neck in neutral position to avoid any injuries.
  • If you would like to add intensity, do each leg alternately.

If you need visual help on how to execute this Swiss Ball Leg Curl, you can watch the video below!

ADVERTISEMENT

3. Hamstring Towel Slide

If you're looking to get a quick hamstring workout at home, this is a great option.

You will however, need a smooth surface (with the least friction as possible) so you can slide the towels easily.

This movement is another alternative to the leg curl alternative without machines as it'll target your hamstrings, and the core and glutes (butt) at the same time.

Another alternative name for this exercise is the slick floor bridge curl. The name comes by having a slick movement on the floor, of course!

Similar like the rest, your bodyweight will serve as resistance for this workout.

How To Perform A Hamstring Towel Slide with Correct Form:

  • Start off line flat on the ground in a supine position.
  • Place your arms straight by your side and your palms facing down on the ground.
  • Place the towels underneath your heels while in the starting position.
  • You will be in a similar position like the Single Leg Hip Extension, except that both legs are extended with the towel under your heels.
  • Your whole body will look almost like a straight line, from the back of your shoulders to your feet.
  • Maintain your core by holding your butt up and not sludging down.
  • Once you are in the starting position, slowly bend your knees and curl your legs towards your butt while sliding the towel.
  • Reverse the movement back into the starting position and this will be counted as 1 repetition (1 rep).
  • Remember to exhale while inhaling at the end and starting points.
  • Aim for focus movement about 3 seconds from start to end.
  • Aim for about 8-12 reps to complete 1 set. Aim to complete 4-5 sets.

PRO TIPS:

  • Butts should be inline with the body at all times to focus on your core as well.
  • At the ending position, remember to squeeze your glutes and hamstring to really squeeze the working muscles for maximum gains.
  • Always face upwards to keep your neck in neutral position to avoid any injuries.
  • If you would like to add intensity, do each leg alternately.

If you need visual help on how to execute this exercise, you can watch the video below!

ADVERTISEMENT

4. Dumbbell / Resistance Band Lying Leg Curl

Another alternative to the leg curls without machine assistance will be using dumbbells! You can execute the Dumbbell Lying Leg Curl exercise.

This is somewhat similar to the bench leg curl machine, except you use the dumbbell as resistance. You will not need to go to the gym if you have dumbbells at home!

However, in my own personal opinion, free weights (dumbbells) are better for working out compared to machine due to the free motion, hence allowing your muscles to work harder and have more gains.

Even if you have light dumbbells, you can go for more repetitions to tone up the hamstring muscles.

For this particular exercise, we recommend only using one dumbell to put in between the legs for safety purposes. You might accidentally drop the dumbbell and cause unwarranted injuries (yikes!)

How To Perform A Dumbbell Lying Leg Curl with Correct Form:

  • Start off by placing the dumbbells near your feet.
  • Proceed to lie flat on the ground with your stomach facing down.
  • Once you're comfortable, grab the dumbbells with your feet (adjust accordingly to make sure you have a firm grip on the dumbbells with your feet).
  • Lift your feet off the ground with the dumbbells slowly to test the resistance.
  • Once you are feeling comfortable and good, proceed to bend your knees and curl the weight towards your glutes in a controlled movement.
  • Once you reach the end position (slightly past 90 degrees above your knees), slowly reverse the movement back to the starting position and this will be counted as 1 repetition (1 rep).
  • Remember to exhale while inhaling at the end and starting points.
  • Aim for focus movement about 3 seconds from start to end.
  • Aim for about 8-12 reps to complete 1 set. Aim to complete 4-5 sets.

PRO TIPS:

  • Keep your hands near your body to stabilize your upper body positioning.
  • At the ending position, remember to squeeze your glutes and hamstring to really squeeze the working muscles for maximum gains.
  • Always face downwards to keep your neck in neutral position to avoid any injuries.
  • If you would like to add intensity, increase the time taken for the entire rep eg: 10 seconds up and down.

If you need visual help on how to execute this exercise, you can watch the video below!

ADVERTISEMENT

5. Russian Leg Curl

Russian leg curl is not as scary as it sounds! (Russian!).

It is actually similar to a normal leg curl, except in reverse movement.

Instead of using weights as resistance, you are now doing a reverse movement to use your bodyweight as resistance instead! Pretty creative.

You may need a buddy for this workout if you do not have any heavy equipment or weighted barbells to anchor your heels, but if you do, then you can definitely execute this on your own!

How To Perform A Russian Leg Curl with Correct Form:

  • Ensure to have a place or heavy equipment as your anchor, otherwise your buddy can hold down your ankles with their hands and bodyweight.
  • Start off by getting into a kneeling position and anchoring your heels under a resistance.
  • Once your ankles are secured and stable, you can proceed your upper body (knees upwards) towards the ground gently, while keeping a neutral spine position (no cheating).
  • Ensure your palms are ready to cushion your fall (you would not want your face to hit the ground).
  • Once you land safely on the ground, slowly push yourself off the ground, to get back into the starting position.
  • This will be counted as 1 repetition (1 rep).
  • Remember to exhale while inhaling at the end and starting points.
  • Aim for focus movement about 3 seconds from start to end.
  • Aim for about 8-12 reps to complete 1 set. Aim to complete 4-5 sets.

PRO TIPS:

  • Keep your hands near your body with both palms facing outwards just in case you need to break your fall.
  • Keep a neutral spine position to maintain a straight posture with your body to prevent any injuries.
  • The slower you go, the harder you are working your muscles.
  • Always face downwards to keep your neck in neutral position to avoid any injuries.
  • If you would like to add intensity, increase the time taken for the entire rep eg: 10 seconds up and down.
  • If you feel like you have reached the 'maximum' point and any further will cause you to fall flat, STOP there and reverse back to the starting position.
  • Progress lower and lower each time as you get stronger.

If you need visual help on how to execute this exercise, you can watch the video below!

ADVERTISEMENT

6. Kettlebell Swings

Next on the alternative list would be Kettlebell Swings! Yes you would need the equipment kettlebells, but if you do not have one, proceed to the next alternative!

We love kettlebell swings because the movement is really versatile and targets a lot more muscle groups, allowing you to have more gains while working out!

In addition, it'll strengthen your lower back muscles as well (prevent further injuries) by having a stronger back.

Another positive note for kettlebell swings is they pack quite a workout! No need to go super heavy, just 10-16kg will do for you legs to feel the burn!

How To Perform A Kettlebell Swing with Correct Form:

  • Start by positioning yourself standing above the kettlebell with feet shoulder width apart (do not lock your knees).
  • Carefully bend your knees and lower yourself to grab the kettlebell (find your most overhand grip on the handle).
  • While in a partial squats position, start by swinging the kettlebell in between your legs and then swing it forward and upwards to the sky while straightening your knees.
  • Go as high as about the shoulder height to prevent any injuries.
  • Once you have reach the highest point, reverse the movement into a partial squat with the kettlebell in between your legs to get back into the starting position.
  • This will be counted as 1 repetition (1 rep).
  • Remember to exhale while inhaling at the end and starting points.
  • Aim for focus movement about 3 seconds from start to end.
  • Aim for about 8-12 reps to complete 1 set. Aim to complete 4-5 sets.

PRO TIPS:

  • Start off slow by building momentum first before going straight to the highest point (shoulder height) on your first rep.
  • Possible go about midway point, and build your way towards shoulder height around 3-4th rep.
  • ALWAYS keep your lower back straight (slouching is the quickest way to get an injury).
  • Maintain and keep your core tight as well throughout the entire movement.
  • Remember not to lock your knees and elbows during the exercises.

If you need visual help on how to execute this exercise, you can watch the video below!

ADVERTISEMENT

7. Good Mornings

No we are not wishing you a good morning. The workout is actually called, Good Morning exercise.

For beginners, you might not need any resistance, even the movement alone and work up a workout.

However, you can definitely carry barbells, dumbbells or kettlebells for more resistance on the upper body to work your hamstring and lower back for more gains.

How To Perform A Good Morning with Correct Form:

  • Start by positioning yourself standing with feet shoulder width apart (do not lock your knees).
  • Keep your hands across your chest or behind your head (whichever is more comfortable for you).
  • From your hips upwards, slowly learn forward towards the ground.
  • The lower you go, more muscle groups will be engaged and you can feel like you are stretching and working out the hamstring and lower back muscles.
  • Once your upper body is parallel to the ground, reverse the movement back into starting position and this is considered as 1 repetition.
  • Remember to exhale while inhaling at the end and starting points.
  • Aim for focus movement about 3 seconds from start to end.
  • Aim for about 8-12 reps to complete 1 set. Aim to complete 4-5 sets.

PRO TIPS:

  • Add more resistance by carrying a barbell or dumbbells or kettlebells.
  • You may carry them on your shoulders, or use your arms to carry the weight on the front.
  • Start of with no weights and slowly build up your resistance.
  • Any sudden movement will cause you to pull your muscles / joint for any unnecessary injuries.
  • Remember to engage your core and keep them tight and keep your back straight.

If you need visual help on how to execute this exercise, you can watch the video below for bodyweight!

If you need visual help on how to execute this exercise, you can watch the video below for dumbbells resistance!

ADVERTISEMENT

8. TRX Leg Curls (Using Suspension Straps)

If you are a fan of suspension straps (which you already have at home), you can do the TRX leg curls as well!

It does not have to be TRX, but any suspension straps will do.

The benefits of using a suspension straps for your workout is you will engage more of your core muscles and glutes while working out, hence more gains!

How To Perform A TRX Leg Curls with Correct Form:

  • Place your TRX / Suspension straps where you usually work out but the straps should be close to the ground for this exercise.
  • Lie flat on the ground in supine position with your palms facing downwards.
  • Place your heels onto the straps.
  • Lift your butt off the ground and your body should be in line with the TRX.
  • Proceed to bend your knees and curl your heels towards your glutes to squeeze the hamstring muscles.
  • Reverse the movement back into starting position (without dropping your butt onto the ground).
  • This is considered as 1 repetition.
  • Remember to exhale while inhaling at the end and starting points.
  • Aim for focus movement about 3 seconds from start to end.
  • Aim for about 8-12 reps to complete 1 set. Aim to complete 4-5 sets.

PRO TIPS:

  • Add more resistance by moving even slower for each rep.
  • Remember to engage your core and keep them tight and keep your back straight.

If you need visual help on how to execute this exercise, you can watch the video below!

ADVERTISEMENT

9. Standing/Seated Hamstring Curl with Bands

This is for those of you who have resistance bands at home to focus on conditioning the muscles instead.

You can execute the standing or seated hamstring curl with the resistance bands to build up muscle strength for your hamstring and glutes.

How To Perform A Standing/Seated Hamstring Curl with Bands with Correct Form:

  • Place your resistance bands where you usually work out but the straps should be close to the ground for this exercise.
  • Position yourself in standing / seated position above the resistance bands.
  • Place your heels onto the resistance bands and lift off the ground.
  • Proceed to bend your knees and curl your heels towards your glutes to squeeze the hamstring muscles.
  • Reverse the movement back into starting position (without dropping your butt onto the ground).
  • This is considered as 1 repetition.
  • Remember to exhale while inhaling at the end and starting points.
  • Aim for focus movement about 3 seconds from start to end.
  • Aim for about 8-12 reps to complete 1 set. Aim to complete 4-5 sets.

PRO TIPS:

  • Add more resistance by moving even slower for each rep or using a higher resistance band.
  • Remember to engage your core and keep them tight and keep your back straight, to prevent any engagement of other muscle groups instead of the focus hamstring muscles.

If you need visual help on how to execute this exercise, you can watch the video below!

ADVERTISEMENT

10. Eccentric Single-Leg Sliding Leg Curl

If you want to challenge yourself for even higher difficulty exercise, this sliding leg curl might just be it!

You will need sliders and a smooth ground to execute this workout.

How To Perform An Eccentric Single-Leg Sliding Leg Curl with Correct Form:

  • Start off line flat on the ground in a supine position.
  • Place your arms straight by your side and your palms facing down on the ground.
  • Place the slider underneath the working feet while in the starting position.
  • Lift your butt off the ground and tuck the other leg towards your core.
  • Your whole body will look almost like a straight line, from the back of your shoulders to your feet.
  • Maintain your core by holding your butt up and not sludging down.
  • Once you are in the starting position, slowly bend your knees and curl your legs towards your butt while sliding the sliders.
  • Reverse the movement back into the starting position and this will be counted as 1 repetition (1 rep).
  • Remember to exhale while inhaling at the end and starting points.
  • Aim for focus movement about 3 seconds from start to end.
  • Aim for about 8-12 reps to complete 1 set. Aim to complete 4-5 sets.
  • Change to the other leg.

PRO TIPS:

  • Add more resistance by moving even slower for each rep.
  • Remember to engage your core and keep them tight and keep your back straight, to prevent any engagement of other muscle groups instead of the focus hamstring muscles.

If you need visual help on how to execute this exercise, you can watch the video below!

ADVERTISEMENT

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) on Leg Curls Exercises

Do Leg Curls Negatively Impact Your Knees?

No they do not! Leg curls do not specifically impact your knees because you do not land on them during any of the curling exercises.

In fact, leg curls can actually help to solve the knee problems you encounter because you put lesser impact on it.

Do Leg Curls Negatively Impact Your Back?

In general, if you follow our tips on how to execute the exercises in the correct form and focusing only the working muscle groups during the workout, there is no reason that it'll hurt your back.

In fact, back muscle injuries is mainly cause by improper form and technique when executing different exercises.

For example relating to leg curls, if you 'cheat' your movement and engage your back muscles instead of focusing on hamstring and glutes, then you may put unnecessary load onto the back muscles = prone to injuries.

However, this list of leg curl alternative exist because there is not one exercise that fits all.

Our bodies are built differently and some exercise do not fit us correctly, but yet may injure us instead.

ADVERTISEMENT

Conclusion - Alternatives to Leg Curls Without Machines

We have provided you 10 different alternatives exercises to leg curls without machine assistance.

We hope the alternative exercises in this list has helped you on your fitness journey to build up strength or condition your hamstring + glutes muscles.

Generally, we tend to build up more muscles in the quadriceps (front of the leg muscles), and we neglect the hamstring muscles. Weak hamstrings muscles can lead to problems in terms of your mobility and hip injuries.

When the quads and the hamstrings muscles are not generally balanced, this will cause your muscles to use more quads to compensate the lack of hamstring muscles. This is a recipe for injuries to come!

It's always best to workout a balance between the rear and frontal muscle group of the whole body.

When you work your hamstrings muscles and balance it with the front quadriceps muscles, this will help to stabilize the joints and muscles of your lower body.

This will mean more control which also means less prone to injuries.

If you have any other alternative exercises that you find valuable to be added to the list, comment below and we'll add them in to help everyone in their fitness journey!

Now that you have found leg curl alternative, how about getting the best whey protein flavor to fuel your gains?

ADVERTISEMENT

Check Out Other Interesting Articles

8 Best Lighting For Runners Running At Night in (2021)

Are you someone who loves running in the dark? Check out the best lighting for runners for you to equip while running to be more visible and increase safety.

Read More
Build Big Arms With The Hammer Curl (2021)

Want to know how to build bigger arms quickly? Check out Hammer Curl, a mass gaining bicep workout guarantee to grow those guns!

Read More
How Much Is A Trap Bar Weight? (2021)

Ever wondered how heavy is the trap bar? Check out as we uncover the true answer to the Trap Bar weight.

Read More
8 Best Pull-Up Bar Stands (2021)

We’ve done the work for you. We have compiled a list of our favorite freestanding pull up bar stand this year and reviewed them so that all your needs are met!

Read More
7 Best Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard Whey Protein Flavors (2021)

Let us take a look at the Best Optimum Nutrition Flavor Gold Standard, tested and proven by many users who take them for their stack!

Read More
4 Best Long Head Tricep Exercises to Build Huge Back Arm Muscles in 2021

Are you looking to build bigger triceps? Check out the best Long Head Tricep Exercises to Build Huge Back Arm Muscles in 2021

Read More
cropped-Fitness-Monsterr-logo-ONLY-2021-square.png

Popular Posts

10 Best Abs Toning Belts To Sculp Your Leaner Body in 2021

Are you looking to firm up and get leaner? How about adding abs toning belts to your workouts to burn even more fats? Check out the best ones here!

Read More
7 Best Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard Whey Protein Flavors (2021)

Let us take a look at the Best Optimum Nutrition Flavor Gold Standard, tested and proven by many users who take them for their stack!

Read More
Yuan Herong - Super Ripped Chinese Bodybuilder Doctor (2021)

Yuan Herong is a super ripped Chinese bodybuilder who has also been dubbed as the real life Chun-LI from Street Fighter! Brains, Brawn & Beauty all-in-one.

Read More
Luke Sandoe - Cause of Death Revealed What Happened in 2020

Luke Sandoe had passed away at the age of 31 on May 7th, 2020. The bodybuilding world was shocked to find out what happened when the family revealed the truth.

Read More
8 Best Paleo-Friendly Protein Powders (2021)

Are you a fan of Paleo Protein Powder? Great news! Check out the best paleo protein powder we believe will be for you!

Read More
4 Best Long Head Tricep Exercises to Build Huge Back Arm Muscles in 2021

Are you looking to build bigger triceps? Check out the best Long Head Tricep Exercises to Build Huge Back Arm Muscles in 2021

Read More
Subscribe To Our Weekly Newsletter
No spam, notifications only about new products, updates.
Name
ADVERTISEMENT
Fitness Monsterr logo 2021 WHITE
FitnessMonsterr is an independent website that aims to provide the best content about fitness, training, nutrition and product reviews!
SOCIAL
FREE TOOLS

Body Fat Calculator
EER Calculator
Keto Calculator
One Rep Max Calculator
RMR Calculator
TDEE Calculator
Weight Gain / Loss Calculator

SUBSCRIBE TO US TODAY!
Leave your email to get our weekly newsletter.
Made with 💪 © 2021
FitnessMonsterr - Only Monsterrs Allowed

Disclaimer & Disclosure  |  Privacy Policy  |  Cookie Policy  |  Terms of Use  |  Editorial Policy  |  Affiliate Link Policy

linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram