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The hamstrings are one of the most neglected body parts. A lot of people forget about training them in favor of the more showy quadriceps and upper body muscles. That is a big mistake. When you forget to train the hamstrings you create a weak link in your leg development.
The best exercise for the hamstrings is the leg curl. The lying leg curl is a popular version but not everyone has access to this machine. In this article, I will present 9 effective lying leg curl alternatives that will allow you to get in a great hamstring workout even if you don’t have access to a lying leg curl machine.
Lying Leg Curl Alternatives:
1. Seated Leg Curl
How to do a seated leg curl:
- Sit on a leg curl machine and adjust the ankle pad position so that it is sitting under your shins. Set the appropriate weight and grab the handles.
- Push down with your shins to contract your legs completely.
- Revere and repeat.
Make sure that you bring the weight back to the start position under control.
2. Banded Reverse Lunge
How to do a banded reverse lunge:
- Stand with a looped resistance band under your left foot, both feet together and holding the other end of the band in your left hand.
- Extend your right foot back to descend into a reverse lunge.
- Push through the front thigh to return to the start position.
- That is one rep. Perform all of your reps on one leg before repeating with the other.
Banded reverse lunge training tips
Try to get as a full an extension as possible with your backward step. Lower your rear knee until it almost touches the floor.
3. Single-Leg Deadlift
How to do a single-leg deadlift
- Secure a resistance band to a secure upright at waist level. Hold the band in your left hand and stand about four feet from the upright, facing it.
- Now hinge at the hip to bring your torso down to a parallel position with the floor. Simultaneously extend your right foot back and your right arm forward.
- Return to the start position. That is one rep. Do all reps on the right side and then repeat on the left side.
Single-leg deadlift training tips
This exercise requires quite a bit of balance and coordination. You may need to use the support of a bench or other upright when you first do the movement.
4. Donkey Kick
How to do a donkey kick:
- Get down on all fours on an exercise mat, with a thick resistance loop band around your mid-thigh area.
- Kick your right leg back and up as high as you can.
- Lower and repeat. Perform all of the designated reps on one side before repeating on the other side.
Donkey kick training tips
Kick up as high as you can on each repetition. Contract your glutes and hamstrings in the top position.
5. Resistance Band Leg Curl
How to do a resistance band leg curl
- Attach a resistance band to the bottom of an internal door using the door anchor attachment.
- Attach the end of the band to both ankles with ankle straps.
- Lie about three feet in front of the door facing away from it on your stomach.
- Adjust your positioning so that the band is taut when your legs are straight.
- Curl your legs up to bring your heels to your butt.
- Lower and repeat.
Resistance band leg curl training tips
Squeeze your hamstrings and glutes in the top position. Lower slowly back to the start position. Keep your hips down throughout the movement.
6. Kettlebell Swing
How to do a kettlebell swing:
- Stand with feet shoulder-width apart and a kettlebell in your hands with an overhand grip between your legs.
- Hinge at the hips and drive the kettlebell down between your legs.
- Reverse the motion to bring the kettlebell up to shoulder level.
- Reverse and repeat.
Kettlebell swing training tips
Continue performing your reps in a fluid manner with no pause between them.
7. Straight Legged Deadlift
How to do a straight legged deadlift:
- Stand with a loaded Olympic barbell at your feet and your middel feet under the bar.
- Hinge at the hips as you lower to grab the bar with a double overhand grip at shoulder-width distance apart.
- Pull the bar directly up your body until you are standing at full height. This is the start position.
- From this start position, lower the bar down to shin level while keeping the legs straight.
- Pull back to the start position
Straight legged deadlift training tips
Maintain a natural arch in your lower back throughout the movement.
8. Bodyweight Sumo Squat
How to do a bodyweight sumo squat:
- Position a resistance loop band around your upper thighs. Stand with your feet wide apart and toes pointed outward, with arms by your sides.
- Hinge at the hips as you squat to parallel, simultaneously bringing your arms together in front of your body.
- Return to the start position, maintaining a neutral spine throughout. That is one rep.
Bodyweight sumo squat training tips
Maintain a neutral lower back position through the movement.
9. Hip Raises
How to do hip raises:
- Lie face-up on an exercise mat with a resistance loop band positioned around your lower thighs, knees bent, and feet together.
- Place your arms on the floor alongside your body. Now pump through the pelvis to bring the hips as high as you can.
- Squeeze your glutes in the top position before returning to the start position. That is one rep.
Hip raise training tips
Perform your reps slowly and deliberately. Hold the top contracted position for 5 seconds.
To put together your own hamstring workout select two of the 9 exercises above and combine them into an 8 set workout with reps ranging from a high of 30 down to a low of 6 reps with your heaviest weight. Train your hamstrings every 5 days.
- 5 Great Leg Press Alternatives
- 5 Great Leg Curl Alternatives
- 5 Great Lat Pulldown Alternatives
- 5 Great Leg Extension Alternatives
- 9 Great Lying Leg Curl Alternatives
- 5 Great Alternatives to Dips
- 7 Great Cable Crossover Alternatives
This article was last updated on March 14, 2022 .