There’s no question that working the backside of the body is important and specifically the hamstrings. Having strong hamstrings will help prevent knee pain and injuries as well improve your posture. While Romanian deadlifts reign supreme for hamstring strength, leg curls directly isolate this muscle like no other. Leg curls can be done in many different ways but one of the best ways is the suspension leg curl.
The suspension leg curl unlike training on a machine, forces your body to stabilize and permits not only knee flexion but hip extension, which is a more natural movement and functional movement for the hamstring.
Muscles Worked during Suspension Leg Curls
- Core stabilizers and rectus abdominus (engaged to prevent lumbar extension)
Setup and Exercise Execution
Take a seat on the floor and place the stirrups under your heels.
Lay down and extend your legs; be sure to keep constant push down on heels so the suspension trainer does not release slack and become.
Raise your hips a few inches off the floor and drive your hips up at the same rate as you curl your legs towards your glutes. *Be mindful to stop at 90 degrees of knee flexion as going beyond this point will place the hamstrings in a position of active insufficiency and will likely cramp up.
Pause for two seconds and slowly reverse to starting position with your hips slightly off the floor.
Learn more in our Functional Training Specialist as a part of our Continuing Education Course Series.
- Pushing the feet forward instead of driving the heels straight down
- Not exhaling as you lift your hips and curl (extending through the lower back)
- Letting the hips sag on either the concentric or eccentric
Regress and Progress
If you are looking to make the suspension leg curl easier, set up closer to the anchor point of the suspension trainer. Contrarily, to make it more difficult, set up further away. You can also add load in addition to setting up farther away. If the leg curl is too difficult you can regress to doing suspension bridges.
The suspension leg curl provides all of the benefits of other curl variations plus this exercise forces you to be able to “own” the bridge position which recruits even more muscle groups including the core. Remember if this exercise is too difficult you can also make easier such as working on bridges or you can bridge up and eccentrically perform the leg curl by slowly lowering the hips and extending the legs. Give it a chance–your hamstrings will thank you.