Nobody wants to skip leg day, but if you find yourself working out at home or the park without any of your usual machinery and accessories, you might be wondering how to get an effective training session in.
When it comes to the hamstrings, this crucial group of muscles should be the part of your everyday workout so finding a good leg curl alternative is crucial.
Can you train your hamstrings without a leg curl machine? Absolutely, there are many alternatives for stretching, warming up, and working out your hamstring that don’t require any machines or equipment, and especially not a leg curl machine. With resistance training and your own body weight, you can get a successful workout on your thigh muscles that can be implemented into your regular routine.
If you can’t remember the last time you worked on your thighs, there’s a good chance your hamstrings have been missing out.
Thankfully, we have some tips for stretching, warming up, and working out this group of muscles that require very little in the way of equipment but will deliver serious results.
Hamstring Stretches to Keep Your Muscles Loose
The hamstring is prone to tightness and injuries and requires regular stretching, so you should always focus on stretching this group of thigh muscles after a workout.
Thankfully, that’s easy enough to do and it’ll not only prevent injury but also keep you moreflexible in the area.
- Sit on a mat and place your legs straight out in front of you, keeping them as straight as possible. Slowly make your way towards your toes with your arms stretched out in front, leaning into the muscle as you go. Hold for 30 seconds and return to a straight posture.
- Stand with both feet flat on the ground, then cross your right foot over the front of the left. Lower your forehead down to the floor and keep both knees straight, only bending at the waist. Hold there for 30 seconds and then let your entire body relax before coming back to a standing position.
Warming Up Your Hamstring to Work Out
Warming up is essential before any workout, but when you’re trying to prevent an injury or improve flexibility in the hamstring it’s absolutely crucial.
Try these simple warm-ups for the thighs that will prepare your body for the training session to come.
- The butt kick is a great warm-up that many runners rely on to loosen up their thigh muscles. Stay in place and jog on the spot for 30 seconds, and each time your leg comes up, make sure you kick yourself in the butt with your heel making contact. Make sure the heel connects with your butt every time, and keep your back as straight as possible.
The eccentric sliding leg curl is a leg curl alternative done without a machine, and all you have to do is lay on the ground to get started.
Put your legs straight out in front of you and then bend your knees and bring your feet right into your butt.
Make a glute bridge by planting your feet flat on the floor and then slowly bring them out until your legs make a straight line. Repeat for 10 reps until warmed up.
Hamstring Exercises You Can Do At Home
You might think a serious hamstring workout isn’t possible without a leg curl machine, but there are plenty of ways you can still train this important group of muscles.
Throw some of these exercises into your routine to make your thighs and legs stronger than ever, and enjoy the minimalist approach of little or no workout gear to make it happen.
- Using a stability ball, lay flat on your back on the ground. Place your legs on top of the ball in front of you with your legs completely straight. Use your legs to roll the ball inward towards you and then out again, counting as a single repetition.
- Find a way to secure your ankles down to the ground, whether you place them under the sofa or have a friend hold them. With a straight back, slowly lower your torso down to the ground as far as you can go and then bring yourself back up again, resisting the urge to use your arms for help.
- A bodyweight squat is simple and effective and requires no equipment at all. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and turn your feet out slightly so that your hips are opened up. Slowly lower your body down so your thighs are parallel to the floor and then hold there for a few seconds. Slowly return back up to the standing position to make one repetition.
The hamstring is a crucial muscle group to target during a workout, but one that often gets overlooked.
We’ve answered some frequently asked questions about this area of exercise so you never forget to give it attention in a training session.
Do Hamstring Curls Work Calves?
A basic leg curl should target two areas: the calves and the hamstring, and it’s an ideal workout when you want to work on the entire leg.
When done correctly, you’ll isolate each muscle group separately and be able to work them out with the one exercise.
How Long Does It Take to Heal From a Hamstring Injury?
If you’ve damaged your hamstring you can expect to spend anywhere from a few days to a few months off of it.
This depends if it’s something minor like a muscle pull or strain, or a more serious injury like a tear which could take months to recover from.