The prone hamstring curl is an excellent isolation exercise that specifically targets the hamstrings on the back of your legs. It is performed by lying face down on your stomach and bending your knees, to engage the hamstrings.
Hamstrings are usually weaker than quadriceps. This means that during compound movements, the quads overshadow them and they do not get pushed to their maximum potential.
Here is where isolation exercises, like prone hamstring curl, come in to correct such imbalances. However, combining this isolation exercise and compound exercises is the best possible way of properly strengthening and increasing the size of your hamstrings.
The movement can be a great and easy alternative to deadlifts, which is also a great hamstring builder. You can use or fail to use a resistance band with the exercise.
HOW TO PERFORM PRONE HAMSTRING CURL
These are steps for doing the exercise with resistance bands.
- First, attach the ends of the resistance bands to a steady object.
- Lie face down on your stomach with your feet hip-width apart. Place the resistance bands around your heels and flex your ankles.
- Ensure you gently tighten your core and straighten your back to stabilize your spine. Your toes should also be pointing towards your shinbone throughout.
- Exhale and curl your knees, slowly pulling your heels toward your butt. Your hips and thighs ought to be kept on the mat this whole time.
- You can continue bending your knees until your heels touch your glutes or until you can’t pull anymore. When your hips or lower back start moving, this means that your joint movement has reached the limits.
- Now, inhale and slowly lower your heels back to the initial position.
- Repeat the movement for the desired number of sets and reps.
MUSCLE ENGAGED DURING PRONE HAMSTRING CURL
The prone hamstring curl is a great hamstring builder. This isolation ensures your hamstrings get the best attention and thus, the greatest activation.
The open hip angle also activates other secondary muscles like your glutes, your quadriceps, and your calf muscles. The calves include the gastrocnemius muscle and the soleus muscle near your Achilles tendon.
PRONE HAMSTRING CURL BENEFITS
Some of the benefits of the movement are:
BUILDS STRONG HAMSTRINGS.
This main targeted muscles in this movement are the hamstrings. The hamstring are composed of four muscles, which are: the long head of the biceps femoris, the short head of the biceps femoris, the semimembranosus, and the semitendinosus. It also increases the size of the hamstrings.
IMPROVES YOUR LOWER BODY.
Also, the exercise activates some secondary muscles like the glutes, the quadriceps, and the calf muscles. This activation of these lower body muscles consequently, improves the lower body. (
IT’S A VERSATILE LEG EXERCISE.
The movement also has various variations that you can alternate with in your workout regimen. Most of them can be at the comfort of your home, as they do not need gym equipment. Additionally, you can use the exercise as warm-up for other lower body exercises like the Romanian deadlift and the lunge.
As discussed, the movement can be a great alternative or accessory to the deadlift and also the squat. It can make you stronger to be able to perform them.
PRONE HAMSTRING CURL VARIATIONS
STANDING HAMSTRING CURL
The standing hamstring curl is a beginner-level exercise that you can do by standing with your feet shoulder-width apart. Then lifting one leg off the floor and lowering it before alternating sides.
DUMBBELL HAMSTRING CURL
The dumbbell hamstring curl can be done in the prone position while holding a dumbbell between your feet. Then, lift your legs up and over your glutes before slowly returning it to the initial position.
STABILITY BALL HAMSTRING CURL
The stability ball hamstring curl, is performed by lying on your back and placing your heels on top of a stability ball with bent knees. Now, extend your legs while lifting your lower back off the ground. With each repetition, roll the stability ball away from your body.
NORDIC HAMSTRING CURL
The Nordic hamstring curl is a much more advanced variation. Get into a prone position with your knees placed on a comfortable surface. With the back of your heels hooked under a barbell, have someone else hold your calves down. Now bend your knees, with your hamstrings tightened, and lift your upper torso off the ground.
PRONE HAMSTRING CURL TIPS AND MISTAKES TO AVOID
Do not use uncomfortable or heavy resistance such that you start jerking and swinging during the movement. Use resistance that will allow you to have a smooth and controlled movement throughout. This will prevent hamstring injury and also low back injury.
Do not point your feet outwards or inwards as this can shift some of the impact to your thigh muscles. This may also cause injury as it can also disrupt your knee alignment.
Do not arch your back as this shifts the emphasis from your hamstrings to your lower back. This unnecessary stress on the lower back may lead to injury. Ensure your spine is kept straight throughout the exercise.
Do not hike your hips upwards or extend your lower back during the exercise. Engaging your hips lightly will help you avoid such hiking and hyper-extension of the lower back. To ensure your hamstrings are being maximumly worked, keep your hips, core, and upper body stationary.
Also, do not rush the movement. Hold the curl at the top of the movement for a few seconds before returning to the starting position.
Undoubtedly, it is greatly beneficial to include the prone hamstring curl or any other variation of the hamstring curls into your strength-training workout regimen. Remember, modifying and alternating the movement with the other variations can help you attain optimal results based on your individual needs. Additionally, performing it using the proper technique can help you strengthen and develop your leg muscles, specifically your hamstrings, and core. Also, proper technique will reduce the risk of low back pain and knee injuries.