The slider hamstring curl is an effective and relatively simple way to work your hamstrings, glutes and core muscles.
If you are familiar with the standard hamstring curl, this exercise is similar to it, but with a teeny tiny twist of placing sliding discs under your heels as you do it.
But if you’ve absolutely no idea what the basic hamstring curl looks like, the steps below will guide you to doing this variation correctly:
- Lie on the floor facing the ceiling.
- Place your arms by your sides and tighten your core. Your head should be in a neutral position and your palms facing the floor.
- At the starting position, your legs should be extended with sliding discs under your heels.
- Then, lift your glutes about 2 inches off the floor, squeezing them in the process.
- Lift your hips upwards as you bring your heels in towards your glutes. Stop bringing your heels in when they are under your knees.
- Extend your legs to take your heels back to the starting position.
- Repeat as many times as you desire.
For a beginner, 8 -12 reps should suffice, although you are free to increase the sets or reps as you get stronger and more flexible.
WHAT MUSCLES DOES THE SLIDER HAMSTRING CURL WORK?
Your hamstrings are made up of 3 muscles on the back of your thigh: the semitendinosus, semimembranosus and biceps femoris.
All three muscles (except the biceps femoris short head) originate from the rear part of your lower pelvis, and insert laterally and medially on the fibula and tibia.
These muscles work together to flex and hyperextend your hips, and flex your knees.
The slider hamstring curl helps train all the functions of your hamstrings by strengthening and developing the three muscles.
You recruit your gluteal muscles when you lift your butt a few inches off the ground and squeeze them before pushing your hips up towards the ceiling.
Your core plays an important role in helping keep your body stable and steady as you lift your butt off the ground to work your glutes and hamstrings.
As you tighten it, you also get to work your abdominal muscles for a stronger and more toned core.
BENEFITS OF THE SLIDER HAMSTRING CURL
PROMOTES KNEE HEALTH
Flexing and stabilizing your knee is one of the primary functions of your hamstrings.
They are kind of like the brakes on a car; they help you stop, slow down or lower yourself into a squat whenever you’re performing movements that involve them.
The slider hamstring curl improves this function by working your knee joints alongside the hamstrings as you bring your heels in towards your glutes and push them out again.
Since the hamstrings are attached to your pelvis, their strength, length and flexibility play a role in upper body and pelvic positioning.
When you work your hamstrings correctly, you can help decompress your spine and reduce tension on your lower back, which then improves your general posture.
IMPROVES SQUATTING AND DEADLIFTING TECHNIQUE
When muscle strength imbalances exist between your hamstrings and quads, you may find it difficult to deadlift or lower into a squat.
Locking out may be a bit of a problem too.
Training your hamstrings through the slider hamstring curl can help get rid of any such imbalances and ensure you have a better deadlifting and squatting technique.
ALTERNATIVES TO THE SLIDER HAMSTRING
STABILITY BALL HIP EXTENSION HAMSTRING CURL
The stability ball hip extension hamstring curl trains the knee flexing and hip extending functions of your hamstrings.
Since it is very unstable, it makes your muscles work extremely hard to keep your body stable hence increasing their time under tension.
Here’s how to do it:
- Get a stability ball and lie on the floor in front of it.
- Place your two feet on the ball and push your heels into it.
- Make sure your back is in a neutral position and squeeze your glutes.
- Drive your heels into the ball, extending your legs as you push it away from you.
- Use your heels to bring it back in as you push your hips towards the ceiling.
- Repeat these steps for every rep.
10-15 reps should suffice for a beginner.
INVERTED HAMSTRING CURL
The inverted hamstring curl does not just train your hamstrings but also your upper body muscles and core too.
Doing it from an inverted position ensures your glutes are engaged and to keep your body in a neutral position.
Here’s how to do it properly:
- Lie face up on the floor below a squat rack and hold a barbell at arm’s length.
- Place your legs on a weight bench with your heels pressed down and your toes pointing up.
- Rock your body forward to push your knees out into a hip extension then move back to extend your legs.
- Perform as many reps as you want.
The recommended rep range is 10-15.
SLIDER HAMSTRING CURL MISTAKES TO AVOID
RUSHING THROUGH YOUR REPS
One of the most common mistakes people make while performing the slider hamstring curl is rushing through the movement.
Being an isolation and strengthening exercise, the target muscles need to be under maximum tension for optimal results, which means you should increase the overall time they spend tensed.
NOT TIGHTENING YOUR CORE
As mentioned before, your body depends on your core to keep it stable during this movement.
So, be sure to keep it squeezed to help work your muscles maximally while your body stays in a stable position.
If you came here wondering whether or not the slider hamstring curl deserves a spot in your lower body routine, there’s little doubt as to what you’ve decided at this point.
Should you feel bored with it somewhere along the way, the other exercises provided in here are fantastic options you can go for in the alternative.
Follow the steps described to a T and you’ll be well on your way to stronger and bigger hamstrings!