When it comes to exercises that extensively activate the muscles along your posterior chain, the trx hamstring curl certainly stands out.
Like the standard hamstring curl, it isolates your hamstrings along your thigh with the additional benefit of recruiting your core and glutes for extra stability.
It is often recommended as a starter movement, especially if you are new to trx training and would love to learn how to use the suspension system to work your muscles.
The step-by-step technique guide below will help you do it correctly:
- Fasten the suspension cables to an anchor point above your head. Let the handles dangle up to about 15 cm off the floor.
- Lie down in front of the trx system and press your upper back into the floor.
- Extend your legs and place your heels into the handles.
- Rest your arms by your side and squeeze your core and glutes.
- Begin to raise your lower back and hips off the ground. The heels should hold your bodyweight as you lift.
- Inhale deeply and as you exhale, bring your heels in towards your butt to curl your hips. Keep the shoulder blades pressed to the floor.
- As you lift, squeeze your glutes once again and pull your navel in towards your spine to prevent overarching on your lower back.
- With your hips still raised, extend your legs outwards again in a slow and controlled fashion.
- As a beginner, 10-15 reps of 2-3 sets would be good for a start. You can increase the rep and set numbers as you progress.
For a more comprehensive posterior chain workout, perform the trx hamstring curl alongside powerful compound lifts such as deadlifts.
WHAT MUSCLES DOES THE TRX HAMSTRING CURL WORK?
Your hamstrings get the most engagement during this movement.
As you extend your legs and lift your hips off the floor, the hamstrings flex your knees and rotate your lower leg to help with the movement.
There are many secondary muscles that are recruited along the posterior chain during this exercise, but the main ones are your glutes, calves and erector spinae.
Your core also plays a role in keeping your body stable during the curl and protecting your lower back.
BENEFITS OF THE TRX HAMSTRING CURL
YOU CAN MODIFY IT
Feel free to take the challenge a notch higher by working only one thigh at a time while the other remains flat on the ground.
This will no doubt make your core work harder to keep your upper back and the other leg stationary.
And if you want to make it easier, try doing it while standing. This requires less core strength because you don’t need to keep your upper back on the floor.
ALLEVIATES TIGHTNESS IN THE LOWER BACK
In some cases, tightness in the lower back can be caused by tight hamstrings.
Exercises such as the trx hamstring curl help you get rid of such tightness by stretching and strengthening your hamstrings.
ALTERNATIVES TO THE TRX HAMSTRING CURL
This is a free-weight alternative to the trx hamstring curl that also works your posterior chain, with particular emphasis on your hamstrings.
- Grab a kettlebell with both hands and stand straight.
- Bend your knees slightly and hinge your hips back.
- Extend your arms to swing the weight between your legs through the full range of motion.
- As you swing, thrust the hips forward, and squeeze your glutes and core.
- Keep swinging until the kettlebell floats up and your arms are parallel to the ground.
- As the weight drops, hinge your hips once again and let it swing between your legs back to the starting position.
STABILITY BALL HAMSTRING CURL
This hamstring variation uses a stability ball to work your hamstrings from a supine position.
- Lie on the ground with your back flat against it and your arms straight by your sides.
- Place both feet on a stability ball.
- Breathe in, and slowly lift your hips as you pull the ball towards your butt using your heels.
- Exhale and push the ball out.
TRX HAMSTRING CURL MISTAKES TO AVOID
ARCHING YOUR BACK
Arching your lower back during this exercise doesn’t do you any good. It ruins your alignment and also puts a lot of pressure on your spine.
Keep your lumbar spine neutral as you perform your reps so that you are able to press your hips through their full range of motion.
MOVING WITH SPEED
This is not a speed exercise; focus on using slow and controlled motions otherwise your muscles will not receive enough tension for your muscle fibres to be activated.
LETTING YOUR BUTT SAG
Failing to properly engage your glutes will likely cause your butt to sag.
A low butt means less engagement of your lower back and a reduced range of motion.
If you are having a hard time keeping the hips lifted, place a yoga block or a soccer ball between your knees so that your butt is automatically lifted.
USING LOOSE CABLES
Using suspension cables that are not tight enough for the trx hamstring curl will not give you the results you are looking for since it reduces the intensity.
Always check the tightness of the cables before you begin your reps and adjust them if need be.
LIFTING YOUR UPPER BACK
The only part of your torso that should be moving during the trx hamstring curl is your lower back.
Everything else, including your upper back, should remain pressed to the floor until your rep is done.
MOVING YOUR HEELS TOO FAR
As you bring your heels in towards your butt, take care not to go further than your knees. This could overflex and hurt your knee joints.
ENGAGING YOUR QUADS
You should not at all feel your quads working during this exercise.
If you feel them get involved then it means your bodyweight is spread to your entire foot instead of your heel only.
This would mean you are placing more emphasis on your quads than your hamstrings which beats the whole purpose of the workout.
There is no big difference between the effectiveness of the standard hamstring curl and that of the trx hamstring curl.
However it wouldn’t hurt to do something different for a change. Moreover, the trx variation can help you adhere to the correct form if you’re having trouble doing that.