5 Methods To Do Leg Curls Without A Machine From Home

Jessica Carter
Jessica Carter
Woman legs

There’s a saying that goes, “If it doesn’t challenge you, it doesn’t change you.” And if there’s one thing that’s hit our fitness goals, it’s a challenge.

Let’s face it; the quarantine has been rough. The gyms have been closed for months, and your muscles are likely starting to get limp again. All those hours on the hamstring machines are not going to waste because today, I’ll teach you how to do leg curls at home. 

But being home doesn’t have to mean loss of muscle tone, and not everyone can afford to drag an expensive gym machine into their garage.

Exercises like the leg curl can easily keep you on track even while you’re stuck within the four walls of your living room. One of the biggest secrets I’ve shared with my clients is that leg curl variations are much better at targeting your hamstrings than those bulky machines.

With the hamstrings’ primary function being to extend the hips, you must know how to isolate these muscles correctly. The best results can be found right in front of you. Follow this guide to learn exactly how to do leg curls at home in all their forms and work those lazy muscles into getting the tight lower body you’ve always dreamed of.

5 Best Leg Curls Exercises To Do At Home

Hamstring Towel Slides

Easy
2/5

In all my years of personal training, this is one of my favorite ways of alternating seated leg curls at home. Not only does it engage your hamstrings, but it serves as a perfect total body workout. You’ll need to maintain your balance as it targets your core and glutes.

It’s also great for stabilizing your knees. Shaking is expected in the beginning, so don’t worry about it. If anything, your family members will take a kick out of your facial expression as you try to keep your core tight and avoid breaking form.

Instructions
Benefits & Muscles Worked
Equipment Needed
Nova Luxury Linen - Hotel Quality Turkish Towel Set for Bathroom...

Standing Leg Curls

Easy
2/5

This is one of the most convenient of all the leg curl alternatives. Performing standing leg curls at home will help increase your thigh strength and overall balance.

If you are new to the routine, I recommended starting with just your body weight. But if you’ve already been well-acclimatized with your workouts, it would be a great idea to include a resistance band to increase the work put on your muscles, and even more so if you’re looking for proper toning.

Instructions
Benefits & Muscles Worked
Equipment Needed
Portzon Set of 2 Neoprene Dumbbell Hand Weights, Anti-Slip,...

Lying Leg Curls

Medium
3/5

As an alternative to gym exercise, lying leg curls have proven to be more challenging than the old-fashioned machine. That’s because you must strategically position a dumbbell between your feet to add resistance to your form.

The weight is entirely up to you and can be adjusted as you progress throughout the weeks. Most dumbbells come at affordable prices, but if you want excellent quality, I recommend getting the Bowflex Select Tech 552 from Amazon.

It’s conveniently designed so you can easily adjust its weight in real-time instead of purchasing countless sets you’ll have to pack somewhere in the house. Like the original routine, the lying leg curl exercise is excellent for improving strength and flexibility and engaging the surrounding gluteal muscles.

Instructions
Benefits & Muscles Worked
Equipment Needed
Bowflex SelectTech 552 Adjustable Dumbbells (pair)

Hamstring Walkouts

Easy
2/5

This is more like a modified Bodyweight Hamstring Curl minus the sliding towel – another great way of switching up seated leg curls at home. The method of starting is pretty much the same, but this time with a little more movement of the knees and hips.

Instructions
Benefits & Muscles Worked

Swiss Ball Leg Curl

Easy
2/5

The swiss ball leg curl is a bit different than the other exercises. I personally love this exercise for the stability it affords my core, hips, and lower back as it activates the glutes and hamstrings.

It’s one of the more challenging moves to nail but works wonders once well mastered. As another alternative to doing leg curls at home, most of my clients now swear by this method, though it does require a little more than just your bodyweight.

Instructions
Benefits & Muscles Worked
Equipment Needed
Retrospec Luna Exercise Ball, Base & Pump / Ball & Pump with...

Frequently Asked Questions

Are leg curls bad for your knees?

As a stabilizing exercise, machine-free leg curls help strengthen the knee joint’s surrounding muscles and are a great way to prevent knee pain and injury in the long run.

Are seated or lying leg curls better?

While seated leg curls provide a workout for more than just your hamstrings, lying leg curls are best for directly targeting the thigh muscles. This is the consensus for both machine-operated and leg curls at-home alternatives.

Work it out

While gyms have their perks of social accountability and ample machinery, you can just as quickly enjoy pumping your hamstring muscles without needing a leg curl machine. Improve your posture and knee and back pain while gaining more tone with just your bodyweight, a dumbbell, and a swiss ball. Home and health are not that far away.

Have any luck with your home hamstring routine? Share this article on your social media profiles to show your support.

Jessica Carter
Jessica Carter
Jessica is an AFLCA certified personal trainer and holds a Masters degree in physical therapy from the University of British Columbia. She has been working in the field for 5 years and writes as a freelance about all things fitness related.