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Dumbbell Hamstring Curls

What Is A Dumbbell Hamstring Curl?

How to do Dumbbell Hamstring Curls

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Dumbbell hamstring curls are an isolation hamstring exercise that strengthens the hamstrings. This exercise will also target the glute muscles to a lesser extent. Using dumbbells for hamstring curls instead of doing gym machine leg curls challenges the smaller stabilising muscles of the legs, glutes, and hips, and can contribute to healthy knees.

Dumbbell hamstring curls are performed lying on the floor, which keeps your upper body still to focus all the work in the hamstrings. Isolated hamstring curls are a good way to pre exhaust the hamstrings before doing compound movements, and to balance out leg strength in quad dominant people. 

The only equipment you need to do dumbbell hamstring curls is one dumbbell. The exercise is easy to learn and is suitable for beginners and more advanced athletes. You can make dumbbell hamstring curls more challenging by choosing a heavier dumbbell or by changing the tempo of the reps.

Check out some other hamstring curl variations: Lying leg curls, Swiss ball hamstring curls, Nordic curls, seated leg curls, banded hamstring curls

Commonly Asked Questions About Dumbbell Hamstring Curls

Are Hamstring Curls Bad For You?

No, hamstring curls are not bad for you and performing leg curls can reduce risk of injury in the knees and hamstrings by building hamstring and glute strength.

Is Hamstring Curl A Good Exercise?

Hamstring curls are a good exercise choice for leg day or full body workouts. All types of hamstring curl exercises will strengthen the hamstrings and glutes, and help balance out leg development.

How Much Should I Be Able To Hamstring Curl?

There is no set amount that you should be able to hamstring curl. The most important thing is to choose a weight that allows you to perform your reps with control. Start at a lighter weight and add more weight (or choose a heavier dumbbell or resistance band) as you build strength.

How To Do Lying Hamstring Curls With Dumbbells?

You can do lying hamstring curls with a dumbbell by lying on the floor on your front and holding one dumbbell between your feet as you curl your heels in towards your glutes.

Dumbbell Hamstring Curl Tips

  • Choose a dumbbell that allows you to move through your entire range of motion with control, instead of relying on momentum to lift the weight. As you get stronger you can increase the weight.

  • Place the dumbbell on the floor resting on one end so you can easily pick it up with your feet.

  • When you perform the hamstring curl, stop when the dumbbell is parallel (do not bring it right in to your glutes).

  • At the bottom of the movement, let the dumbbell touch the floor lightly before starting the next rep.

How To Do Dumbbell Hamstring Curls

  1. Choose a light dumbbell to begin with (you can increase the weight when you are confident with the movement).

  2. Put the dumbbell on the floor so it is standing on one end.

  3. Lay face down on the floor with your feet either side of the dumbbell and pick up the dumbbell with your feet (the ends of the dumbbell will be above and below your feet). Rest on your forearms to support your chest.

  4. Keep your upper body on the floor and squeeze your hamstrings as you pull your heels towards your glutes.

  5. Stop when the dumbbell is parallel with the ceiling.

  6. Slowly reverse the movement until the dumbbell lightly touches the floor.

If you’re not sure if any of the above exercises are suitable for you, please consult your doctor before you start it. Need guidance on how to perform the exercise? Ask a personal trainer at your gym.