How to Do a Reverse Hamstring Curl

Written by erin watson-price
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How to Do a Reverse Hamstring Curl
A toned hamstring will lead to slimmer thighs and a tightened buttock. (the leg image by Rich Johnson from

The hamstring is located at the back of the thigh. This muscle controls the flexion of the knee as well as the extension of the buttocks, as in a sprinting motion. A reverse hamstring curl works the flexion action of this muscle group. When using a weight machine, the key is to use as much weight as possible with low reps and increased numbers of sets. There are several methods for doing a reverse hamstring curl, and these can be accomplished with or without exercise equipment.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Exercise ball
  • Leg curl machine
  • Exercise partner

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  1. 1

    Lie flat on your back with your heels on the exercise ball.

  2. 2

    Lift your back off the floor while balancing your heels on the ball. Your arms should be parallel with your body.

  3. 3

    Allow the ball to roll back away from you. Keep your back straight.

  4. 4

    Repeat for 15 reps. Work your way up to 10 sets.

  1. 1

    Select a load that you can lift for at least 8 reps.

  2. 2

    Lie down or sit on the hamstring machine. The exact position of the machine will depend on the model at your gym.

  3. 3

    Curl your legs and try to touch your heels to your buttocks. To increase effectiveness, pull your toes upward toward the front of your leg as you lift the weight.

  4. 4

    Lower the weight for a count of 4 seconds with your feet pointed.

  5. 5

    Repeat for 8 reps. Work your way up to 10 sets.

  1. 1

    Kneel down on the floor and hook your ankles under a low bar. Whatever you hook your feet under should not move with your weight. Alternatively, you can have a partner hold onto your ankles to keep them stable.

  2. 2

    Keep your back straight and place your hands in a push-up position.

  3. 3

    Bend at the knees and lower yourself to the ground. Use your hamstrings to control your descent and keep your back straight at all times. Try not to fall forward. Although if your hamstrings are not very strong -- about halfway to the ground not -- falling may be hard to do.

  4. 4

    Catch yourself with your hands and lower yourself to the ground. Try to wait as long as possible to catch yourself.

  5. 5

    Use an explosive push-up motion to propel yourself upward. Pull with the hamstrings to return yourself to an upright position.

  6. 6

    Repeat for 8 reps. Work your way up to 10 sets. See Reference 4 for a demonstration of this exercise.

Tips and warnings

  • To develop the full hamstring, include leg presses as part of your workout.

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