Stability Ball Exercises: Hamstring Curls

Doing hamstring curls with a stability ball is an exercise that provides a useful variation on a classic muscle training activity. Using the stability ball brings in a greater challenge that works a greater variety of muscles than some other variations of the hamstring curl exercise.

Doing the Stability Ball Hamstring Curl

  • Start by lying on your back on the floor with the stability ball at your feet.
  • Place your feet up on the stability ball, with your ankles resting against the ball’s surface. You’ll still be lying on your back with your legs elevated.
  • Putting downward pressure on the ball through your legs, raise your torso up off of the ground, while still resting your head and neck on the ground.
  • Slowly roll the ball closer to you with your lower legs until the top surface of the ball has come around to rest under the heels of your feet. Your body will become more slanted, and your legs will be putting more pressure on the top of the ball. Your upper body will still be touching the ground, and you’ll still be on your back. Since your legs are elevated, along with your lower body, your legs will be doing the work, which strengthens your hamstrings.
  • Return to your original position.

Muscles Worked with the Stability Ball Hamstring Curl

The stability ball hamstring curl works the hamstrings and glute muscles in the upper legs. With a stability ball and the resulting balance challenge, this activity also works some of the stabilizers and core muscles that support the spine.

Variations on the Stability Ball Hamstring Curl

In addition to the stability ball hamstring curl, there are different hamstring curl exercises that some trainers might favor for beginners. For example, fixed weight machines also offer a hamstring curl where the motion is guided by the arms of the metal machine frame, meaning less chance of injury for someone who is still getting to know this exercise.  

In addition, weight machine hamstring curls also offer the opportunity to add more resistance with weight plates. By contrast, this is difficult to do with the stability ball hamstring curl. The stability ball hamstring curl is not really meant to be a “power workout” or high weight exercise as much as a chance to train the core muscles which are engaged with the balance challenge that the exercise provides.

Avoiding Injury

One of the most important issues with lots of stability ball exercises, including the stability ball hamstring curl, is to make sure your body does not lose contact with the ball, whether it’s because of insufficient downward pressure or just a loss of balance. Losing contact with the ball can mean a fall that could result in injury. During the exercise, you’ll also want to be sure that you are using your arm, leg and core muscles to avoid putting pressure on your back. If you raise your lower body and it feels like your back is holding you up, lower yourself down, reconfigure, and try again. As with many of the more challenging exercises, back injury is an unfortunate risk with some stability ball activities.





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