10 Lying Leg Curl Alternatives: Make Your Knees Stronger

lying leg curl alternatives | Healthspectra

Lying leg curl is one of the most common workouts to strengthen your hamstring muscles, quads, gait, glutes, calves, and hips. It’s a tiresome workout but gives great results. In fact, at first, I could not believe I will do the hamstring walkouts in one go, but I did 20 reps and in one day I could feel the difference. You can see Lying Leg Curl Alternatives which can be perfect for yourself.

I was extremely unhappy with my thighs being “too big”. So, I had started reading up on the web about what exercises to do and I can now after 30 days, tell you, it is one round of hamstring workout which is best for your back and booty. I have selected the best leg curls for you to try out. These are also known as hamstring curls.

Hamstrings are at the back of the body extending from the lower hip to your knees. These lying leg curl alternatives prevent muscle injury and build strength. There is some controversy about if leg curls at all help, but for me, they worked.

There are many variations of lying leg curls in this article from simple leg curls alternatives to more advanced ones. You can do these as hip extension and knee flexion workouts, and you can do all these both in the gym and at home. For beginners, it’s better to try out this exercise and try to do the bridge without any weights.

Step-by-step guide for Best Lying Leg Curl Alternatives :

1. Stiff-legged deadlifts:-

The most challenging of the lot. Practice 25 reps. (For beginners, one-kg dumbbells are advised and for advanced stages of the workout you can use 5-8 kgs.)

At home– The best part of the home workout is that you don’t need that much space for this at all.

  • You need to do this on a yoga mat wearing good sports shoes.
  • Lie on your back, hold the dumbbells in your hands tightly, and grip the dumbbells’ handlebar.
  • Keep your hands and legs straight on the ground. Do not put pressure on your shoulders and neck.
  • Now press your hands to your shins at the same time. Inhale when you go down and exhale as you go up.
  • Use your abs muscles to bring your shins up. Focus on each movement and feel your core muscles contracting. Your hands must be slightly wide-apart than your shins.
  • The knees should touch each other with each leg raise and leg fall.

At gym

You might have the barbell and change the weights but maintain the form of the back, neck and hips while you stand.

2. Glute Ham Raise:-

Glute ham raises are mostly seen as a very gym-based workout, because in this people mostly use a machine called glute hamstring machine. But I have devised a way for you to do this at home. You have to do this 10 to 20 times three sets depending on your capacity.

At home: Its better you do this on the mat at home. For this you need at least two sets of weight in increasing order. You can ask a friend, or whoever is at home, to hold your ankles on the ground while you do ten ups and downs. When you are about to touch the ground use your hands to hold out (like when doing a half-plank) and press hard enough to push back for the next round. This is one round of glut ham raise.

  • You have to keep your body fluid the whole time when you are going up and down.
  • Hold your leg as a stationary object on the floor while you only move your upper body forward and down keeping your back straight the whole time.
  • Breathe. Inhale while you come down and exhale while you go up.

At gym: Though if you use this machine, its only an accessory, your ankles may get sore for up to a few hours after the workout. While in the machine, you will be balancing your body on a straight line- a little above the ground level- you have to keep your upper body perpendicular to your lower body.

  • In the gym there is a glut ham machine to stick and hold your leg as a stationary object while you only move your upper body forward and down keeping your back straight the whole time.
  • When you are doing this on the machine your ankles will rest in the machine which has two holes to put your feet inside them and let your upper body glide, stretching you’re your hamstring to its full range.

3. Dumbbell Swings:-

Lying on the exercise mat swinging your hands and your legs at the same time. Use two-three kgs dumbbells at max for this. As mentioned above, beginners should start with light weights. These are good for a counter exercise for after a cobra stretch. Do this 18 times, nine lying and nine up.

At home and gym:

  • Lie on your back on a mat on the floor and keep your hands, legs and body straight.
  • Make your grip on the handlebars of the dumbbell and do a reverse crunch.
  • Keep your hands straight above your head and legs straight little above the ground.
  • Swing the dumbbell holding your hands parallel to the front. Try to bring the weights between your thighs. You are using your lower back and hip muscles for pulling your body up.
  • Your feet should be wider apart than your hands during this exercise. You should feel your body stretching fully with each motion.

4. Dumbell leg curls:-

You have to pick up the dumbbell with your feet from the floor. Very intense movements on the legs. This is the best leg curl out the alternatives that is without gym equipment. Start with a lesser weight like 2 kgs first. You can also use a bench/ledge for he reverse hyper-extension leg curls. 30 Reps.

At home and gym: In the gym you may have a leg curl machine.

  • Lie on your stomach on your mat and use ankle weights or hold a dumbbell between your ankles.
  • You should be focusing on your ankles securely lifting up the dumbbells as the dumbbells are heavy between the arches of your two feet.
  • Your abdomen and elbows should be touching the floor.
  • Maintaining the stability you have to move your heels slowly up till your buttocks or at least straight above your knee. and then bring them down.
  • You will try not to use your upper body weight as you are lifting the dumbbells up with your legs.
  • If you are using an ankle weight you will have to be sure to curl your legs from your knees till your hips.

5. Good Mornings:-

Hold your knees firmly on the ground and freely move your upper body. Do 20 reps of this for twenty seconds. You can do this with dumbbells or with an iron bar around 2-5 kgs and a total of 10-40 kgs. You can also use resistance bands around the calves. In the gym there is sometimes a Smith machine.

For home and gym:

The bar has to be placed on the back so that your shoulders are straight. Spine should be neutral and make sure your back is straight not arched or curved.

  • Hold the bar anywhere and maintain proper form before going forward with your upper body.
  • Inhale and exhale in order to keep your abs comfortably tucked in.
  • Stand with legs slight apart like when you’re doing the squats, this helps in maintaining balance when you’re going down as you stand.
  • The feet should slightly face the opposite directions. Keep your shoulders apart too. Slowly bring your upper body parallel to the floor.
  • Exhale while going down and inhale when going up. Push your hips back and lean forward. Your head should not move during the Good Morning. You should look up straight in front of you as you are going up and look at the floor when you are going down.
  • Go as low as possible till you can’t stretch your hamstrings anymore. When you’re going down for the good morning, slightly bend your knee for balance.
  • On the Smith machine, things are pretty much the same, except you’ll have more weight options.

6. Hip Extensions:-

I thought this is another word of bridge, but no. Hip extensions have many variations. It is just one of them. Do 16 to 20 of these, each side 8 and 10 respectively.

At home and gym:

  • For the common hip-extension move, lie down on a mat and bend your knees to a 90 degrees.
  • You have to make sure to work your glutes throughout you have to keep your heels as close to your hips as possible and keep your arms on your side for stability.
  • Exhale when you are going up and inhale when you are going down. Your upper back should be touching the ground.
  • Use your glutes’ to push your hips up. Make sure your neck is neutral and your back is not arched and you are straight.
  • Both when you are going up and down you have to maintain a straight posture. When you are going up don’t forget to flex your glutes. And for hyper-extension, push your hip up as high as you can.
  • Feel your glutes stretch.

7. Hamstring Walkouts:-

Hold the bridge position. You don’t need any equipment for this. You can also use a stability ball for this in the gym. In that case, you will slide your legs inwards and outwards without walking, but keep your hips in the elevated position while your feet rests on the ball. Do 10-12 reps of this. Keep your neck neutral and upper body touching the ground.

Hamstring Walkouts
At home and gym:

  • Lie down on a mat. Much like the hip extension workout or glute bridge.
  • Your knees should be bent and feet on the ground.
  • Keep your hands on the side for stability.
  • Put your toes away from the ground and start walking away with your heels and come back till your glutes touch your hips.
  • Your hips should be up the whole time and glutes flexed. don’t use support of your neck but your shoulders.
  • Keep a heavy weight on your abdomen to increase the impact of this workout.

8. Sliding Leg Curls:-

How To: Slider Leg Curl

Bridge it is. The idea is to lift one leg up while lying on your back. This is an intense level workout and the posture is similar to the Glute Bridge. You can use a cloth as a slider. Do these at least 16 times, 8 times with each foot.

At home and gym:

  • Lie on your back and keep your feet on the cloth slider as close as possible to your hips.
  • Your hands should be kept on either side of your body for stability. Elevate your hips by flexing your glutes.
  • Keep your body straight and your upper body on the floor. Now, you can slide away your feet from your hips using the slider.
  • You can also slide one foot away at a time. When you are sliding one foot, you can raise the other foot in the air in a perpendicular axis to your body.

9. Floor Hamstring Raises:-

The catch here is to land on your hands on the floor and not plant your face but push yourself back up straight to the starting position by pushing yourself off the ground with your hands. This one is actually an advanced variation of lying leg curl. You can do two reps of 15 each when you are comfortable with it.

Floor Hamstring RaisesAt home and gym: If you are using a BOSU ball, it should be positioned in front of you will reduce the range of motion.

  • Kneel down on a mat with your feet anchored to the ground firmly with your toes.
  • You can also use a heavy weight or stick your feet inside the Glute Hamstring Ledge. Or, ask a friend to hold your feet to the ground but as you go ahead with the exercise you have to be able to balance your upper body weight on your calves.
  • Keeping your back straight and neck neutral -bend forward from your waist- parallel to the floor. Your body weight will be on your hamstrings and core.

10. Bent leg reverse hyperextensions:-

If you are a beginner, try to maintain form and don’t try to swing the leg too much, hold and control the movement of the legs-like a slow mountain climber, but in reverse and also forward motion hence working on the back and abs at the same time. Do this 25-50 times in one session of a workout depending on the intensity of the workout.

At home and gym: In a gym, you can use a Lying Leg Curl Alternatives machine or ledge to do the same.

  • Lie in a plank position on a mat with your hands stretched out fully and toes on the floor.
  • Now, take one foot backward 90 degrees in order and try to reach the buttocks region.
  • Your legs should be perpendicular, such that the thighs are perpendicular to the floor.
  • Now, bring this leg back to your elbow. The closer you try to get to your elbow, depends on the flexibility of your body.
  • Now repeat the same with the other leg.


  • This will improve your lower back, gluts and abs. Keep your gluts tight and abs tucked in while doing this.
  • This will heal your lower back pain.
  • You feel a pain in your abdomen and abs that means its working your core muscles.
  • Heavier the weight, the difficulty will be more, but the exercise will burn more calories too, working more muscles.
  • This will contract your core. Keep your abs and glutes tight.
  • Lying leg curls alternatives are good for your quads, back pain, gait, glutes and shaping of your hips and also builds strength.
  • Hamstrings have a lateral side and a medial side and a proximal (upper thigh region) and distal (lower thigh region). These leg curls will work on your semitendinosus, semimembranosus, biceps femoris.
  • Any muscle tear in these will heal by itself over a period of time and most often do not require surgery.
  • a change in your body posture, you will become faster, more agile and feel lighter from the pesky weight-gain.
  • The continuous movement for the lying leg curls alternatives or the hip-extension moves in different ways with every contraction and release increases muscle mass and flexibility in the region.


The best part is that most of the lying leg curl alternatives in this list can be done at home without a machine or any equipment. Make sure you are well hydrated before you try these lying leg curl alternatives. Try to do these as simple leg curls. These are the best leg curls for both gym and home workout for your lower body. Be gentle and slow with the movements of the leg curls described. Remember, proper form is the key to every strength workout. Lying leg curls are good for back pain and site-specific muscle building around your spine, hamstrings thighs and hips. This work-out is for strength training. Modifications of lying leg curl alternatives in this workout are good to incorporate in the fitness regime because as time passes it’s important to breakdown the weight-loss plateau, keep building new muscles for the same region and slowly prepare you for advance training as well.