The stability ball leg curl is a lower-body exercise that is used primarily as an accessory movement to help lifters gain strength and hypertrophy for their hamstrings and glute muscles.
In this article, I am going to explain how to properly perform the stability ball leg curl including some coaching points, muscles worked, and give some alternatives.
How To Do Stability Ball Leg Curls
- Stability ball (Diameter is based on height but a 65 cm diameter should be good)
- Lie down on your back and almost fully extend your legs.
- Place your heels on the ball.
- Drive your elbows into the floor and keep your abdomen tight. Drive your heels into the ball.
- Drive your hips to the ceiling and engage your glutes.
- Keeping your core nice and tight, pull the ball under your butt as much as possible.
- At the top of this movement, keep the glutes engaged and core tight.
- Engaging the hamstrings, roll the ball back until your body is almost fully straight.
Make sure the stability ball is properly inflated. If it is not, the muscles we are training will not engage fully.
Remember to always squeeze with the glutes and actively engage the hamstrings. Do not round the back and push your belly to the sky. Keep the anterior core locked in throughout the movement.
Controlling the eccentric portion of this movement is critical. Your hamstrings will engage and get a good stretch at the end range of this movement, so go slow, pause, and then curl back.
Remember during the concentric movement, keep the hips up as you curl your heels in. Quality movement is better than exhausting quantity here (This applies to many exercises across many disciplines).
- Glute Muscles
Stability Ball Leg Curl Alternatives
Floor Slider Leg Curls
Floor Slider Leg Curls are where the athlete lies on their back. Legs bent at 90 degrees and heels on floor sliders. The athlete will bridge the hips up, extend the sliders out, and curl back.
Single-Leg Stability Ball Leg Curls
A single-leg stability ball leg curl is where the athlete lies on their back. One leg bent at 90 degrees and the other fairly straight with their heel on the ball. The athlete will bridge the hips up and curl the ball underneath them and then extend back out.
Manual Leg Curls
Lying face down on a bench. Legs fairly straight. A partner will give moderate resistance. The lifter will curl their legs until about 90 degrees. At this point, the partner will pull the legs back to the start with moderate resistance and the lifter will try to keep their legs at 90 degrees. (BOTH MOVEMENTS SHOULD BE TRAINING THE HAMSTRINGS, NOT THE QUADS).
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