Leg Curl Alternative: 7 Best Exercises

Leg curl alternative
Photo by Ruslan Khmelevsky

Leg curl alternative, effective exercises to build your core and hamstrings. Before finding any leg curl alternatives, you must know if those exercises would work for your core or not.

This article will help you find some effective leg curl alternative that will meet your requirements.

Leg Curl Alternatives: Exercises To Build Your Core And Hamstrings

Core and hamstrings are the roots of your daily activities, you can walk and run because of these two parts of your body. Building them is pivotal for maintaining that strength and power in your body.

Here is some leg curl alternative, you may try if leg curl core and hamstring workout is not your thing.



1.Stiff Leg Deadlifts

One of the best leg curls alternatives, that’s not that difficult to perform. Have you ever done deadlifts?

If yes, then you will catch stiff leg deadlifts easily. Like your normal deadlifts, it also involves the step of reaching down and getting up concept, but the difference would be more comprehending by learning the steps.

Let’s learn how to do stiff leg deadlifts. Here are the steps:

To start the position, take a barbell, and find a stool or any other bench that would be sturdy. Place your barbells on the stools in rest so its catches mid-height of your shins.

Then go down and get back to grab the barbell just like your normal deadlifts. Make sure your arms should be exactly as your hip-width apart and your palm should be facing towards the ground.

Then lift the barbell towards your waist height then lower it towards the ground (down) again.

You have to control your breathing properly, breathe in while lowering the weight (barbell) and breathe out in case of lifting the weight. then return to the starting position and repeat it as much as you can.

While performing all the steps of the stiff curl alternative, ensure the activation of your core and hamstrings (or the whole posterior chain).

Focusing on any one specific muscle of your body is quite difficult but you can follow a trick of squeezing that particular muscle while exercises.

Squeezing would also help you in activating your posterior chain and improve strength. Claim the benefits out of all the movement in this type of leg curl alternatives by repeating the exercise 10-15 times (according to professional advice).

You could also give Romanian deadlift or lying leg curl a try for a movement legs curl alternative exercises that require no leg curl machine.

Leg curl alternative
Photo by Total Shape


2.Kettlebell Swing

An outstanding leg curls alternative (and hamstring exercise) actually works more effectively than legs curl exercises. Kettlebell swings are one of the best leg curl alternatives (without a leg curl machine) is a full-body intense workout that works for your whole body covering every possible muscle group.

Let’s learn how to do Kettlebell Swings. Here are the steps:

Stand straight  (shoulder-width apart) and bent your knees slightly on the floor towards the forward direction. Hold the kettlebell perfectly through its handle and then between your knees space.

The whole exercise would require one strong movement, so be ready for the same.

Start with swinging the kettlebell towards the upward direction in one single move, keep the kettlebell in between your knees.

For a better intense workout, you should try moving the kettlebell up towards your head and try to bring the same above your head. So, that the kettlebell would not be in front of your chest.

Then get back your kettlebell down and between your legs. Then don’t stop and move to your next swing.

Now, return to the starting position and repeat the swings at least 5 times, you can do 5-10 repetitions for better whole-body leg curl alternative results.

Always remember a tip, your momentum is more powerful in holding the weight rather than your muscles (body).

Therefore, you should activate your core and hamstring muscles from the starting position to hold the weight of your muscles while performing this movement exercise.

Make sure the with should be of an appropriate weight and not more or less as compared to your strength level.

Kettlebell swings are the best hamstring exercise for working out with momentum and improves the posterior chain.

3.Single Leg Hip Extension

Another great leg curls alternative that requires no equipment at all. You can perform this exercise without hitting a gym and staying at your home.

Let’s learn how to do single-leg hip extension. Here are the steps:

Lie on the floor facing upwards with your feet flat on the floor causing your knees to raise a little bit.

Raise your leg (any side) towards the upward direction to hold in the air, so that it will be fully extended (that’s easier for performing the exercise).

Then slightly raise your knees upwards in the air, and then lift down slowly towards the ground. And for your hands, place them on the floor facing towards the ground in the sides of your body.

Pull your core and hamstring muscles while you are extending your hips upwards. You are lifting your hips in the wrong direction, in case there is a strain in your neck, note this thing.

Perform this body weight leg curl alternative, exercise with a repetition of 5-10 (or as per requirement).

This workout would be a boon for your legs and knees for your upper back (and lower back (glutes and hamstrings). Use can also try a resistance band while performing this exercise to do a hard sweaty exercise.

4.Good Mornings

Good mornings are also effective in building your core and hamstrings, but you have to involve your upper body (upper back mainly) in it.

You will get strong hamstrings and legs by performing this exercise. Additional resistance is required for the performance of these exercises, for that you can use weights and barbells.

Let’s learn how to do good mornings. Here are the steps:

Bent down facing down towards the floor, making your stomach parallel to the ground or floor. Then slowly raise your upper body making your lower back stand straight in a position.

Make sure your whole body is in a straight line keeping all the parts straight is straight and not bent (or sliding around). Now return to the starting position and start to perform repetition.

For strong hamstrings and core, you must use weight (plates) in your barbell and give explosive moves.

This exercise is all about explosive and strong movement as they build a high amount of strength and power. Just like a leg deadlift, it will work pretty well as a leg curl alternative.

 5.Russian Leg Curls

There is no requirement for any legs curl machine or other tools for Russian legs curl. One of the best ways to move your body and keeping your leg (or feet) stable.

Let’s learn how to do Russian leg curls. Here are the steps:

Start with a  kneeling position (or bend your knees down), and the top parts of your feet should touch the floor or ground. Slightly low down your upper body towards the ground, just like you do in push up where your hands touch the ground.

Then use your hands to push your back in the upwards direction back to starting position. Repeat the same according to your strength and capacity.

To avoid any strain in your back, just let your core activate properly while keeping your back straight.

This exercise would be super difficult initially if you’re a beginner as it is one of the best legs curl alternatives.

6.Doney Kicks

The most famous and effective legs curl alternative exercises for your hips and lower back. The donkey kicks are the best body weight exercises to build your hamstrings, core, and overall lower body.

Let’s learn how to do donkey kicks. Here are the steps:

To take the position bend your knees and keep your back straight and palms on the ground facing downwards to the floor. Your core should be tight and not sliding around, to maintain proper resistance and strength.

keep your hands and feet (knees) shoulder hip-width apart. Then raise your hips and kick your legs (keeping your feet straight) and lower body to push your hips muscles back.

While you push your hips, it activates your buttock (or glutes muscles). Use your bodyweight and kick back forcefully making a 90-degree angle in between your thighs and back.

Repeat the position at least 15-20 times for better core and strong hamstring workouts. Using a resistance band would also result in a good donkey kick workout.

Work your hamstrings by performing this one, for your glutes (and hips), and hamstring muscle group.


Leg curl alternative
Photo by Andrea Piacquadio

7.Reverse Lunges

Reverse lunges (alternative to leg curls without legs curl machine) are very helpful to target your hamstrings. You could do lunge using some lighter weight as well. You can use a kettlebell or any sandbag (you can also use a resistance band).

Let’s learn how to do reverse lunges. Here are the steps:

Take a straight stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, then take your knee (or legs) a little backward and bend your knees is floating just above the floor(also lower your hips).

Don’t forget to activate your core muscles while making your back straight. Your toe should be face straight without a slight movement (left or right).

Then take your hips back along with moving your body to the starting position. And don’t forget to keep your back straight while performing lunges.

After performing all the steps properly return to the starting position of the exercise and perform again.

You may first start with your left leg (any one leg of your choice) and perform alternatively. Follow the alignment (straight line) of your body together to perform more effectively without obstruction.

Repeat reverse lunges (glutes and hamstring exercise) at least 10-15 times for a better notable result.


Leg curl alternative
Photo by Monstera

Read more about leg curl alternatives

8.Stability Balls Hamstring Curl

A beautiful and effective stability ball hamstring curls for your lower body. This exercise is as easy as it sounds. Follow the steps to do this exercise:

Let’s learn how to do stability balls hamstring curl. Here are the steps:

Place your palms in the downward direction towards the floor and place your feet on the stability ball holding the balance on the floor.

Make a 90-degree angle with your knees on the ball so that the ball is almost touching your buttocks (or hips).

Lie down keeping flat on your back and your hand should be in the side of your body, maintain a proper straight position.

Take one straight move, and extend both your hips and legs, allowing the ball to move to form your body (legs and feet) straight out.

Then get back to your starting position and repeat. This hamstring workout with a stability ball will increase your access to a leg and build your strength.

Leg curl alternative
Photo by Jessica Monte



  • Strengthen your lower and upper back.
  • Great for hamstring muscles group.
  • Build your flexibility and toning of muscles
  • Build your feet, legs, and hips muscles.
  • Improve lower back (or hips) flexibility movement.
  • Improve knees diseases or weakness.
  • Improves blood flow through feet, hips, legs, and knees (or lower body).

 Leg Curl Alternative

Finding perfect leg curl alternatives without a leg curl machine could be sometimes tough, but there are many exercises as an alternative to a leg curl.

You could perform any of these exercises that require no leg curl machine at all and will build your muscle strength especially your core, glutes, and hamstrings.

You need to learn how to follow the correct posture for preventing any strain or pain in muscles. Get yourself started with these outstanding alternatives to leg curl.

Go ahead! and explore these best leg curl alternatives for fitness and strength.

You will build more muscle and strength by practicing this exercise regularly.

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Any information found on the site does not constitute legal or medical advice. Should you face health issues, please visit your doctor to get yourself diagnosed. Icy Health offers expert opinions and advice for informational purposes only. This is not a substitute for professional medical advice.


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