Banded Hamstring Curls | The Quest For Great Hamstrings

banded hamstring curls
Hamstring Curl Using A Band

Banded hamstring curls are a prominent exercise to gain strength, build muscle, and rehab your hamstrings and other lower-body extremities from injuries. They require minimal equipment and can be done almost anywhere. Whether you’re working out while traveling, at home, or in the gym, implementing this movement will provide results.

Benefits Of Banded Hamstring Curls

Banded leg curls (hamstring curls) are used by many powerlifters as a way to strengthen their hamstrings and knees for compound exercises like deadlifting and squatting.

Doing this movement consistently will not only build muscle and strength. It will increase ankle and knee mobility, strengthen tendons, and create better activation of the hamstrings during compound movements. In turn, taking adequate stress off the knees.

Adding these in 2-3 days per week is a good starting point to measure progress.

Muscles Worked

Primary Muscle Worked:

  • Hamstrings

Secondary Muscles Worked:

  • Glutes
  • Quadriceps
  • Calves
  • Inner/Outer Hips

How To Do Resistance Band Hamstring Curls

To get started with banded hamstring curls you will need something to sit on, either a chair, bench, or box will work. Then of course a resistance band with some sort of anchor to attach it to.

Once you’ve got everything together these are the steps to set up and perform:

  1. Wrap the band around the anchor
    • Attach the band at a comfortable height for you
    • Loop one end of the band through the other and pull it tight
  2. Setup the bench at a far enough distance to provide adequate resistance when curling
  3. Put your feet through the band loop and sit at the edge of the bench
  4. Grab onto the sides of the bench if needed, for extra balance
  5. Set your hamstrings so they are in a parallel position to the floor
  6. Begin curling the band
    • Lean back slightly to keep a stable position if needed
    • Curl the band by moving your calves and ankles inwards to flex your hamstrings
    • Contract until your lower leg is congruent or past congruent to the floor
    • Maintain control and stability during the eccentric phase
  7. When ending the movement be cautious as the band will want to pull your feet in
Demonstration Video

The nice thing about resistance bands is that they come in many tension levels. So as you get stronger at this movement you can switch to a higher tension band for strength progression.

Example set and rep schemes:

  1. 2×50
    • Fast reps for speed-strength
  2. 4×12-15
    • Slow reps for pump and time under tension

Slow Reps Vs. Fast Reps

The video tutorials for the hamstring curl with resistance bands are mixed between some users doing slow and others doing fast reps. There’s no right or wrong way to do the movement. How it’s performed depends on the user’s goals.

For instance, slow reps will help with better muscle contractions and create more hypertrophy for muscle growth. These will usually be utilized more by people trying to build muscle rather than strength. This may also lead to a bigger pump due to the increased time under tension.

On the other hand, fast reps are more for building explosiveness and are generally used by powerlifters to not only strengthen their hamstrings but build speed force.

Nonetheless, there’s nothing wrong with implementing both styles for maximal gains of both muscle and explosiveness.

I prefer to do banded hamstring curls before every squat and deadlift session to warm up my lower body. Give them a try and see how well they work for you!

Eric Decremer
Eric Decremer

Eric is an ISSA Certified Personal Trainer and competes in the USPA Powerlifting Association. Feel free to contact him anytime at edecremer@wildnswole.com!

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