Dumbbell Leg Curl: Muscles Worked, How-To, Benefits, Variations & More

If you are a fitness enthusiast who loves exercising at home with dumbbells, then this post is going to be useful for you. In this article, I’m going to share how to do dumbbell leg curl at home as well as what are its benefits, variations, and alternatives. I hope it will be useful for you.

Dumbbell leg curl: Muscles Worked

The primary muscle involved during the Dumbbell leg curl is the Hamstring. The hamstring is located on the backside of your thigh. And it is one of the 10 largest muscles in the human body.

A hamstring is a group of three muscles, semitendinosus, semimembranosus, and bicep femoris. And these muscles are responsible for flexing and extending the back thigh. The stronger the hamstring muscles the better you can run, jump, and squat.

As the dumbbell leg curl primarily works on the hamstring that is why it is also known as the Dumbbell Hamstring curl.

The secondary muscle involved during the hamstring curl is your glutes. Glutes muscle is located above the hamstring and works as a stabilizer muscle.

Other than hamstring and glutes, Calves are also engaged while curling the dumbbell.

How to do Dumbbell Hamstring Leg Curl

  • Step 1: Place a hexagonal dumbbell on the floor, lie flat on a bench on your chest, face facing the bench. Make sure your knees are at the end of the bench.
  • Step 2: Extend your legs fully behind you and clamp the dumbbell between your feet and Grab the sides of the bench with your hands for support.
  • Step 3: While keeping your hips fixed on the bench, Smoothly lift your leg off the floor and curl toward your buttocks until your knees are fully bent.
  • Step-4: Hold for a moment and then reverse the steps to return the dumbbell back to the start. That’s your one repetition.
  • Suggested sets and reps: three sets of 10 to 12 repetitions each.

Pro Tips:

  1. Start with lighter weight: If you are not used to working out with free weight, start your training with lighter weights. Using heavier weight can cause imbalance and increase the chances of injuries.
  2. Perform each rep slowly and in a controlled manner so you can contract muscles efficiently.

Dumbbell Leg Curl Benefits

  1. Dumbbells are better when it comes to a range of motion. Full range of motion helps you target your hamstrings more efficiently. However, you have to be careful while doing a leg curl with a dumbbell as it requires you to lift the weight with your feet.
  2. DB Leg curl develops a stronger hamstring that helps you in running, jumping deadlifting, and squatting.
  3. The hamstring is one of the largest and important muscles in the human body. And having a strong hamstring can help you in different activities of your daily life.
  4. Having hamstring muscle also decreases the risk of injuries.
  5. Leg curl not only strengthens your hamstring but also works on your gluteus Maximus and calf muscles.

Different Variations of Dumbbell Leg/Hamstring Curls

Dumbbell Lying Leg Curl on Floor

  • Lie on the floor on your stomach, stretch your legs behind you and keep your arms in a comfortable position.
  • Clamp a dumbbell between your feet and lift your feet off the floor. And keeping your thigh fixed on the floor, bring your dumbbell toward your buttock. Squeeze your hamstrings, and then return to the start. That’s the one repetition.

Incline Leg Curl with a Dumbbell

  • Lie on your stomach on a 30-degree incline bench with your legs are straight behind you and grasp the side of the bench for assistance.
  • Clamp the dumbbell between your feet and lift your toes off the floor and curl your knees to engage your hamstring. Pause for a moment and then return to the start. That’s one rep.
  • Do three sets of 10 to 15 reps each.

Alternatives of DB Hamstring Curl That You Can Do At Home

Resistance Band Seated hamstring curl

  • Anchor the one end of a band to a sturdy object, sit on a chair with your back properly rested on the backrest.
  • Keeping your feet together, place the band around your heels, fingers pointing forward.
  • Now, bend your knees and pull the band towards you until your hamstring muscles contracted.
  • Pause for a couple of seconds and then return to the start. That’s one rep.

Stability Ball Hamstring Leg curl

  • Place a stability ball on the floor, lie on your back in front of it, and put your heels and calves on it. Feet hip-width apart.
  • Keep your arms at your sides on the floor for assistance. And lift your hips off the floor and hold your legs straight. That’s your starting position.
  • Now, bend your knees and bring the stability ball toward your glutes by rolling the ball through your heels. Make sure you feel the contraction in your hamstring when you pull your heels toward you.
  • Pause for a moment and then return to the start. That’s one rep.
  • Perform each rep slowly and in a controlled fashion.

Is DB Leg Curl better than machine leg curl?

No, DB leg curl is better when it comes to a greater range of motion but overall machine leg curl is safer and better than dumbbell leg curl. Machines are fixed and control your excess movement during the exercise.

However, if you’re one of the fitness enthusiasts who work out at home with dumbbells then lying DB hamstring curl can be a good exercise for your hamstring muscle.

How to combine DB hamstring curl with other leg exercises?

A properly designed workout routine is as important as doing exercises. So I’m going to share a sample of a dumbbell leg exercise routine that you can do at home.

ExerciseMuscle WorkedSetsReps/setRest between Set
DB SquatQuadriceps3151-2 minute
DB Forward LungesQuads and Hamstring3101-2 minute
DB Sumo SquatHamstring3151-2 minute
Dumbbell Deadlift Entire leg3082-minute
Dumbbell Leg ExtensionQauds31260-second
Dumbbell Leg CurlHamstring31260-second
Dumbbell Calf RaisesCalves31560-second
Dumbbell Gluteus BridgesGlutes3151-2 minute
Dumbbell Entire Leg Workout Routine

I’ve also created a post related to dumbbell leg exercises for those who love working out at home, you can check here.

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