Advanced Leg Curl Progressions

Posted on by Ben Bruno

I’m a big fan of Valslide leg curls and stability ball leg curls. You might be laughing, but I’m deadly serious.

I don’t see many people (especially guys) doing them, and I have to think it’s because:

a) You don’t hear much about them, so they tend to fly under the radar.
b) They seem wimpy and easy, so people may think they aren’t worth the time.

I absolutely think they’re worth the time.

They give you a great bang for your buck because your glutes have to fire isometrically while the hamstrings perform a closed chain leg curl. Plus, you don’t need a lot of expensive equipment, and you do them anywhere. I’ve actually been known to rock out sets of Valslide leg curls in my boxers while I’m chilling in my living room at night.

True story.

The biggest problem with them in my mind is that they’re hard to progress since you can’t really add weight.

With that in mind, I want to share a few variations/progressions that I’ve been using that will keep even the strongest of you out there satisfied and challenged.

With a regular Valslide or stability ball leg curl, the key is to keep the hips elevated and maintain a straight line from your knees to your shoulders. Like this.

Once you’v mastered this version, there are several ways you can go. Bear in mind that it’s not nearly as easy as it looks, so it will probably take some time to move past the basic version. Once you do them though, here are some more ideas for progressions that don’t require adding weight.

Single Leg Eccentrics

Bridge up, raise one foot off the floor, and slowly lower yourself down to the starting position.

This is a good starting point to progress from the bilateral version into more advanced variations.

Valslide “V” Leg Curls

Rather than extending your leg straight out, extend them out on an angle, again making sure to keep your hips up.

This introduces an adduction component to the exercise and also fries the glutes through transverse hip abduction.

Stability Ball Leg Curls with Abduction

This is very similar to the above version if you don’t have Valslides. Set up with your heels together and the soles of your shoes facing each other. From there, perform the leg curl as normal, pushing your knees out as far as you can.

The more you push your knees out, the more you’ll feel it in your glutes and the harder it’ll be.

Single Leg Valslide Leg Curls

These are the hardest of the bunch, but if you can pull them off, they’re freakin’ awesome. Take your time and work through the progressions and you’ll be doing these before you know it.

If you’re looking at this stuff thinking it’s wimpy and easy, I strongly urge you to try it first. I think your hamstrings and glutes will beg to differ. These are also all great variations if you don’t have access to a glute-ham raise but want to do a similar movement pattern.

Check out my You Tube page for more ideas, as I’ve just uploaded a bunch of new stuff.

Also, if you missed this weekend’s Good Reads, give that a look too.

  • Gabe

    Good stuff, i use them quite a bit myself and with my clients. Another progression is to ‘bear hug’ yourself and make the core stability an adventure.

  • Melanie

    This is great! I can’t wait to try this out. I have done this simple version on the ball but I love the progressions!

  • http://jonesercise.wordpress.com/ Bill Jones

    Have done these on the balls and a slide board. Never thought about doing them with furniture slides…until now! We also do them on a keg sometimes just for another variation.

  • Pingback: Slide Training | Maloney Performance