Use a Swiss ball to target your legs.
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The Swiss ball bridge hamstring curl is a technical and challenging exercise that effectively works to isolate the hamstring muscles located on the back of the thighs. The movement is a body-weight exercise, making it appropriate for nearly every fitness level. The biggest challenge of the exercise is maintaining your balance on the ball while performing the curl. Whether it comes easy or not, you can be certain that with regular practice, the Swiss ball bridge hamstring curl will yield stronger legs and improved balance and coordination.
Results Require Proper Form
The Swiss ball bridge hamstring curl is a difficult exercise but with practice, it can become relatively easy. Begin by lying face-up on the floor with your arms extended out to your sides. Place your calves across the top of your exercise ball with your legs extended. Stabilize your torso and lift your hips and back off the floor to create a bridge so that your body forms a straight line from the floor to the ball. This is the starting position. Maintain the bridge as you contract your hamstrings to bend your knees. Allow your feet to roll on top of the ball as you curl the ball and pull your heels toward your buttocks. Pause here then slowly return to the starting position.
Aside from strengthening the hamstrings, the bridge hamstring curl also challenges several other muscle groups. The gastrocnemius of the calf and the popliteus of the knee, as well as the gracilis and sartorius of the thigh, work with the hamstrings to bend the knees and curl the Swiss ball. A handful of muscles work throughout the exercise to stabilize the torso, hips and ankles. These muscles include the abs, erector spinae, glutes and the tibialis anterior, which is located on the front of the shin.
The Swiss ball bridge hamstring curl as a valuable addition to any workout routine. Whether you're adding this exercise to a cardio workout or a strength training routine, aim to perform two to three sets of eight to 12 repetitions toward the end of your workout. If you notice fatigue beginning to set in, take a longer rest between sets or lower your repetitions to ensure you safely finish your workout without falling off the ball. End your workout with stretches that target the hamstrings and glutes, holding each stretch for at least 30 seconds.
While this exercise is generally considered safe, it could be counterproductive for some individuals. If you have a history of back, hip or knee issues, the bridge hamstring curl may cause these problems to resurface or aggravate existing conditions. If you choose to continue with the exercise, move with slow, controlled movements to reduce your risk of injury. Consult your health care provider before beginning a new exercise program.