Simple Regressions for Stability Ball Leg Curls

September 13, 2010

Closed chain leg curls have been largely seen as an advancement from the machine based open chain version (lying, seating, standing). The reason being that in activities of daily living and/or athletic performance, the hamstrings concurrently perform both knee flexion and hip extension. The machines on the other hand only train the knee flexion component (although an argument could be made for the standing version, but I don’t think it’s a superior option in any sense).

So equipment pieces like stability balls and Valslides have become popular to train this movement.

I think Valslides and slideboards are the gold standard for the performance of this exercise based on the demand they place on the involved tissues, but not everyone has access to them.

Stability balls just by keeping the body higher in the air are often easier yet also more practical for the majority of gym goers – especially in commercial type settings. But even with a simple stability ball, modifications often have to be made to those just getting into functional training (and away from the bodybuilding-inspired approaches).

We can do eccentrics just like with the Valslides and slideboard. Just get the hips up, and slowly roll the ball out for 5 seconds, then drop the hips to the floor and bring the ball back to the butt. If this is too tough try 3 seconds…or just do hip extensions on the ball. Better yet in this case, master hip extensions off the ball first.

Doing the whole movement with the hips low is essentially demonstrates a lack of hip extension strength, and thus the effectiveness of the exercise is lost. Often these regressions just aren’t common sense and/or they are assumed to be “too easy/sissy”, but your body will always tell you where your current level of functional fitness is, and its our job to pay attention to it rather than dismiss it in denial.

Anyways, I write this because there was a young woman at the gym performing these who needed to begin with a modified variation of the stability ball version. It was extremely refreshing to see someone utilize smart training methods in that setting, and she had a great attitude when I offered up the tip. Maybe there is some hope after all.

Here’s a visual representation of the “start” position:

Not like this.

Like this.

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2 Responses to “Simple Regressions for Stability Ball Leg Curls”


  1. Can anyone tell me the best way to avoid cramps when getting ripped for definition.

  2. Chris Brown Says:

    Hi Steve, just as a disclaimer I will say that I do not now nor in the past train bodybuilders.

    I think if you posted your question on the forums at tmuscle.com you’ll get some great feedback as that’s geared towards bodybuilding. (You very well may already know the site)

    Good luck and thanks for reading!


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