The stability ball leg curl is a great exercise to build strength throughout the upper back, core, glutes, and hamstrings.
In the video below, I show both a leg curl and a glute thrust, which are actually two different exercises.
How to Perform the Stability Ball Leg Curl
– Keep your feet pointed towards your shins.
– Pop your hips up into the air.
– Once you are stabilized, roll the ball towards you. Your body should rise up higher so that your hips stay in line with the rest of the body.
– In the video I’m letting the ball roll out very slowly. You don’t have to do it this slowly, just make sure you let the ball out under control.
You might feel the stability ball leg curl in your lower back a little bit, but this should dissipate as you get better at the movement. Also, make sure that you don’t overarch your back to help you roll the ball in. Many people also feel the exercise in their calves, which is quite normal, as one of your calf muscles crosses the knee joint. However, you really want to concentrate on using your glutes and hamstrings.
In the beginning, many trainees can barely stabilize themselves on the ball with their hips up, much less curl the ball in a controlled manner. In this case, I’ll split the movement up into two parts.
1. The bridge to build core and pelvic stability. Hold for about 20-30 seconds.
2. The glute thrust to build glute and hamstring strength. 1×12
Once both of these can be done independently, the actual leg curl movement can usually be done.
Stability Ball Glute Thrust
After I do the leg curls, I then move onto the glute thrust, which target the same musculature. In this case the glutes should play a bigger role because they are actively moving the hips up and down.
This movement is relatively easy, it just consists of hip flexion (down) and hip extension (up). Ideally, your hips should end up in line with the rest of your body; a straight line should exist from your shoulders to your knees.
How to Use the Stability Ball Leg Curl and Glute Thrust
For beginners, the leg curl and hip thrust can be a primary exercise. People sometimes underestimate the difficulty in performing the exercise correctly and with strict form.
If your strength levels make this exercise easy, the stability ball leg curl and glute thrust can be included as an accessory exercise, done after a main leg exercise like a squat or split squat. Or it could be included in a circuit where little rest is being used.
To increase the difficulty, you could also combine the two movements so that you do a leg curl, then a glute thrust, and then another leg curl, and so on. Leg curl, hips down, hips up, legs out. Repeat.