The TRX leg curl is one of the most beneficial exercises you can do for the posterior chain, and it is an easily accessible exercise for beginner clients. Now don’t confuse easily accessible for easy because they are by no means that. If you have never used TRX straps before, these may catch you by surprise with how effective they are and this particular exercise provides a great leg workout.
The TRX leg curl is also sometimes referred to as a TRX hamstring curl, which at first glance sounds accurate. However, the TRX leg curl targets much more than just the hamstrings. It also targets the calves, hip flexors, glutes, lower back and core muscles. Making it not only great for building strength and stability but also for caloric burn as it involves so many muscle groups.
Leg curls in general are some of the most popular lower body exercises that you will see performed in a gym. We know how important it is to have strong hamstrings, which is why they are so popular. But there are many leg curl alternatives rather than just using a standard leg curl machine, that give additional benefits at the same time. The seated leg curl machine is many people in the gyms go-to simply because it is easy to use, allows you to isolate the muscle group and is very stable. Some of the most common leg curl alternatives with free weights are Romanian deadlifts and stiff legged deadlifts, which like the TRX leg curl hit more muscle groups than just the hamstrings, but also help build lower body muscle in addition to a strong back. And then of course there are the stability ball leg curls, which are going to likely be the closest alternative to the TRX leg curl, they challenge a person’s stability and in that they do work more muscle groups than just the hamstrings.
How to Perform a TRX Leg Curl
First thing to think about when getting ready to perform this exercise is if you as the personal trainer or your client have ever used a suspension trainer before. If not, the first few times can be a bit challenging with the setup.
First thing is to adjust the TRX straps so that the TRX handles are just about at calf height, ensuring that they are not too high or too low is important here. It’s also suggested with these to have some sort of mat on the ground to make it more comfortable. Next, have your client lie down on their back and place their heels in the foot cradle.
Then, have your client straighten their legs so there is no bend in the knees at all, and have them squeeze their glutes, engage their core muscles, and lift their hips up off the ground. Next, bending their knees have them bring their heels or curl their hamstrings so that they get as close to their butt as possible with their heels. All of this while keeping the hips up off the ground and the feet should move in a straight line. Then finally have them extend their legs back out. Keep in mind this entire time the hips should be up off the ground and fully extended.
Now if this is a beginner client and doing both legs at once is too challenging, you can have them alternate legs keeping one leg fully extended while the other leg works. You can program these for clients a few different ways but the most common are either for a set number of reps or for a time domain where they can see how many reps they can get.
The TRX hamstring curl is a great alternative to some of the other versions of hamstring curls out there. They can be extremely challenging and fun for clients to incorporate.