Learn how to Do the Leg Curl: Muscle mass Labored, Kind & Alternate options

The leg curl is a hamstring train, usually carried out on a leg curl machine.

It’s distinctive amongst hamstring workouts as a result of it trains your hamstrings by a full vary of movement whereas absolutely stretched, which makes it best for constructing muscle.

On this article, you’ll be taught what the leg curl is, its advantages, which muscle tissue it really works, the way to do it with correct kind, one of the best seated leg curl options, and extra.

What Is the Leg Curl?

The leg curl is a lower-body train that primarily trains the hamstrings and entails bending your knees to carry your toes nearer to your butt towards resistance. 

There are two principal variations of the leg curl: The seated leg curl and the mendacity leg curl. You’ll be able to carry out each utilizing varied items of apparatus, although most individuals choose to make use of a leg curl machine.

Seated Leg Curl vs. Mendacity Leg Curl: Which Is Higher?

The principle distinction between the seated leg curl and the mendacity leg curl is the way you place your physique. To carry out a seated leg curl, you sit upright on a seated leg curl machine together with your legs outstretched. To carry out the mendacity leg curl, you lie face down on a mendacity leg curl machine.

Whereas this distinction appears innocuous, it considerably modifications how the train trains your hamstrings. 

That’s as a result of sitting upright together with your legs straight in entrance of you locations your hamstrings in a totally stretched place, whereas mendacity down doesn’t. That is noteworthy as a result of research shows that relating to constructing muscle, coaching a muscle whereas it’s stretched is superior to coaching it whereas it’s relaxed.

And that’s why studies show doing the seated leg curl results in extra muscle development than doing the mendacity hamstring curl. Thus, most individuals will profit extra from the seated leg curl than the mendacity leg curl, which is why the seated leg curl is the variation we’ll concentrate on on this article. 

That stated, the mendacity leg curl continues to be an efficient train. In the event you choose the way it feels or it’s the one machine you have got entry to, it’s a viable various.

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Leg Curl: Advantages

The hamstrings have two major features: knee flexion (bending your knee) and hip extension (shifting your torso away out of your thighs).

One of many principal advantages of the leg curl is it trains knee flexion, one thing most different hamstring workouts (all types of the deadlift, the hip thrust, and the glute bridge, for instance) neglect.

Moreover, the seated leg curl trains knee flexion whereas the three largest “components” of the hamstrings—the lengthy head of the biceps femoris, semitendinosus, and semimembranosus—are absolutely lengthened. This makes it notably efficient for creating the areas of the hamstrings which have the most important affect on upper-leg dimension.

One other advantage of the leg curl is that it means that you can practice your hamstrings when your again is drained.

That is vital as a result of throughout most workouts that practice the hamstrings, such because the deadlift, Romanian deadlift, and squat, your again muscle tissue should work arduous to maintain your higher physique in a secure and protected place. 

In case your lower-body exercises solely include free-weight workouts like these, your again muscle tissue (and notably your lower-back muscle tissue) could fatigue quicker than your hamstrings. Whereas your again could also be bushed after 6 units of those workouts, your hamstrings might be able to deal with just a few extra.

The leg curl is a useful workaround on this situation. It means that you can practice your hamstrings after your again is fried, guaranteeing you possibly can practice your hammies with the quantity they should develop and turn out to be stronger with out your decrease again changing into a limiting issue.

For these causes, I at all times embrace the leg curl in my very own coaching and my health applications for women and men, Larger Leaner Stronger and Thinner Leaner Stronger

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Seated Leg Curl: Muscle mass Labored

The leg curl primarily trains the hamstrings, although it also trains the glutes and calves to a small diploma, too.

Right here’s how the principle muscle tissue labored by the leg curl look in your physique:

Leg Curl Muscles Worked

Seated Leg Curl: Kind

One of the simplest ways to discover ways to do the leg curl is to separate the train into three components: arrange, curl, and lengthen.

Leg Curl before after

Step 1: Set Up

Sit on the seated leg curl machine so the backs of your knees are a few inches off the pad supporting your thighs.

Regulate the heel pad so it’s throughout your Achilles tendons, then seize the handles and pull your self down in order that your butt is wedged into the bottom of the seat and your again is towards the backrest.

Step 2: Curl

With out lifting your butt off the seat or leaning ahead, press your heels towards your butt till your shins are roughly perpendicular to your thighs (or nearer).

Step 3: Prolong

As soon as your shins are roughly perpendicular to your thighs, straighten your knees and return to the beginning place. Don’t attempt to lengthen your knees slowly. All the “extension” ought to be managed however solely take a few second.

Right here’s the way it ought to look once you put all of it collectively:

Leg Curl gif

The Best Seated Leg Curl Alternatives

1. Lying Leg Curl

The lying leg curl trains the hamstrings similarly to the seated leg curl. The only difference is the seated variation places the hamstrings in a more stretched position, which is generally better for muscle growth. While the lying leg curl probably isn’t quite as effective as the seated leg curl for developing your hamstrings, it’s still an excellent seated leg curl alternative if your gym doesn’t have a seated leg curl machine or if you’ve been doing the seated version for a while and want to mix up your training.

2. Nordic Leg Curl

Research shows that the Nordic leg curl is a unbelievable body weight train for coaching your hamstrings, which can additionally reduce your threat of struggling a hamstring harm. Whereas it isn’t precisely the identical because the seated leg curl, you should use it as an alternative choice to the seated leg curl at dwelling.

3. Dumbbell Leg Curl

The dumbbell leg curl is much like the mendacity leg curl, besides you grasp a dumbbell between your toes as a substitute of utilizing a leg curl machine. The dumbbell leg curl generally is a helpful seated leg curl various in a bind, however most individuals discover it awkward to arrange and carry out. Thus, it’s not a variation I’d suggest until you don’t have entry to a leg curl machine (whereas working out at home or traveling, for example).

4. Swiss Ball Leg Curl

The benefit of the Swiss ball leg curl is that it requires minimal equipment and space to perform. However, it’s also deceptively difficult because it requires a lot of balance and coordination. As such, the Swiss ball leg curl probably isn’t the best option for someone who’s new to strength training, though it may be a good alternative for more experienced weightlifters who like to train at home.

+ Scientific References