Do the Leg Curl: Muscle tissue Labored, Kind & Alternate options

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

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

On this article, you’ll study what the leg curl is, its advantages, which muscle mass it really works, methods to do it with correct type, the perfect seated leg curl alternate options, and extra.

What Is the Leg Curl?

The leg curl is a lower-body train that primarily trains the hamstrings and includes bending your knees to deliver your ft nearer to your butt in opposition to resistance. 

There are two foremost variations of the leg curl: The seated leg curl and the mendacity leg curl. You may carry out each utilizing numerous items of kit, 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 adjustments 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 analysis reveals that in the case of constructing muscle, coaching a muscle whereas it’s stretched is superior to coaching it whereas it’s relaxed.

And that’s why research present doing the seated leg curl results in extra muscle progress 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 mentioned, 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’ve entry to, it’s a viable different.

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Leg Curl: Advantages

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

One of many foremost 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 largest affect on upper-leg measurement.

One other advantage of the leg curl is that it lets you prepare your hamstrings when your again is drained.

That is necessary as a result of throughout most workouts that prepare the hamstrings, such because the deadlift, Romanian deadlift, and squat, your again muscle mass need to work arduous to maintain your higher physique in a steady and protected place. 

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

The leg curl is a useful workaround on this situation. It lets you prepare your hamstrings after your again is fried, making certain you possibly can prepare your hammies with the quantity they should develop and grow to be stronger with out your decrease again changing into a limiting issue.

For these causes, I all the time 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 tissue Labored

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

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


Leg Curl Muscles Worked


Seated Leg Curl: Kind

The easiest way to learn 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.

Modify 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 in opposition to 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. The complete “extension” must 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 Greatest Seated Leg Curl Alternate options

1. Mendacity Leg Curl

The mendacity leg curl trains the hamstrings equally to the seated leg curl. The one distinction is the seated variation locations the hamstrings in a extra stretched place, which is usually higher for muscle progress. Whereas the mendacity leg curl most likely isn’t fairly as efficient because the seated leg curl for creating your hamstrings, it’s nonetheless a wonderful seated leg curl different in case your health club doesn’t have a seated leg curl machine or in the event you’ve been doing the seated model for some time and need to combine up your coaching.

2. Nordic Leg Curl

Analysis reveals that the Nordic leg curl is a implausible body weight train for coaching your hamstrings, which can additionally scale back your danger 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 ft as a substitute of utilizing a leg curl machine. The dumbbell leg curl could be a helpful seated leg curl different in a bind, however most individuals discover it awkward to arrange and carry out. Thus, it’s not a variation I’d suggest except you don’t have entry to a leg curl machine (whereas understanding at dwelling or touring, for instance).

4. Swiss Ball Leg Curl

The good thing about the Swiss ball leg curl is that it requires minimal gear and area to carry out. Nevertheless, it’s additionally deceptively tough as a result of it requires numerous steadiness and coordination. As such, the Swiss ball leg curl most likely isn’t the most suitable choice for somebody who’s new to energy coaching, although it could be different for extra skilled weightlifters who like to coach at dwelling.

+ Scientific References



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