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Leg Curls - Exercise for the Hamstrings



Have a look at some of the articles published in previous issues of BetterU News...

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Leg Curls

Home -> Exercises -> Leg Curls

Primary Muscles Worked: Description:
Biceps Femoris Part of the hamstring muscle group that flexes the knee.
Secondary Muscles Worked: Description:
Gastrocnemius One of the muscles of the calf that crosses the knee joint, involving it in the knee flexion movement.

The Leg Curl exercise is the most common hamstring (the muscles along the rear of your thighs) exercise you will see in the gym, though the hamstrings are actually one of the most neglected parts on the body (this may be because you can't see them in the mirror) even though they are extremely important for lower body strength and power!

How to Do Leg Curls:

  • Lie face down on a Leg Curl machine, chest flat on it and hands gripping on the handgrips.
  • The back of your ankles should be against the pads and your knees should be in line with the rotating cam of the machine.
  • Curl your legs up, keeping your hips down against the bench.
  • Squeeze at the top then lower slowly back down.
  • Do not use momentum to swing the weight up as this will reduce the effectiveness of the exercise
Start Position of the Leg Curl

Top Position of the Leg Curl
  • Do not allow your hips to come up off the bench as you curl up. This takes tension off the hamstrings and can place it on the lower back and glutes.

  • A good Leg Curl machine will not have a flat bench but will be angled slightly. You can accomplish this on a flat-benched machine by placing a towel under your hips.

Tricks for Performing Leg Curls:

  • If you notice that you frequently lift your hips up off the bench as you tire, try having a training partner press down on your lower back while you are doing the exercise. This pressure will keep your hips from rising up and will keep tension on the hamstrings better.

Common Errors in the Leg Curl Exercise:

  • The glutes come up during the exercise - this takes some of the tension off the hamstrings, using the glutes to assist the movement. This can place undue pressure on the lower back and reduces the effectiveness of the exercise. Using too much weight can force you to have to lift your glutes. If this is the case, reduce the weight and concentrate on keeping your hips down.

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