How to perform front (thigh) and rear (hamstring) leg curls exercise using the curl machines. Plus what benefits will you get from these exercises.
While the front Leg Curl is a very good exercise for isolating your thighs, it’s not as effective for overall leg and core muscle development as the Deadlift, Squats or even the Leg Press. I personally use Leg Curls as more of a definition and shape development exercise, an addition to my legs workouts but not a core exercise.
If you suffer from any kind of injury or condition that prevents you from performing compound exercises like the Deadlift or the Squat, then Leg Curls combined with other exercises may be an ideal solution and alternative for you.
Benefits of performing leg curls
The Leg Curl is a good exercise for toning the thigh area, developing a good muscular shape and improving muscle definition in your quadriceps. These exercises really do isolate the quadriceps and hamstring muscles.
- Pin Cable Leg Extension Machine.
- Weight bench with leg extension attachment – These machines are very common in gyms, they are also a common attachment for home gyms and weight benches.
Other good exercises for your thighs
- Leg Press
- Stair climber
How to do leg curls
- Sit on the leg extension machine and adjust the back and leg rest to a comfortable position, the leg rest should be resting on your ankles or the lower shin area.
- Position your knees so that they’re in line with the pivot point of the curl machine.
- Use the hand grips or bench to keep yourself in a fixed position keeping your body still.
- Slowly raise your legs using only your thigh muscles until your legs are straight, while your legs are straight tense your thighs for a brief moment.
- Now slowly lower your legs and don’t let the weight drop, keep the resistance on your thighs and then repeat.
The leg curl is one of the best ways to directly work your hamstrings, good for strengthening and improving definition round the back of your legs. The hamstrings are sometimes overlooked, much like the tricep muscle of the arm. It’s important to train the Quadriceps and Hamstrings equally to balance your leg strength and maximize stability, this will also help to prevent injuries in the future.
The Hamstring is the bicep of the leg and it’s responsible for flexion of the knee. The hamstring is made up of three muscles, the bicep femoris, semimembranosus and semitendinosus.
Leg Curl Variations
- Front lying – front lying machines are very common in gyms.
- Seated upright – these machine are becoming more popular and a common piece of equipment in many gyms.
- Single leg – you can perform this on a front lying hamstring curl machine, or while standing you can use a front leg curl machine.
Other exercises for your hamstrings
- Stiff Legged Deadlift
- Good mornings
Technique (Seated Upright) Hamstring curls
- Adjust the leg rest so that your ankle, lower calf area is resting comfortably on the pad, your knees should be in line with the pivot point of the machine, you can do this by adjusting the back rest.
- Keep your legs parallel with each other, feet about one foot apart, and your toes should be pointing up.
- Place your hands on the handles or under the seat to keep you seated in a fixed position.
- In a slow and controlled fashion using only your hamstrings bend your knees to lower the pad, hold for a moment and then slowly raise the pad to the start position. Try not to let the weights drop to keep the tension on the hamstrings and then repeat.