The Leg Curl: Muscle-Building Exercise for a Stronger Hamstring

Updated: 20 hours ago


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The leg curl is a popular muscle-building exercise for the hamstring. It can be done with a machine or with free weights. In this article, we will focus on how to do the leg curl with a machine. We will also discuss some of the benefits of doing the leg curl, and how to make sure you are getting the most out of this exercise. Finally, we will cover some of the variations of the leg curl and common mistakes people make when doing this exercise.


Before we dive in: check out our full-body training program to develop a strong body and aesthetic physique; you will benefit from one of our programs. We designed a program that gives you the tools to build muscle with an easy-to-follow routine that will fit any schedule. To find out more:


What muscles does the leg curl work?

The leg curl works the hamstring. The hamstrings are a group of three muscles that are located in the back of the leg. They are responsible for bending the knee and helping to extend the hip. The three muscles of the hamstrings consist of the semitendinosus, the semimembranosus, and the biceps femoris.


The semitendinosus is the muscle located on the inner side of the leg. The semimembranosus is located in the middle of the leg, and the biceps femoris is located on the outer side of the leg. All three muscles work together to bend the knee and extend the hip.


How to perform the leg curl?

There are two different leg curl machines you can use, the seated leg curl machine and the lying leg curl machine.


For the seated leg curl machine:

  • Sit down on the leg curl machine and place your legs under the padded lever.

  • Make sure that your knees are in line with the axis of rotation of the lever.

  • Curl your legs up as far as you can go without moving your upper body.

  • Hold for a moment and then slowly return to the starting position.

For the lying leg curl machine:

  • Lie face down on the leg curl machine and place your legs under the padded lever.

  • Make sure that your knees are in line with the axis of rotation of the lever.

  • Curl your legs up as far as you can go without moving your upper body.

  • Hold for a moment and then slowly return to the starting position.


Common Mistakes

One of the most common mistakes people make when doing leg curls is not keeping their knees in line with the axis of rotation. This can cause the exercise to be less effective and can also lead to injury.


Another common mistake is not curling the legs up far enough. This can also make the exercise less effective. Make sure to curl the legs up as far as you can without moving the upper body.


Finally, people often use too much weight when doing leg curls. This can lead to injury and is not necessary to build muscle. Start with a lighter weight and increase the weight gradually over time.



Variations of the Leg Curl

Variation #1: Resistance Band leg curl

This variation can be done with a resistance band and a door anchor.


To do this variation:

  • Anchor a resistance band around a sturdy post or door.

  • Lie down on your back with the band looped around your ankles and the Valslide under your heels.

  • Curl your legs up towards your butt, and then return to the starting position.


Variation #2: Swiss ball leg curl

The second variation is done with a Swiss ball. This variation is great for people who do not have access to a leg curl machine.


To do this variation:

  • Place a Swiss ball at your feet before lying down on your back with your palms flat on the floor.

  • Place your heels on top of the ball and press your hips and glutes off the ground.

  • Dig your heels into the ball as you curl it towards your glutes. Reverse the motion and press the Swiss ball away from your glutes to return to the starting position.


Variation #3: Nordic hamstring curl

The Nordic hamstring curl is a great variation for people who want to build strong hamstrings. Weight can be added to this variation with the use of a weight vest.


To do this variation:

  • Start in a kneeling position with your hands on the ground in front of you.

  • Have a partner hold your ankles as you lean forward and place your hands on the ground.

  • Keeping your core engaged, lower your body down until your chest is close to the ground.

  • Pause for a moment and then press back up to the starting position.


Variation #4: Dumbbell Leg Curl

This variation can be done with a dumbbell and a bench. It's an effective exercise for those who do not have access to a leg curl machine.


To do this variation:

  • Lie face down on a bench with your legs hanging off the edge.

  • Place a dumbbell between your ankles and hold it in place with your hands.

  • Curl your legs up towards your butt and then return to the starting position.


Variation #5: Slider Hamstring Curls

For this variation, you'll use sliders to work your hamstrings. It's a fantastic exercise for people who want to strengthen their hamstrings.


To do this variation:

  • Start in a push-up position with your feet on sliders.

  • Keeping your core engaged, slide your feet back towards your glutes.

  • Pause for a moment and then press back up to the starting position.


Variation #6: Good Mornings

Good mornings are a great exercise for building strong hamstrings.


To do this variation:

  • Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and hold a barbell across the back of your shoulders.

  • Keeping your core engaged, hinge at the hips and lower your torso until it is parallel to the ground.

  • Pause for a moment and then press back up to the starting position.



Conclusion

The leg curl is a great exercise for building strong hamstrings. There are many variations of the leg curl that can be done with or without equipment. Start with a lighter weight and gradually increase the weight over time. Avoid common mistakes such as not keeping your knees in line with the axis of rotation and not curling the legs up far enough. With consistent training, you will see results in no time!


For a complete routine, check out our full-body training program to develop a strong body and aesthetic physique; you will benefit from one of our programs. We designed a program that gives you the tools to build muscle with an easy-to-follow routine that will fit any schedule. To find out more:


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