Leg Curls

The leg curl is an effective fitness exercise for the leg biceps. This exercise can be performed in different positions, depending on the equipment you have available. You can do it sitting or lying position, but the lying position is the most famous and most popular among women. Leg flexor muscles is another term for leg biceps. There is also a fitness machine called leg curls, so don't get confused.

With the leg curl machine, the flat tendon muscle (musculus smimembranous) and half tendon muscle (musculus semitendinosus) are trained in addition to the leg biceps (musculus biceps femoris). The twin calf muscle (musculus gastrocnemius) is also used in the execution of the movement. 

Here we will explain the different exercises for leg curls and start with the most popular version in the lying position. 

Leg curls while lying down

Leg curls while lying down are especially popular among women because the gluteal muscles are trained as well. You can also train leg curls with a dumbbell while lying down. Or one varies it one or two-legged to perform. No matter which variation you want to perform the position and movement execution is very important and is explained below in 3 steps.

Step 1: Starting position

Lie down on the cushion and face down towards the floor. Often the lying surface is slightly curved so that it perfectly fits the execution of the exercise and increases the effect. Position your calves so that you are pressing against the padding of the leg piece. The leg roll is slightly above your ankles. Your feet are hip width apart. Your knees should be just slightly above the resting surface of the machine. Otherwise, you will need to adjust it on the machine so that the pivots are at the same height as your knees. With your hands hold on to the handle, which is located near your head on the device.

Step 2: Execution

Your upper body will always remain straight and your head will be an extension of your upper body. Your gaze will be directed downward. Now you can tense your leg muscles and use the strength from your thigh to pull the roller as far as possible towards your buttocks. Here only the lower leg moves, and the rest of the body remains in the same position. Due to the weight of the roller, your hips will move regularly with it and your buttocks will be pushed upwards. Make sure you keep your hips on the pad. Minimal movement is okay, however. During this movement, exhale and continue the movement as far as you can.

Step 3: Final position 

Now lower your legs and slowly bring them back to the slightly bent starting position. Inhale during this movement. Be careful not to lower the weight of the machine completely. Only at the end of the last repetition you may lower it completely. You can stop the set if you can't perform the leg bends properly without problems. You can also add some variation by exercising with your feet tucked or extended. When you tighten your feet, the Achilles tendon is more stretched, and the calf muscles are more involved. When the feet are extended, the Achilles tendons are shortened and therefore the leg biceps are trained more.

Leg curls while sitting on the leg curl machine

While seated, you can choose between doing them with both legs and with one leg.

Step 1:

Sit down in the leg curl machine. Here you need to press your back completely against the pad, but a slight hollow back in your lower back can help protect your spine. The buttocks must also be close to the back pad. As in the lying variation, the swivel joints must be at the level of the knees. Now position your calves on the roller hip-width apart. The foot pad of the roller presses just above the Achilles heels. Direct your gaze forward. If the machine has handles, you can get more stability by holding on.

Step 2: Execution and final position

Double-legged version:

Here you press the pad of the roller down with both legs and exhale at the same time. You can perform the movement as far as it is possible for you. As you exhale, slowly bring your legs back up and are almost fully extended.

Single leg version:

Here you perform the exercise the same way as with both legs, only one leg is on the pad.

Tips for Hamstring Curls on the machine

To get the best result with Hamstring Curls (to train the muscles of the back of the thigh) you should always perform the exercise on the machine correctly.

- Do not overextend your leg. The correct position is always to have a slight bend in the knee.

- Adjust the machine correctly. To avoid injury to the knee joint, the pivot should be in line with your knees.

- Proper head position. Your gaze should be down and not forward.

- Do not bend hips. The buttocks and hips should remain rigid and not buckle, even if the weight is applying leverage to the body.  The movement should come only from the legs.

Alternative exercises to leg curls on the machine

If you need a little variety in your workout schedule, you can try these alternatives to leg curls.

- Leg curls with cable: The flexor muscles can also be trained on the cable pulley or at home with a band.

- Leg curls with dumbbells: If you don't have any of the above equipment available, but you do have a weight bench, you can take the weight bench and do leg curls with a dumbbell. (see picture) 

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