The leg curl is a vital exercise to ensure complete balance between the front and back of the leg. This balance is not only important for aesthetics but also for injury prevention. Strong hamstrings stabilize your knee joint and help you accelerate, and decelerate, during sporting activities. It’s a non-impact exercise appropriate for a multitude of fitness levels. Hamstrings muscles are essential for walking and running, particularly during the extension phase when your legs swing backward. The majority of lower body exercises recruit the hamstrings, but few isolate the hamstrings as well as the leg curl. Isolation exercises can be crucial to bodybuilders, athletes, or anyone who wants to work a specific muscle group.

Sitting and lying are positions usually associated with resting. However, when using exercise equipment such as the leg curl machine, the seated or lying positions are not so relaxing. Both variations of the machine strengthen the hamstrings. You may find one position more comfortable and more effective than the other. The seated leg curl is better for those with back pain. 

Set up for prone leg curl

First, the machine needs to be adjusted to fit your body. Leg curl machines have an adjustment for the pad so people of different heights and leg lengths can use the machine comfortably and effectively. You should adjust the pad, so it rests on the back of your ankles, just below your calves and just above your Achilles. If the pad is on your calves, that is too high and if the pad is on your heels, it is too low. If the pad is in the wrong place, the proper mechanics of the exercise will be thrown off and it will feel uncomfortable.

Set up for seated leg curl

Set up the machine so that the pads sit comfortably against your lower back when you sit on it. Put your legs on the padded lever so it sits just below your calf muscles, and set up the lap pad so it sits on your thighs just above the knees. Lift your legs so they are straight out in front of you and grasp the side handles on the machine. Pull the padded lever down and back towards you as far as you can with your legs, hold for a second, then slowly bring it back to the starting position.

Anyone can benefit from better balance, stability and endurance that a strong hamstring provides. Check out these websites for extra guidance.

Click here for an article from Very Well Fit on How to Properly Execute the Leg Curl Exercise

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