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Lying Leg Curls

What Is A Lying Leg Curl?

How to do lying hamstring curls

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Lying leg curls are an isolation hamstring exercise that primarily strengthens the hamstrings, with the glutes also lightly engaged. Lying leg curls are performed lying face down on a prone leg curl machine, which keeps the upper body still and removes any momentum to ensure all of the work comes from the legs and glutes. Lying hamstring curl machines are usually pin-loaded, making it quick and easy to add or remove weight during the exercise.

Using a lying hamstring curl gym machine means this exercise is simple to learn and suitable for beginners, while also ideal for more experienced lifters who want to engage the hamstrings effectively. For a more advanced approach to lying leg curls, you could do drop sets which are performed as one continuous set with two or three drops in weight during the set.

Like all hamstring exercises, lying leg curls will build strength and muscle in the back of the legs and glutes, which can translate to better deadlifts, sled pushes, or sprints.

Check out some other hamstring curl variations: Swiss ball hamstring curls, Nordic curls, seated leg curl, banded hamstring curl, dumbbell hamstring curl

Commonly Asked Questions About Lying Leg Curls

Which Is Better, Seated Or Lying leg Curl?

Seated leg curls and lying leg curls are both machine-assisted hamstring exercises that support the upper body so the focus of the exercise is on the hamstrings and glutes. Seated leg curls are performed sitting upright, with the back against a pad, while lying leg curls are performed lying face down. Both variations are effective hamstring exercises but the seated variation can be more challenging as the hips are flexed, putting a greater stretch on the hamstring.

How To Adjust Lying Leg Curl Machine?

Lie face down on the machine, with your knees just off the bottom of the pad and the back of your ankles against the roller. There are three parts to adjust: the moving arm of the machine, the ankle pad, and the handles. Remove the pin and push the moving arm so that your legs can fit underneath while fully extended as this will allow you to reach full range of motion. The ankle pad can then be adjusted to sit on the back of your ankles when your feet are flexed, and the handles can be adjusted to allow you to better grip the handles when lying down.

What Muscles Do Lying Leg Curls Work?

Lying leg curls mainly work the hamstrings, with the glutes and calves engaged to a lesser extent.

Are Lying Leg Curls Effective?

Lying leg curls are an effective exercise to isolate the hamstrings to build strength in the back of the legs.

Lying Leg Curl Tips

  • Adjust the lying leg curl machine at the knee, ankle, and arm rests to fit your legs and torso properly.

  • Flex your feet at the ankles as you perform each rep.

  • Focus on driving your hips into the pad to prevent your lower back from arching and ensure your hamstrings are driving the movement.

  • Maintain the tempo of each rep by curling your legs in slowly and lowering back down with control.

How To Do Lying Leg Curls

  1. Adjust the machine so your knees are just off the bottom of the pad and the ankle pad rests comfortably on the back of your ankles.

  2. Select the correct resistance by choosing a weight that allows you to do smooth, controlled reps.

  3. Lie face down with your ankles underneath the roller, and hold the support handles at the front of the machine.

  4. Drive your hips into the pad and engage your hamstrings as you pull your heels in towards your glutes.

  5. Pause at the top of the rep before slowly extending your legs out to the start position.

If you’re not sure if any of the above exercises are suitable for you, please consult your doctor before you start it. Need guidance on how to perform the exercise? Ask a personal trainer at your gym.