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Seated Leg Curls

What Is A Seated Leg Curl?

How to do seated hamstring curls

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Seated leg curls are an isolation hamstring exercise that strengthens the hamstrings and glutes. Seated leg curls are performed sitting on a leg curl gym machine, which keeps the upper body still and focuses all the work on the hamstrings.

Seated leg curls are a simple hamstring movement that is suitable for both beginners and more advanced athletes. Using the leg curl machine makes it easier to control the movement and isolate the hamstrings effectively, so you can concentrate on training factors like tempo and load. Sitting on the leg curl machine gives you easy access to the weight stack so you can select your weight or change the weight during your sets.

Check out some other hamstring curl variations:

Lying leg curls, Swiss ball hamstring curls, Nordic curls, banded hamstring curl, dumbbell hamstring curl

Commonly Asked Questions About Seated Leg Curls

How To Use Leg Curl Machine?

To do hamstring curls in the seated leg curl machine, first adjust the machine so your heels rest on the roller pad and the leg pad presses down on the top of your quads when you are sat with your back flat against the chair. To conduct the move, bend your knees and pull your heels in towards your glutes. Once you hit your end range, slowly allow the pad to return back up.

What Do Leg Curls Work?

Leg curls are a hamstring exercise that work your hamstrings and glutes. Seated leg curls isolate your legs so you can focus the movement on your hamstrings.

Does Leg Curl Machine Work Glutes?

All hamstring exercises work your glutes to some extent, but the leg curl machine isolates your legs so you can focus more of the work on your hamstrings. You can get more glute specific exercises here.

Are Leg Curls Bad For Your Knees?

No, leg curls are not bad for your knees as long as you perform them safely with a weight that you can control. There is no direct pressure on your knees doing leg curls, and strengthening both the hamstrings and quads can build strong and stable knees.

Are Leg Curls Necessary?

Leg curls are an effective and accessible way to build strength in the hamstrings. Seated leg curls are a popular way to isolate the hamstrings, and are a good combination with compound hamstring exercises like good mornings or deadlifts.

Seated Leg Curl Tips

  • Adjust the machine so your back is against the rear of the seat pad, your knees are slightly off the seat pad, and your ankles are on top of the padded roller.

  • Keep your back pressed into the rear pad throughout the movement.

  • Keep your feet flexed as you perform the leg curl -- this will activate the hamstring muscles more.

  • Select a weight that allows you to keep each rep smooth and controlled.

How To Do Seated Leg Curls

  1. Adjust the machine so that your back is flat against the rear pad and your knees are just over the edge of the seat pad. Rest your ankles on top of the padded roller. Your legs should be extended with a soft bend in the knee.

  2. Hold the handles for support, and bring your feet towards your glutes by bending your knees. Keep your feet flexed.

  3. Keep your upper body still throughout, with your back pressed into the padded back support.

  4. Pause with your feet near your glutes, before slowly returning to the starting 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.