Leg Curl

This weight training exercise solicits and tones the back of the thighs. It is an isolation exercise that is effective for these muscles but less profitable than polyarticular exercises like the Romanian Deadlift and its variants which will make you gain more mass in the thighs.

It may be necessary to perform specific work on the ischios if they are late in the front of the thigh. Studies on the activity of the muscles of the back thighs show that the Leg Curl and Romanian Deadlift are twice as effective as the squat in exercising these muscles. We, therefore, advise you to opt for these two exercises in your program.

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How To Make Leg Curl

1- Starting position

  • Adjust the machine according to your size and the desired load, then sit down. Make sure you have the right bust and the back pressed against the backrest.
  • Place the lower legs on the supports so that the padding is just below the calves and the knees are at the edge of the seat. If this is not the case, adjust the machine accordingly.
  • Extend the legs and point the toes of the feet up (if the machine is equipped with support at the knees, put it in place).
  • Grasp the handles on the side.

2- Execution of the movement


  • Press the supports with the legs to lower them as far as possible.
  • Keep the torso still, only the legs below the knees should be in motion.
  • Once in the low position, hold the contraction for one to two seconds before ascending.


  • Slowly return to the starting position, controlling the movement.
  • In order to maintain continuous tension throughout the exercise, do not fully extend your legs in the up position, but keep your knees slightly bent.

Repeat the movement until the end of your series.

Targeted Muscles

The Leg Curl is a strength training exercise that strengthens the muscles of the posterior compartment of the thigh. This thus represents the hamstrings which are a muscle group with three bundles: femoral biceps, semi-tendinous, and semi-membranous.

This muscle group is often forgotten by athletes who do home programs. And for good reason, without equipment, it is difficult to find effective exercises for the hamstrings. Indeed, the polyarticular movements like the Squat or the lunge work essentially the quadriceps and glutes leaving the hamstrings aside.

To avoid the problems of muscular imbalance which can lead to certain pains, for example in the knees, we recommend this Leg Curl exercise. In addition, in the background, the calves are working.

What Burden To Follow These Programs?

You need to determine the load suitable for your level. The ideal is to perform 10 repetitions. If the load is too light the repetitions will be too easy to perform. If the load is too heavy, the performance will not be clean or you will not reach the end of 10 repetitions. The load will, therefore, have to be lowered.

Once you have determined the load suitable for your level, this will be your maximum load for, for example, the classic training program 1. Indeed, in this program, you increase the load gradually. The goal is not to fail to finish the program! Your maximum load will, therefore, be that to be used in series 6, 7, and 8.

Safety Instructions

The ischial benches are not flat to avoid overarching the lumbar region. If this is the case, use a cushion or rolled-up floor mats to keep the back in the correct position. Do not raise your head during the movement, it must remain straight.

Risks And Mistakes To Avoid

  • Keep the head and column straight from start to finish of the Leg Curl.
  • Keep the toes pointing up in the starting position and keep this placement throughout the movement.
  • Control your movement, do not jerk: the execution of the Leg Curl must be slow and fluid.
  • Avoid heavy loads: too much resistance can lead to lumbar injuries or torn muscles in the hamstrings. If your movement is jerky and/or you use the bust to achieve it, reduce the load.
  • If you have trouble starting the straight leg movement: lean further back to loosen the hamstrings, and favor a light load.
  • For effective work: focus on the amplitude of the Leg Curl to achieve knee flexion equal to or slightly greater than a 90-degree angle.


Inhale when lowering the load and exhale during the contraction.

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The Leg Curl itself can be done lying down, standing, or sitting. This generally depends on the material you have available. At the execution level, it can also be done unilaterally to gain concentration or make up for a bilateral deficit.

Intensification techniques like super-sets are particularly compatible with the Leg Curl. Supersets allow you to work two opposing muscles at the same time without resting time. You can, therefore, perform 15 repetitions in the Leg Curl for the hamstrings and then immediately follow with 15 repetitions in the leg extension for the quadriceps. You will save time, here at the end of the session, to devote more time to other muscular parts such as the abdominals which are sometimes dispatched according to your motivation at the end of your workout.

Finally, do not bet everything on isolation exercises, the Squat, the Romanian Deadlift, the Stiff-legged barbell taut deadlift, or the Fuentes be the basis of your leg training. The machines will complete the work.

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