Leg curls of all kinds are excellent assistive exercises for the hamstrings. They are unique because, unlike their counter-movement – the leg extension – they provide no shear forces to the knee, and provide a direct component of hamstring training that cannot be obtained any other way – knee flexion. Leg curls by themselves cannot develop the fullest strength potential of the hamstrings, but they are both a great beginning movement, and are effective in the prevention of injury from hamstring pulls during running and sprinting.
Leg curls need to be performed in several slightly different positions in order to mobilize all of the fibers for ultimate leg development. By preforming them with the hip and the toe in a neutral position, you teach the central nervous system how to begin to maintain a neutral hip and ankle during running. The three hamstring muscles – biceps femoris, semitendinosus, and semimembranosus, act on the knee as a sling in functional movement. As such, forcing them to train in neutral alignment teaches these muscles how to react to ground forces to help maintain ankle stability.
To begin the exercise, lie facedown on leg curl machine as shown. Make sure that the axis of rotation of the machine – the pivot point of the machine – matches up with your own axis of rotation, which is your knee joint. Be sure to adjust the pad of the leg curl so that it rests on the achilles tendon. Keeping your toes pointed away, but in a parallel position, inhale.
As you exhale, forcefully flex the knees so that the pad on your legs moves toward your buttocks. The toes should stay pointe and neutral in alignment.
Leg Curls have a descending strength curve, meaning that the mechanical advantage decreases as you lift the weight to the top of the range of motion.Though a well-designed leg curl unit eliminates most of this problem, you will work harder at the top.
As you reach the top of the movement and finish your exhalation, allow a natural breath cycle to take place, and begin inhaling as you lower the weight. Your goal during the descent is to lower the weight at a fixed speed throughout, rather than dropping the first few degrees of range of motion quickly, and then catching the weight lower in the range where it is easier to control.
Lying Leg Curl Hips Neutral, Toes Straight and Pointed
NYC Personal Training
Physiqology is a personal training company based in New York City. We offer a sustainable system of personal fitness training through the seamless integration of exercise, flexibility training, diet and supplementation.