You are currently viewing How to Do a Leg Curl: Muscles Worked, Forms and Alternatives

How to Do a Leg Curl: Muscles Worked, Forms and Alternatives


the curly foot is a hamstring exercise, usually performed by a leg curl machine.

It’s unique among hamstring exercises because it trains your hamstrings through a full range of motion while being fully stretched, making them ideal for building muscle.

In this article, you will learn what the leg curl is, its benefits, which muscles work, how to do it in the right form, the best. seated leg curl alternativeand so on.

What is a Leg Curl?

The leg curl is a lower body exercise that primarily trains the hamstrings and involves bending your knees to bring your feet closer to your butt against resistance.

There are two main variations of the leg curl: The sitting cross-legged and the lying curled in the foot. You can do both with different pieces of equipment, although most people prefer to use one leg curl machine.

Seated Leg Curl vs. Lying Leg Curl: Which is Better?

The main difference between sitting cross-legged and the lying curled in the foot is how you position your body. To do a sitting cross-leggedsit up straight in a seated leg curl machine with your legs stretched out. To do lying curled in the footfall down on a false leg curl machine.

Although this difference may seem innocuous, it significantly changes how the exercise trains your hamstrings.

That’s because sitting up straight with your legs straight out in front of you puts your hamstrings in a fully stretched position, while lying down doesn’t. It is unique because RESEARCH REVEALS SHOWS that when it comes to building muscle, training a muscle while it is stretched is better than training it while it is relaxed.

And that’s it study show Doing seated leg curls leads to more muscle growth than doing lying hamstring curls. Thus, most people benefit more from the seated leg curl than the lying leg curl, so the seated leg curl is the difference we will focus on in this article.

That said, the lying leg curl is still an effective exercise. If you like the feel or it’s the only machine you can use, this is a viable alternative.

Find the Perfect Supplement for You in just 60 Seconds

You don’t need supplements to build muscle, lose fat, and get healthy. But the right one helps. Take this quiz to find out which one is best for you.

Take the Quiz

Foot curls: Benefits

The hamstrings there two main functions: knee flexion (bend your knees) and hip extension (moving your body away from your thighs).

One of the main benefits of the leg curl is that it trains knee flexion, something most other hamstring exercises (all forms of deadliftthe hip thrustand the glute bridgefor example) negligence.

Additionally, the seated leg curl exercises knee flexion while the three largest “parts” of the hamstrings—the long head of the biceps femoris, semitendinosusand semimembranosus –fully raised. This is especially effective for developing the areas of the hamstrings that have the greatest effect on the size of the upper leg.

Another benefit of the leg curl is that it allows you to train your hamstrings when your back is tired.

This is important because in most exercises that train the hamstrings, such as deadlift, Romanian deadliftand squatyour back muscles must work hard to keep your upper body in a stable and safe position.

If your lower body exercises Consisting only of free exercises like these, your back muscles (and especially your lower back muscles) will tire faster than your hamstrings. While your back may be sore after 6 sets of these exercises, your hamstrings may be able to handle a few more.

The leg curl is a helpful solution in this scenario. This allows you to train your hamstrings after frying your back, ensuring that you train your hammies with quantity they need to grow and become stronger without your lower back becoming a limiting factor.

For these reasons, I always include the leg hold in my own training and my fitness programs for men and women, Bigger Louder and Thinner stronger.

And if you want more specific advice about what exercises to include in your training program to reach your health and fitness goals, use Legion Strength Training Testand in less than a minute, you will know the perfect strength training program for you. Click here to check it out.

Find the Best Food for You in Just 60 Seconds

How many calories should you eat? What about “macros?” What foods should you eat? Take our 60-second quiz to get science-based answers to these questions and more.

Take the Quiz

Seated Leg Curl: Muscles Worked

The leg curl primarily trains the hamstrings, even though it is again trains the glutes and calves to a lesser degree, too.

Here’s how the main muscles that work in leg curls look like in your body:



Seated Leg Curl: Form

The best way to learn how to do leg curls is to divide the exercise into three parts: set up, curl, and extend.


Leg Curl before after


Step 1: Set up

Sit on seated leg curl machine so the back of your knees are a couple of inches from the pad that supports your thighs.

Adjust the heel pad so that it crosses your Achilles tendons, then grab the handles and pull yourself down so that your butt rests against the base of the seat and your back against the backrest.

Step 2: Curl

Without lifting your butt from the seat or leaning forward, push your heels toward your butt until your butt is almost perpendicular to your thighs (or closer).

Step 3: Extend

Once your buttocks are almost perpendicular to your thighs, straighten your knees and return to the starting position. Do not try to extend your knees slowly. The whole “extension” must be controlled but it only takes one second.

Here’s what it looks like when you put it all together:


Foot curl gif


Some Nutritionists Charge Hundreds of Dollars for This Diet “Hack” . . .

. . . and it’s yours for free. Take our 60-second quiz and find out how many calories you should be eating, what your “macro” needs are, what foods are best for you, and more.

Take the Quiz

The Best Seated Alternative Leg Curls

1. False Rock Curl

the lying curled in the foot trains the hamstrings similar to the seated leg curl. The only difference is the seated variation puts the hamstrings in a more stretched position, which is generally better for muscle growth. While the lying curled in the foot maybe not as effective as sitting cross-legged for developing your hamstrings, this is a very good one seated leg curl alternative if your gym doesn’t have a seated leg curl machine or if you’ve been doing the seated version for a while and want to mix up your training.

2. Nordic Leg Curl

Research SHOWS that the Nordic leg curl a fantasy body weight exercise for training your hamstrings, which can also be done reduced your risk of suffering a hamstring injury. Although it is not the same as the seated leg curl, you can use it as an alternative to sitting leg curl at home.

3. Dumbbell Leg Curl

the dumbbell leg curl similar to the lying leg curl, except you hold a dumbbell between your feet instead of using a leg curl machine. the dumbbell leg curl be a useful one seated leg curl alternative in a bind, but most people are not good at setting up and performing. So, this is not a variation I would recommend unless you don’t have access to a leg curl machine (while working at home or travel, for example).

4. Swiss Ball Leg Curl

The benefit of The Swiss ball leg curl so it requires less equipment and space to do. However, it is also difficult because it requires a lot of balance and coordination. Thus, the The Swiss ball leg curl It might not be the best choice for someone new to strength training, although it can be a good alternative for more experienced weightlifters who want to train at home.

The post How to Do a Leg Curl: Muscles Worked, Forms and Alternatives appeared first on Legion Athletics.


Leave a Reply