What Is The Difference Between Leg Curl Machines?
How many of BBCT’s leg curl machines have you used? Chances are pretty high that you’ve used at least one, if not all four. But whats the difference between them all? Does it matter which one you use? All good questions, but let’s start by identifying the four leg curl machines: seated, lying, kneeling, standing. Is there a difference? Short answer no. Long answer yes. All of the leg curl machines work the hamstring muscle group. The hamstrings are a group of 3 muscles on the back of the leg. The lateral hamstring – Biceps Femoris, the medial hamstring – Semimembranosus, and the one in the middle of the two – Semitendinosus.
The difference in machines boils down to the strength curve and what area of the range of motion is being stressed the greatest. The easiest variation is the seated leg curl as it hits the bottom range of the strength curve, lying hits more mid-range, kneeling and standing, the most advanced variations, both hit the top range. An easy way to think about the strength curve is think about where the movement is the hardest. For example, the hardest part of the seated leg curl is the very bottom. On the kneeling and standing leg curl, often it is easy in the beginning of the motion, but the top part becomes challenging.
Does it matter which machine you use? As noted above, each machine hits a different part of
the strength curve, so it is important to vary what machine is used. The goal should be to strive to have balanced strength throughout the entire strength curve in order to prevent muscle imbalances. In order to lift weights for longevity, program design needs to be customized to your abilities while working a logical progression.
Your trainer may often tell you to make sure you’re curling through the complete range of motion. Otherwise, your cutting yourself short for strength gains. Remember, strength is gained in the range it is trained!