What Is The Difference Between Leg Curl Machines?
How many of BBCT’s leg curl machines have you used? Chances are pretty hgh that you’ve used at least one, if not all four. What is the difference between them? Let’s start by identifying the four leg curl machines: seated, lying, keeling and 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 muscle in the middle – Semitendinosus. Changing foot positions from in, neutral and toes pointing out will allow specificity in recruiting the hamstring of choice. Ex. toes in = Semimembranosus, toes neutral = Semitendinosus, toes out = Biceps Femoris. Regardless of the foot positions, all hamstring muscles are working during a leg curl exercise. However, knowing the above we can put greater stress on the hamstrings that are lacking strength.
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. This machine hits the bottom range of the strength curve. The lying leg curl machine hit the midrange. The kneeling and standing machines are the most advanced variations, both hitting the top range of the strength curve. An easy way to think about the strength curve is to think about where the movement is the hardest. For example, the hardest part of the seated leg curl is the very bottom. The kneeling and standing leg curl are easy in the beginning of the motion but become challenging towards the top.
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 which machine is used. The goal should be to have balanced strength throughout the entire strength curve in order to prevent muscle imbalances. When lifting 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 are curling through the complete range of motion. Otherwise you are cutting yourself short for strength gains. Remember, strength is gained in the range it is trained!