- Thigh: Thigh flexor
(Musculus biceps femoris)
Lying Leg Curl is a suitable substitute for similar exercises in rear thigh training or as a supplement to various training plans.
Lying Leg Curl: Basics and alternatives
Involved main muscle groups:
Lying Leg Curl
Lying leg curls on a machine are likely the most effective exercise for targeting the back of your thighs. This exercise isolates the rear thigh muscles, providing a strong training stimulus. You’ll lie face down on the machine’s bench and curl your legs, which are secured under a leg pad, towards your butt.
However, the high isolation of this exercise can also be seen as a disadvantage, since the rest of your leg muscles aren’t engaged much. If you want to train your entire legs, compound exercises are the way to go.
This includes squats in different variations. Squats, particularly with added weight, place more demand on your cardiovascular system due to the involvement of more muscles. While this isn’t necessarily bad if you’re aiming for overall fitness, it can cause fatigue during longer workouts. Isolation exercises are generally more manageable in this regard. However, for beginners, compound exercises are usually better, as they promote more even muscle growth across multiple muscle groups.
For more advanced users, hanging leg curls are a useful alternative that also targets the core (rectus abdominis muscle).
Leg curl machines come in various designs. Some models have adjustable angles for the pads, while others are fixed. Handle positions can also differ slightly.
Machines with adjustable angles are preferable, as a greater range of motion is possible when the leg rests are inclined, which in turn enhances muscle stimulation.
Lie face down on the machine’s bench, positioning your hips where the angle between the upper body and thigh pads changes.
Place your legs under the leg pad, making sure it’s above your heel and below your lower legs. Adjust the pad if needed, typically using a lever along the leg pad.
Hold onto the handles with your hands to stabilize your upper body.
Curl your lower legs towards your butt, initiating the movement from your knees. Keep your hips and upper body stationary.
Continue the movement until you feel your pelvis losing support.
Lower the weight back down in a controlled manner, being careful not to fully extend your knees.
A common mistake with machine exercises is using too much weight. Choose a weight that keeps your hips firmly on the machine and doesn’t cause them to “lift off.” Also, ensure the weight is light enough for you to complete the full range of motion in a controlled manner without swinging.
Additionally, avoid fully extending your legs, as doing so may damage your knee joints.