Lying leg curls is done with the help of a seated leg curls machine which is particularly the hamstrings. The machine is useful in opening up the hip angle which will prove beneficial in calf activation and more glute in lying leg curl. It helps in building up the size as well as strength in the hamstrings. It will also help the glutes and calves. People prefer and feel that lying leg curl position is way better and productive than seated leg curls. The machine provides an exceptional accessory movement for a muscular and powerful deadlift and squat.
LYING LEG CURLS BENEFITS
Hamstrings are a collection of muscles and form the tendons at the rear upper leg part. They extend till the backside of the thigh leg starting from knee joint including semimembranosus and biceps femoris. Hamstrings assist in mostly every physical activity such as walking or running. The parts that are included are majorly hip and knee joints.
Deadlift exercises focus on strengthening the hamstrings, quadriceps, lower back, and glutes. They support stability in bending and lifting movements. They are also called hypertension or stretch exercises but the lying leg curl exercises isolate hamstrings by involving knee flexion directly which makes it an impressive contraction exercise. A basic comparison between lying leg curl and deadlift exercises is that the former is more beneficial in working out lower hamstrings than the later. But on the other hand, it is advised that both should be performed to work every section of muscle in our body.
Another reason why lying leg curls are considered more vital is since it involves both the back and the front of the leg. This will prevent serious muscle tear injuries as it ensures that equal attention is paid to both sides of the joints so that it does not lead to muscle imbalance causing injury.
LYING LEG CURLS DISADVANTAGES
A major disadvantage of lying leg curl exercises is that they are done on specific machines only which are found only in gyms as they are pretty expensive and large too. It is also been said that machines are criticized by the majority of gym trainers as they only provide specific benefits to our bodies. They suggest that free weights are more effective in comparison to machines as functional exercise which promotes an overall movement is more beneficial in real-world activities. For instance, in our daily lives, we generally do lunge and squat regularly while playing sports or cycling, etc. We naturally do squat and lunge during our day but it would be much of a task if you were told to lie on your stomach and flex your hamstrings, so functional exercises are advocated as a general way of lifestyle than leg curls exercises.
But it should not be forgotten that it is the most effective if you seriously want to focus on leg curls. It is also advised that however basic free weights exercises might be good for sports training but it should be adopted with lying leg curl machines to acquire most benefits.
HOW TO DO LYING LEG CURLS
First, you need to adjust the machine to your height and it should be noted that your knees should be slightly on the bench and leg extended. Hold the grip tightly and face down. Then lock your heels under the rolls and try to pull the curls up as high as possible by using your hamstrings. Exhale when your pull-up the curls and inhale while lowering them down. It is very important to maintain a proper position on a curl machine as an incorrect position might ripe off or cause harm to thigh muscles.
The machine has a pad adjustment system to support people with different heights and lengths. Before performing this exercise, the machine should be adjusted according to your body so that it can be used comfortably. It should be adjusted in a way that the curls are placed at a perfect position which is slightly below the calves but above the Achilles (it is also known as heel cord or calcaneal tendon and is the thickest tendon in our body). If the curls are not placed at a correct position then it might feel uncomfortable to your body after certain reps.
This type of exercise should be followed with a strict and correct body form which would mean that speed and movement should both be controlled by hamstrings. It should be noted while performing lying leg curl that you might be using momentum or hip energy to pull up the curl same as in case of barbell curl for biceps which would be harmful to your lower back as you would feel extreme heavyweight due to misunderstood position. Exercise consciously by keeping it under control and slowly repeating the process, contacting, putting strength and squeezing your hamstrings at the top. Follow the basic exercise rules which state that slowly increase your speed, frequency and time of your reps.
LYING LEG CURLS AT HOME
Lying leg curl exercises are to strengthen your hamstrings so there are a varied number of exercises which you can perform at home with or without equipment
BENT LEG LIFTS
- Maintain a donkey or quadrupeds’ position by placing both your palms and knees on the ground.
- Lift your leg slightly in the air then return to the rest position so that your glute can feel a contraction.
- Your leg should remain bent at the knee to maintain tension on hamstrings
- You need not hold the knee for a longer time at the top, so keep the movement brief throughout the exercise and do it for around 20- 25 times.
- Maintain a squat position at the start by keeping your spine chest up
- Then keeping the hip at a full flex with both legs extended at a normal distance
- Keep your palms under the toes and then sit on your knee
- While performing just do a full extension or as much your hamstrings can cope up with.
- It is similar to paschimottanasana in yoga but the only difference is that you have to sit on in a squat position instead of standing start.
HAMSTRINGS WALK OUTS
- Maintain a glute bridge position by lying on your back with bend knees and feet on the ground.
- Pull up your hip into a full extension
- You need to maintain a specific position with keeping only your upper back on the floor and lower back slightly held up.
- Keep your hands on the chest in a resting position and your head comfortably on the floor.
- Then try taking small steps and walk with the help of your heels till you reach the endpoint but note to not stretch your legs to full extension.
- Then return to the original position by taking small steps and creating tension on hamstrings.
LYING LEG CURLS AT HOME WITH OTHER EQUIPMENTS
There are many types of equipment that can be used in place of curl machine which will not only target the hamstrings but also the abs, quads, entire posterior chain, calves, and core. So, the people who cannot afford lying leg curl machine can buy other equipment such as
1. Swiss Ball
- Maintain a supine position by placing your toes on the swiss ball and keeping your lower back and hip slightly in the air
- Keep your upper back and head comfortably on the floor and your hand on your waist.
- Drive your hips up and to give a grace to the core and contact my glutes
- Then slowly extend your legs out and then curl back to the rest position by putting tension on hamstrings
- Lie on your stomach and put the dumbbells secured with the help of both of your ankles
- Pull the dumbbells up straight above your knees and then return to the rest position after 20 seconds
3. Towel slide
- Maintain a supine position and keep your lower back and hip slightly in air and upper part and head lying straight on the ground
- Keep your heels on the towel slide and then extend your legs till the end
- It would be better if the floor is slippery which will provide the slide to work effectively.
4. Kettlebell swing
- Maintain a partial squat position and then swing the kettlebell swing between your legs
- Remember that the wing should not go higher than your shoulder height.
If you are using lying leg curls machine, it should be advised that you use them with utter diligence. Try to maintain a correct posture while performing them. It shall also be noted that lying leg exercise with other equipment or no equipment will be effective in the long run and after a considerable amount of time but lying leg curl machine is the best option if you are looking for strict hamstring exercise.
- Leg curls are better for people with back pain issues also it seated leg curls which include squats are also part of our daily natural routine.
Shall be noted that non-machine leg curls will not help you strengthen your knees or cure knee pain instead will add thickness to hamstrings. The main purpose is to strengthen the hamstrings as when they contract it helps stabilize the knee while doing squats and also prevent unnecessary anterior forces during knee extension which helps prevent any sort of knee injury or pain and increases the lower body movements.