Pulse Fitness Seated Leg Curl
At Completegyms, we are proud to offer you this selectorized seated leg curl from Pulse Fitness.
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How to Perform the Seated Leg Curl
A variation of the leg curl that places the exerciser in a seated position with their shins and knees locked between two adjustable pads, the seated leg curl is as simplistic and low impact as its lying counterpart.
To begin performing a set of seated leg curls, the exerciser must first adjust the two pads (as well as the seat) so that they remain stable and in contact with the exerciser’s legs throughout the repetition without limiting their range of motion by being too narrow.
Once properly adjusted, the exerciser will then squeeze the two handles at either side of their hips with their hands, brace their core, inhale, and draw their legs inwards, pulling their ankles backwards until they are nearly parallel with the knees vertically.
Squeezing their hamstrings and glutes at this point in the repetition, the exerciser will then proceed to the eccentric portion of the exercise, having already completed the concentric portion of the movement.
The exerciser will slowly allow the weight to raise their legs back to full extension – all the while maintaining a level of tension in their hamstrings and calves throughout this portion of the repetition.
Once the pads and the exerciser’s legs have returned to their original starting position, they have successfully completed a repetition of the seated leg curl, with subsequent repetitions in the set requiring that they simply repeat the motion once more.
Benefits of the Leg Curl
The leg curl, like many other exercises, can present a variety of benefits if performed in an appropriate manner and on a regular basis.
However, some of these benefits in particular are only truly applicable in the case of the leg curl or exercises similar to it, and as such it is these that are best focused upon when choosing the leg curl for its variety of beneficial effects.
1. Hamstring Isolation
Though the hamstrings are recruited to some degree in a large number of exercises, few exercises are as capable of isolating them as the leg curl itself – making it one of the only possible choices for bodybuilders and athletes seeking to induce a training stimulus in such a manner.
The capacity of an exercise to isolate the hamstrings is not unique to the leg curl, but it is considered one of the most easily accessible and simplistic exercises that can achieve such a feat, allowing it to be performed in practically any gym or by any individual of healthy bodily function.
2. Improved Flexibility
A common side effect of modern sedentary living is the shortening of the tendons connecting to the hamstring and the subsequent reduction in its available range of motion, something that is otherwise known as reduced flexibility.
The leg curl may help remedy this problem by inducing muscular hypertrophy and improving venous blood flow to the hamstring muscles, thereby allowing it to remain stable at a wider range of motion and reducing the risk of said hamstring muscles tearing or otherwise becoming damaged if overextended past their flexible range.
3. Injury Reduction and Lower Body Stability
As the hamstring muscles are responsible for the extension and flexion of the knee, as well as the adduction of the hips, reinforcement of said hamstring muscles and any associated connective tissues therein will have a marked reduction in the severity (or even incidence) of injuries sustained in those areas.
This is only further added to by the improvement in the relative static strength capacity of the glutes, hamstrings and calves – all of which make up part of a kinetic chain of muscle groups known as the posterior chain.
Leg curls directly improve and strengthen the stability of the posterior chain, allowing for significantly improved lower body stability and balance; thereby resulting in further reduced incidence of injury, both in and out of athletic activities.
4. Knee and Hip Joint Reinforcement
As previously mentioned in the last section of this article, the hamstring muscle and its connecting tendons are responsible for certain capacities of motion involving the knees and hips – with the most obvious result being a subsequent strengthening of said bodily structures, greatly improving their ability to function and withstand the rigors of daily usage.
As such, the leg curl is not only an excellent exercise for bodybuilders and athletes seeking to improve the appearance and function of their hamstrings, but also as a rehabilitory and preparatory exercise for physical therapy patients and recovering exercisers alike.
Common Mistakes of the Leg Curl and How to Avoid Them
Though the leg curl is relatively simplistic in the majority of its variations, certain mistakes are commonly encountered in concerns to the manner at which it is performed or the programming of the exercise itself.
Fortunately, these mistakes are quite easy to remedy, and may only require a small adjustment in the total amount of repetitions performed per set by the exerciser, or a minor adjustment in the positioning of the leg curl machine’s padding.
Regardless of the complexity behind these particular mistakes, it is important for the exerciser to remedy them as soon as possible – not only to avoid any injuries that may occur, but to also maximize the training stimulus they may develop with the leg curl.
Not a mistake solely reserved for the leg curl, the usage of rushed repetitions during the exercise is nonetheless one of the largest mistakes novice exercisers can make – sabotaging any training stimulus they may be attempting to induce and placing themselves at risk of connective and skeletal tissue injury.
A repetition of the leg curl should be performed in a slow and focused manner, with the exerciser directing their attention to the proper recruitment of the calves, hamstrings and glutes throughout the motion while avoiding the usage of any momentum whatsoever.
Insufficient or Excess Volume Utilization
Leg curls may provide insufficient training stimulus if performed in volumes of repetitions that are too low, while conversely providing the incorrect form of training stimulus when performed at volumes that are in excess of what is required in order to induce muscular hypertrophy.
This is due to the fact that excessive volume is usually an indicator of insufficient resistance utilization, shifting the resistance loading of the exercise and altering the muscular activation pattern involved therein.
When performing leg curls, the exerciser should choose to keep their volume of repetitions anywhere between 8 to 20 repetitions per set, with higher repetitions per set being best reserved for warm up or rehabilitory leg curl variations instead.
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