Lying Leg curl Woman

Hamstring Curl 101 – Optimal Exercise Execution

Hamstring Curls are a crucial exercise to have in your routines as they train the hamstring in knee flexion (bending the knee). Imbalances in this portion of the muscle are a known contributor to knee pain, especially when running! In this article we will review

  • Anatomy & function
  • How to execute the top hamstring curl exercises
  • Common errors & considerations

Anatomy

HAMSTRING ANATOMY LINK INTEGRATED HEALTH

There are 3 muscles that make up the hamstring group. From lateral to medial they are Bicep Femoris, Semitendinosus

and Semimembranosus. It is important to note that the Bicep Femoris is the only hamstring muscle to have two heads (short and long) with the short head ON

LY flexing the knee and not the hip. The Bicep Femoris also laterally rotates the knee (tibia) when the knee is flexed, this is important to know during squatting, running as many injuries occur due to imbalances.

Seated Hamstring Curl

This exercise works the hamstring in the most stretched position of knee flexion, as the hip is in a flexed. This exercise is very beneficial for improving low back pain.

Key Points

  • Check active range of motion and don’t let the machine pull you out of keeping tension
  • If you are more flexible, lean forward at the hip in increase the stretch on your hamstrings
  • Ensure your pelvis is locked into place and you brace to create stability
  • Stop 10 degrees short of fully straightening the legs as the hamstrings loose their line of pull and the calves will initiate.
  • Spend time in the top of the range of motion, under tension of course!

Lying Hamstring Curl

This exercise works the hamstring in the mid-range of knee flexion, as the hip is slightly flexed. The benefit to this machine is you can extend your body to emphasize the shortened range as well as the traditional mid-range.

Key Points

  • Push quad/hips into the pad to create stability
  • Ensure your lumbar spine is not moving by contracting the glutes
  • Focus on pulling your hamstring from your knee up to your hip, don’t worry about the pad
  • Stop 10 degrees short of fully straightening the legs as the hamstrings loose their line of pull and the calves will initiate.
  • Spend time in the top of the range of motion, under tension of course!

Standing Hamstring Curl

This exercise works the hamstring in the short range of knee flexion, as the hip is in extension. This machine is not common in many commercial gyms, but is important in overall knee stability and low back health. By being able to train hamstrings in the short position, you are able to target the weakest area of the hamstring!

Key Points

  • Push quad/hips into the pad to create stability
  • Ensure your lumbar spine is not moving by contracting the glutes
  • Focus on pulling your hamstring from your knee up to your hip, do not try to get the pad to your butt as maximum tension is created slightly above 90 degrees of knee flexion
  • Stop 10 degrees short of fully straightening the legs as the hamstrings loose their line of pull and the calves will initiate.
  • Spend time in the top of the range of motion, under tension of course!

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