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Thread: Leg curls; seated vs prone

  1. #1
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    Default Leg curls; seated vs prone

    I heard a trainer tell his client today to never do leg curls on the seated leg curl. His client asked why and he responded by telling him that it "doesn't work as well. If you try both, you can tell the prone works better".

    The machines are obviously going to "feel" different as you use them. What do you guys think of there effectiveness? I'd really like to know your reasons why too.

  2. #2

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    Quote Originally Posted by gpack28 View Post
    I heard a trainer tell his client today to never do leg curls on the seated leg curl. His client asked why and he responded by telling him that it "doesn't work as well. If you try both, you can tell the prone works better".

    The machines are obviously going to "feel" different as you use them. What do you guys think of there effectiveness? I'd really like to know your reasons why too.

    I do both, but never in the same scheme. I will do seated until I stop progressing then replace them with lying. I'm personally beginning to despise either and would much rather just stick with deadlifts, but I can't get over my OCD of not having a leg curling motion in there... as sad as I am to admit it.

    The seated motion is much easier on your back and there is virtually no chance of ****rextending you knee, which would make it safer IMO.

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  3. #3
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    Yes I do both and at times in the same workout, Tell you what though "stiff leg dead lefts" are the ones man. VO is right about the lower back we all use our spinal erectors in that movement, I think that seated leg curl is the best.
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  4. #4
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    I do squats,dl and leg press. Whats this leg curl stuff?

  5. #5
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    I love me some stiff leg dl's. It's weird though b/c when I do them it doesn't "feel" like I'm working them very hard, but the next couple days they are always sore as hell.

    I personally like both exercises and do both quite often. Sometimes in the same routine, sometimes I choose one over the other. I think it's good to mix them.

    You're going to have to use your spinal erectors no matter what on a prone leg curl. The question is, are they doing most of the lift for you? This can cause an isometric contraction of the hamstring through some of the lift. A forward pelvic tilt combined with knee flexion = no concentric hamstring contraction. I find people do this mostly b/c the weights are too damn heavy. I also try to prevent this by slightly (and I mean slightly) lifting my knees up off the pad during the concentric phase and then focusing on letting the input pad "out" rather than down. This keeps the knees stationary and the pelvis from moving. The seated leg curl helps prevent this already b/c it plants your leg in one spot. I don't know how there is "virtually no chance of ****rextending (why does h-y-p-e always get replace with asterisks?) your knee" though. Wouldn't this depend of where the input pad is set vs the pad that sits above your knee? The mechanics here are virtually the same on each machine.

    I think the bigger deal on these machines is making sure your knee is lined up properly with the axis of the machine!
    Last edited by gpack28; 04-21-2009 at 03:48 AM. Reason: mispelled words

  6. #6

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    Maybe from the trainers perspesctive he meant that doing leg curls (lying, seated or standing) merely target certain muscles in the quads and hammies and are more isolating manuevers vs doing a stiff leg dead lift which is more of a compound movement that targets more muscles in your body. Functional exercises are far more important than isolation and really there is no comparison. Personally, I prefer performing still leg dead lifts over leg curls mainly because I feel I have better control in my range of motion when I execute the exercise. Plus over time my knees start feeling shot from the stress and tension that gets placed on my joints when using the machines.

    Ultimately, I think if you are really recruiting your hamstrings well during other exercises (sldl, good mornings, squats), you won't miss doing the leg curls that is unless your looking to add in a little more variety to your workout.

  7. #7
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    Variety is always good as far as I'm concerned. I think the trainer was just being a dumbass and didn't really know what he was talking about. I love mechanics and equipment analysis and, mechanically, there is nothing wrong with either of these exercises. You just have to know how to use them properly.

    What do you consider "functional" exercises? Anything multi-joint? Simulation training? I have a hard time with calling exercises functional. I prefer the word "transfer" because some exercises that look nothing like what you are training for can be beneficial. For instance, there's a study by Wayne Wescott that showed doing leg ext.'s actually improved a golfers ability to drive a ball! So, there was some sort of transfer there but it isn't generally considered a functional exercise. Just because an exercise is multi-joint or simulates a sport or daily life doesn't necassarily make it effective. Also, doing a single joint exercise can be beneficial to making a kinetic chain (multi-joint movement) work better. For example, if your knee flexion sucks, good luck doing a squat. A kinetic chain is simply a bunch of single joints working together. If one doesn't work, the whole chain sucks. So you have to first get the "weak link" better before you can train the chain effectively. (sorry, I'm ranting)

    To address your ROM concern...when using a leg curl machine, or any machine for that matter, you should have complete control over your range of motion (that is unless your equipt. is very old and there are no adjustments. But even then, you still have control over how far you move). So, I don't understand what you are saying there. If your joints start to feel shitty b/c of the machine, I'm guessing you are not lining up your joints properly with the axis of the machine. But it would be hard to say without watching how you use them.
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