When it comes to leg workouts, the focus is often on the quadriceps and the glutes, leaving the hamstrings as the unsung heroes of the lower body. However, a recent study has shed new light on hamstring training, revealing that seated hamstring curls might be more effective at developing strong and defined hamstrings compared to their lying counterpart. In this blog post, we'll dive into the research and explore the reasons behind this surprising discovery.
The study in question sought to compare the impact of seated versus prone leg curl training on hamstrings muscle hypertrophy and susceptibility to eccentric exercise-induced muscle damage. To do this, a group of healthy adults was divided into two training groups: one that performed seated leg curl training and the other that performed prone leg curl training. Here's a breakdown of the study's methodology and findings:
Seated Hamstring Curls
Seated hamstring curls are typically performed using a specialized machine that requires you to sit upright and curl your legs against resistance pads. This exercise primarily targets the hamstrings, focusing on the biceps femoris, semitendinosus, and semimembranosus muscles.
Lying Hamstring Curls
Lying hamstring curls, on the other hand, involve lying face down on a bench or dedicated machine and curling your legs against resistance. This exercise also targets the hamstrings but engages other muscles to a lesser extent.
- The study's conclusion revealed that seated leg curl training is more effective in increasing hamstrings muscle size than prone leg curl training.
- This suggests that training at longer muscle lengths, as achieved in seated leg curls, promotes muscle hypertrophy.
- Importantly, both seated and prone leg curls were found to be equally effective in reducing susceptibility to muscle damage.
Benefits of Seated Hamstring Curls
Now that we have a better understanding of the study's findings, let's explore the benefits of incorporating seated hamstring curls into your workout routine:
Enhanced Muscle Hypertrophy: Seated hamstring curls have been shown to be particularly effective in increasing muscle size, especially in the hamstrings. This is essential for those aiming to achieve well-defined leg muscles.
Improved Muscle Strength: By engaging in seated hamstring curls, you not only work on muscle size but also enhance muscle strength. This can lead to better performance in various sports and daily activities.
Injury Prevention: Both seated and prone leg curls were found to reduce susceptibility to muscle damage. This can be especially crucial for athletes and fitness enthusiasts who want to minimize the risk of injuries during their training sessions.
Versatility: Seated hamstring curls can be performed using various equipment, including machines and resistance bands. This versatility allows individuals to adapt the exercise to their fitness level and available resources.
Maeo S, Huang M, Wu Y, Sakurai H, Kusagawa Y, Sugiyama T, Kanehisa H, Isaka T. Greater Hamstrings Muscle Hypertrophy but Similar Damage Protection after Training at Long versus Short Muscle Lengths. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2021 Apr 1;53(4):825-837. doi: 10.1249/MSS.0000000000002523. PMID: 33009197; PMCID: PMC7969179.