Seated Hamstring Curl: Ultimate Guide to Strong Hamstrings

Also called the seated leg curl, the seated hamstring curl is an ideal exercise to increase the strength and size of your hamstrings.

This exercise will not only improve your lower body strength, it will also aid in preventing injuries and increase your performance when doing other workouts.

This article will go over everything you should learn about the seated hamstring curl.

The Seated Hamstring Curl: Working Muscles

The Primary Muscle Group

In light of its name, it’s obvious that the seated hamstring curl principally is a hamstring exercise.

The back of your leg is a muscle with four leg muscles from the hamstring. They are the biceps-femoris (a group comprised of two muscles: short and a short-headed head) and the semitendinosus. The semimembranosus.

When you do this exercise, you’ll notice a strong muscle contraction.

Secondary Muscle Group

While the seated hamstring curl is an exercise for isolation, this exercise can also engage your calves.

When you begin the exercise, the calves contract to start the curl.

Additionally, the glutes and hip muscles are activated to help your hamstrings.

The Seated Hamstring Curl: Benefits

The Seated Hamstring Curl Benefits

#1 Stronger And Larger Hamstrings That Are Bigger And Stronger

In contrast to other eccentric exercises for the seated hamstring curl focus on the exercise’s concentric part. Your hamstring muscles are stretched out.

This is why the seated hamstring curl could aid in building size more quickly, as it enhances hamstring hypertrophy.

With more muscle mass, your lower thigh will appear more well-defined. Still, you will also be able to improve your performance when lifting other weights like the barbell squat and deadlift.

#2 Reduced Risk Of Injury

Hamstring injuries are quite frequent. A torn or strained hamstring could take weeks to heal and impede your fitness level.

If done correctly, performing the seated hamstring curl will increase the strength of your hamstrings and enhance the mind-muscle-body connection in your lower body.

The seated hamstring curl can be an essential exercise to prevent injuries to the hamstrings and assist you in achieving the fitness targets you have set.

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#3 Hamstring Isolation

The majority of exercises for the lower body require hamstrings. However, very few of them isolate the hamstrings in addition to the leg curl that is seated.

Exercises to isolate can be vital for bodybuilders, athletes, or anyone who wants to focus on a specific muscle group.

For instance, if you notice that your quads are much larger than your hamstrings, you can utilize the seated hamstring curl to correct this imbalance.

In that regard, we’ll look into the specifics of this task.

The Seated Hamstring Curl: Instructions


To perform this exercise, you’ll require a leg-curl machine.


  • Sit on the machine with your legs extended. Foot pads must be just over your ankles.


  1. Engage your hamstrings to curl your pad all the way down.
  2. Take a break for a second, squeeze your hamstrings harder on the lower part, and return to the beginning position.
  3. Repeat!


If you’re unfamiliar with the seated hamstring curl, pick a lighter weight to start and do three sets between 12-18 repetitions.

If you feel more comfortable doing the exercise, add some weight and perform 10 repetitions for 3-4 sets.

The Seated Hamstring Curl: Mistakes

The Seated Hamstring Curl Mistakes

#1 Routing The Motion

The most frequent error in seated leg curls is speeding throughout the process. Many lifters will be prone to bending their weight downwards and letting it bounce back up extremely quickly.

This error can stifle your gains due to two reasons. The first is that you can eliminate the contraction of the hamstrings towards the beginning of every repetition. The second reason is that you dramatically cut down on time in tension.

While the seated hamstring curl is a good way to emphasize the concentric part of the workout, the eccentric part of the exercise should not be ignored.

To fix this mistake, ensure that you slowly return to your starting position to increase your gains and decrease your chance of injury.

#2 Affects Too A Lot Of Weight

Another error made in the seated hamstring curl is trying to do too much lifting.

If you notice your calves struggling to control their motion, You are probably putting on excessive weight.

In fact, the seated hamstring curl isn’t something that is a “natural” lift like a squat or a lunge. This is why it is not advisable to jump into it and put on the most weight you can to avoid injury.

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The hamstrings muscles actually respond better when you train at a high volume. To avoid this, concentrate on volume and control. Pick a lighter weight and build up by increasing the resistance with time.

The Seated Hamstring Curl: Variations

#1 Single Leg Seated Hamstring Curl

You may also do the seated leg curls unidirectionally. Just decrease the weight, let one leg rest, and finish each repetition with the same shape as regular standing leg curls.

#2 Lying Hamstring Curl

You can also do a hamstring curl using no weights or heavy equipment. All you require is a dumbbell!

Begin by lying down on your stomach and extending your legs in front of you. Your upper body will be supported by your forearms.

Set a dumbbell horizontally between your arches feet. After that, raise your legs until the dumbbell is about a few inches above the ground.

Engage your hamstrings and curl the dumbbell in your glutes. Press your hamstrings to the top and stop for a few seconds. Then slowly return to the beginning position and repeat!

#3 Standing Hamstring Curl

Are you uncomfortable sitting or sleeping on your stomach? Standing hamstring curls are ideal for you!

For the first step, you must assume an upright position and put one foot in front of the other, keeping your heel lifted off of the ground.

Engage your hamstring muscles to pull your trail foot to your buttocks. Slowly return to the beginning position, and repeat!

The Seated Hamstring Curl: Alternatives

If you liked the seated hamstring curl, take a look at these other exercises for your hamstring to boost your lower-body training

#1 Nordic Hamstring Curl

Begin by kneeling on both knees and keeping an upright back. Ensure your ankles are secured with an object, or let your partner keep the ankles. Tighten your glutes, hamstrings, and abdominal muscles.

Maintaining your back straight, slowly move forward until you are on the floor. It is important to note that most people are unable to control their move all the way to the floor. Move forward as hard as you can to fall, and stop yourself.

Press your hamstrings with your fingers to lift your body back to the starting position. You are free to lift yourself off the ground if you require an initial increase.

Make sure you squeeze your glutes and hamstrings with force at the top of your body to increase the force of contraction. Repeat!

#2 Glute Ham Raise

Place your feet in a firm position on the feet plate, allowing your calves to push on the hooks of your ankle. Your knees should be slightly in front or directly to the knee pad.

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Start by placing your upper body parallel to the floor. It should feel like you can draw a vertical line between your head and knees.

Intensify your glutes, hamstrings, and abdominal muscles. Slowly lower your body until it is level with the floor. Then, you can press your toes against the footplate, then raise your body with your hamstrings muscles (and some assistance with the glutes).

Make sure you squeeze your glutes and hamstrings with force at the top for a maximum contract. Gradually lower yourself and repeat!

#3 Dumbbell Romanian Deadlift

Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, and then hold the dumbbells while your palms face the inside. Get your body into a seated position, pull your shoulder blades closer and keep your chest up.

With the slightest bend on your knees, you can hinge at your waist while keeping straight back and lowering the weights to the ground. You should feel a strong stretching in your hamstrings as your hips turn forward.

Then, reverse the movement before returning to your standing position. Press your glutes. Stay tight in your core and continue!

Last Words

The seated hamstring curl is an excellent exercise for strengthening your back thigh muscles, which will reduce the risk of injuries. Be sure to avoid stretching your back during the exercise.

Speak to your doctor before starting a new exercise. If you’re suffering from a joint problem or recovering from an injury, they could suggest more secure alternatives.


  • Timothy P. Carnes

    Timothy P. Carnes is a certified personal trainer with a Bachelor's degree in Exercise Science from the University of Florida. With over 8 years of experience in the fitness industry, Timothy is an expert in strength and conditioning, body composition, and overall health and wellness. He also holds certifications in strength and conditioning through the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA) and corrective exercise through the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM). As an author at FitGAG, he shares his knowledge and expertise on a variety of topics, including strength training, body composition, and overall health and wellness tips. Timothy believes that consistency and discipline are the keys to achieving fitness goals, and he strives to inspire his readers to prioritize their fitness and wellness journey. Through his articles, Timothy aims to empower his readers to take control of their health, enhance their performance, and live their best lives.

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