The seated leg curl is a simple hamstring exercise.
Many gyms have both a seated leg curl and a lying leg curl, and both exercises can be effective for strengthening the back of the thigh.
Below are pictures of the seated leg curl.
Starting Position: Simply begin by adjusting the seat so that your knee lines up with the pivot point identified on the machine. Then, adjust the leg pad so that it is comfortable at the back of the lower calf.
Form: Exhale and bend your knees so that your heels move towards your butt. Hold for a brief second and then slowly return to the starting position.
Personal Trainer Tips: Make sure to maintain good alignment in your ankles and hips.
Move in a slow and controlled manner, and keep your core muscles engaged so that your pelvis and lower back are stable.
The big difference between the seated leg curl and the prone leg curl is the position of the hips. In the seated leg curl your hips are bent (flexed); however, in the lying leg curl your hips are straight (slightly extended).
When the hips are bent, you will have a little more leverage, so you will likely find that you can lift more weight during the seated leg curl.
Also, because you have less leverage during the lying leg curl, it is more likely that you will cheat or compensate by moving the lower back during the lying leg curl.
Try out both exercises and choose the one that you like best. They both work the hamstrings and both strengthen the back of the thigh.
Yours in Health,
Dr. Charles PT/PT