If sitting on your butt all day was good for your health, most people would have a slim, trim body. Unfortunately, sitting for long periods can wreak havoc on your physique and result in a muscle imbalance. Your hamstrings can get weak, which affects the stability of your knees and opens you up to injuries. To combat this, include lying leg curls in your routine. This exercise effectively targets your hamstrings, and as long as you do it with perfect form, you can prevent injuries while getting toned, shapely hamstrings.
Prone Leg Curls on Machine
Adjust the pin in the weight stack of a leg curl machine to the desired resistance. Choose enough resistance so the last leg curl of each set is hard to complete.
Lay your torso, hips and thighs on the machine, grasp the handles with your hands and hook your heels under the roller pads.
Tighten your abdominal muscles to support your lower back. Slowly bend your knees past 90 degrees and bring your heels toward your buttocks. Hold the contraction in your hamstrings for one second at the top of the exercise. Avoid raising your hips and arching your back to create the motion -- keep your body on the machine's pads and focus on using your hamstrings.
Straighten your knees while slowly lower your feet to the starting point. Avoid dropping the weight -- resist gravity and control the motion. Do eight to 12 leg curls to complete one set. As your hamstrings get stronger, add one or two more sets.
Prone Leg Curls with a Cable
Select the desire weight in the weight stack of a low pulley station. Choose enough resistance so you can't do another leg curl with perfect form at the end of each set. Alternatively, use an exercise band with an ankle attachment.
Attach the cuff of a low pulley cable to your right ankle, lie face down on a mat in front of the apparatus and rest your chin on your hands in front of your body.
Tighten your abdominal muscles to support your lower back, bend your right knee and slowly raise your right heel toward your buttocks as far as you can without arching your back or raising your hips and thighs off the mat. Pause for one second at the top of the exercise, and squeeze your hamstrings.
Lower your foot slowly to the floor until your right knee is straight. Immediately start the next leg curl. Finish eight to 12 repetitions to complete one set, and as you get stronger, add one or two more sets. Switch sides and complete the exercise again with your left leg.
- Exhale as you raise the weight with your legs, and inhale as you lower it.
- Consult a doctor before starting a new workout routine, especially if you're new to exercise or have a health condition or injury.
Kimberly Caines is a well traveled model, writer and licensed physical fitness trainer who was first published in 1997. Her work has appeared in the Dutch newspaper "De Overschiese Krant" and on various websites. Caines holds a degree in journalism from Mercurius College in Holland and is writing her first novel.