T Nation

Differences in Curls


I'm new, and I might need to have anatomy explained to me, but anyway... When talking about arm strength development the general consensus is that doing curls (of any sort: bar, dumbbell, hammer, etc etc) is "alright". But when it comes to leg training as soon as leg curls (for the hamstrings) are brought up people seem to want to burn down a small village. I am trying to figure out why the difference in opinion?


Think of it this way, how often do you pick things up with your arms in a curling or similar motion? How about your legs? I think the fact that the legs are fixed/grounded in most force directing movement and the hands are free mostly explains this.

I am not saying that leg curls are useless, just that the benefits of doing a motion closer to how your body actually moves and directs force is likely to have a better effect. Leg curls generally lack the contraction of the glutes and spinal erector muscles to the degree that they occur in life or in other exercises that target the hip thrusting movements.

Certainly in cases such as bodybuilding of rehab/injury prevention an argument can be made for their use, but with more benefits from movement patterns like deadlift and squat variations (including single leg variants), it is harder to justify their use on a frequent or voluminous basis.

As for biceps, they also respond quite well to chin ups and dumbbell rowing, so an argument can be made against their over-popularity, but alas is lost on the bench and biceps crowd.

If it works well for you, do it, who cares what some chucklehead thinks. You know what they say about opinions and assholes.


I'm not familiar with these types of people. Leg curl is an exercise to stimulate the muscle. One of the more safer hamstring exercises that does not put your lower back at risk for injury.


Who are these people and what do their arms and legs look like?

As was said, leg curls are really the only option for specifically targeting the hamstrings in isolation, which can be important for joint health and strength and appearance (especially when done in addition to "compound" lifts like Romanian deads or glute-ham raises).

Arm curls are another essential exercise for elbow health, upper body strength, and aesthetics. Extremist thinking - "never do this or always do that" - isn't usually applicable to most peoples' goals.


I like hamstring curls because they help me build a mind-body connection with my hamstrings in a way that RDLs do not. I like Colucci's statement that "never say never" is a good principle for lifting.


good god no. leg curls (in a machine), as well as extensions, are horrible for the knees. but i know if anyone wants to be a bodybuilder that this will be ignored if not knocked.


Why don't you jump in another thread and preach the horrors of direct ab work.. squats and deadlifts are enough, right? lol


lol kewl


As it should be because its bullshit to the highest degree. There are good and bad ways to execute any exercise but youre clearly too ignorant to realizr that.

And isnt it funny how guys coming off acl tear surgery do BOTH leg curls ans extensions to rehab the knee joint. Goddamn, blankets statements are never ever correct when it comes to weight lifting.


Your hamstring is the closest muscle to the function of your biceps. Do you also think doing biceps curls should be avoided?

Since when did isolation exercises become this damned dangerous?


Lets see the awesome wheels youve built without some isolation movements?