T Nation

Leg Curls - Why Do My Calves Lock Up?

So, following my squat and lunge work, I moved on over to the leg curl machine… yeah, I know, leg curls…

For my first few sets, I felt a slight tightening in my calves on the concentric portion of my curl. Consequently, on my final sets, my calves were locking up so hard that I was almost unable to do the exercise at all.

Any ideas of why this is occuring? Do I need to incorporate more calve stretching? Or is it something else?

Because your gastroc crosses the knee joint. Try going a tad lighter and pointing your toes.

You mean pointing them back toward you shins rather than just pointing outward right??? I would tend to think that pointing the toes toward the shins would take quite a bit of the calf out of the movement.
Worker

No, point the toes by extending them. In other words, you should be leg curling while your toes are in the final position of a calf raise. Opposite of toward the shins.

As mertdawg said, the gastrocs attach above the knee joint, so when you leg curl you want to lessen the tension in the gastrocs, placing the stress on the hams. Otherwise you would be using the gastrocs to assist your leg curl.

A better over-all posterior chain develper is the glute-ham raise, pull thru, or hip extention machine. When performing either of these the gastrocs might come into play a bit as well, but I feel they load the hams in a more functional manner and lead to better growth. At the same time, I do throw in some curls if I need to take it easy on my erectors (lower back).

TS

Actually, I’ve put a lot of thought into pull-throughs… but I can’t really figure out how to do them correctly. I can read descriptions… but once I get to the gym, I always feel awkward and like I’m not doing them correctly.

On top of that, the last time I tried to perform them, some “personal trainer” (haha) from the YMCA started bugging me about them… he said that they didn’t do anything (he also told me to stick to machines for lower body because freeweights took too long to set up) The sad thing is… I know he has no clue what he’s talking about… but I couldn’t perform the pull-throughs correctly so I couldn’t even attempt to prove him wrong.

Oh yeah, Mr. YMCA Personal Trainer also told me that low-pulley donkey kicks would be a more suitable exercise for me.

This is why I wanna learn clean and jerk. I want to clean and jerk all these idiot trainers out the gym window.

[quote]monkm wrote:
Oh yeah, Mr. YMCA Personal Trainer also told me that low-pulley donkey kicks would be a more suitable exercise for me.[/quote]

This guy is doing to the personal training industry what crack did to black on black crime! By spreading that garbage he is actually doing more harm than good. It’d be better for a trainee to hit a workout out of Flex magazine than get advice from people like this. Sad thing is that he probably learned that from another so-called personal trainer. It’s kind of like how the welfare system gets passed from one generation to the next - no individual is totally at fault because it’s a highly systemic problem.

TS