Hitting the Inner and Outer Hamstrings With Leg Curls

Turning your feet in or out as you do the leg curl affects different areas of the hamstrings.

Turning your toes out as you curl up will hit the outer area (semitendinosus and semimembranosus) while angling your toes in as you curl up will hit the inner area (biceps femoris and adductors).

You can tell which you need to work on by noticing which way your toes tend to point as you go to failure on leg curls. If your toes tend to point in, your inner hamstrings are stronger and you should work more on your outer hamstrings.

If your toes tend to point out, your outer hamstrings are stronger you need to work on your inner hamstrings. This will ensure hamstring balance and help prevent imbalance injuries, especially if you're involved in sports that require sprinting and fast, powerful movements.

The turning of your feet as explained previously can be done a few ways. It can be done at the start of the rep and held, it can be done during the positive phase of the rep or during the negative phase of the rep, or both. This is kind of like supinating your feet (like your supinating forearms in dumbbell curls) to get an extra contraction.

To hit the inner hamstrings, start with your toes splayed out wide (your toes will be flexed, not pointed). As you curl up, internally rotate at the hip joint so your toes point inward at the top.

Working the Inner Hamstrings

Do the opposite motion (start pointing in and finish pointing out) to hit the outer hamstrings hard at the top. The movement require a little practice to get comfortable with so start with a light weight the first time you use them.

Working the Inner Hamstrings

These rotational movements can be done all focused either on one type of rotation only (e.g. do one set with reps rotating inward or outward) or the movements can also alternated with each rep.

For example, do one rep for inner hamstrings starting with toes wide then turn them in, lower the weight toes in, then do a rep for outer hamstrings (your toes are already in the toes-in start position), lower the weight with toes wide, repeat.

Learn how to perform regular Leg Curls here.

 

 


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