How To

Seated Leg Curl


The seated leg curl is a popular isolation exercise that targets the hamstrings. When referring to a “pin loaded” machine, it means the machine uses weight stacks with a pin to select the desired weight, as opposed to plate-loaded machines where you manually add weight plates.

How to Do a Seated Leg Curl on a Pin Loaded Machine


  • Sit on the machine with your back firmly against the padded support.
  • Adjust the seat, if possible, so that the axis of the machine aligns with your knee joints.
  • Place your legs on top of the padded lever, ensuring the pad is just above your ankles.
  • Adjust the leg pad, if the machine allows, so it fits snugly against your lower legs.
  • Select the desired weight by inserting the pin into the weight stack.

Starting Position:

  • Grip the handles on the sides or front of the machine for stability.
  • Start with your legs fully extended in front of you.

Curling Phase:

  • Exhale and flex your knees, pulling the padded lever toward your glutes.
  • Curl as far as comfortably possible, ensuring a good contraction in the hamstrings.

Returning Phase:

  • Inhale and slowly return your legs to the starting position, ensuring a controlled movement.


  • Perform the desired number of repetitions.

Muscles Used

Primary Muscle:

Hamstrings: The group of muscles on the back of the thigh, consisting of the biceps femoris, semitendinosus, and semimembranosus.

Secondary Muscles:

Calves (Gastrocnemius): Assists in the flexion of the knee.

Benefits of the Seated Leg Curl

Targeted Hamstring Development: The seated leg curl isolates the hamstrings, making it an excellent exercise for targeting this muscle group.

Joint Health: Strengthening the hamstrings can provide better support for the knee joint, potentially reducing the risk of injuries.

Improved Posture and Balance: Strong hamstrings improve posture and enhance balance and stability.

Functional Strength: The hamstrings play a vital role in everyday activities like walking, running, and jumping.

Variety: The seated leg curl offers a different angle and tension compared to lying leg curls, adding diversity to leg workouts.

Common Mistakes

Using Excessive Weight: Too much weight can lead to poor form and potential knee strain.

Rushing the Movement: Ensure a controlled motion throughout the exercise to maximise muscle engagement and prevent momentum-based movements.

Incomplete Range of Motion: For maximum benefits, fully extend the legs at the start and curl them as far as comfortably possible during the contraction.

Lifting Off the Seat: Keep your thighs and glutes firmly on the seat throughout the movement.

The seated leg curl on a pin-loaded machine is a convenient and effective way to target the hamstrings. As with all exercises, proper form and technique are essential for safety and maximising benefits.

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