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Articles Fitness Nutrition

An Introduction to the Hamstring Curl Machine

The hamstring curl machine is a piece of exercise and fitness equipment that is meant to target and work out the hamstrings and the legs. It is a very common piece of exercise equipment that you should have no trouble finding in many gyms, exercise facilities and even on the floor of exercise equipment stores. Though the purpose of the hamstring curl machine is to strengthen the hamstrings, there is some controversy about the machine's effectiveness in doing so. Critics say that the machine forces the hips to stay in place while it bends the hamstrings, which, however, also function to extend the hip. This dysfunction is sometimes cited as an oxymoron of this machine.

Body Parts that Are Targeted

The hamstring curl machine exists to work out your hamstring. When it does so, by extension, it also works to exercise your hip, or at least theoretically, it ought to work out your hip. However, your hip remains in a fixed position in this machine. Simply toning your legs is another function of this machine. The hamstring curl machine may be of benefit to both bodybuilders and athletes who are seeking an advantage in their respective fields of competition.

Proper Use of the Hamstring Curl Machine

If you want to use the hamstring curl machine in a way that will give you optimal results, you have to use it correctly. Make sure the machine is comfortable for you when you get on it. You ought to have great support on your back, and your legs ought to hang freely. Be careful to choose a moderate weight that won't tire you out needlessly, and will also ensure a workout that will effectively strengthen your hamstrings. Place your legs under the machine's lift apparatus, and as you do, be mindful of the need for your hips to always stay firmly seated and your back to rest against the back support. As you lift your legs, be sure to breathe, and don't interlock your legs, because this will increase your risk of hurting yourself. After you have lifted your legs as far as they will go, lower them again into their starting position. An important precaution is to never let the machine's plates touch. If you do let them, you're cheating because gravity will be doing the workout for you, not your legs.

Types of Exercises

Exercises vary according to the type of hamstring curl machine. For instance, with a lying hamstring curl machine, you can hook your ankles under a padded bar as you're flat on your stomach on the machine's bench. As you hold the hand grips, be sure to rest your forehead on the bench to avoid injury. Once in this position, bring your heels up towards your rear through a controlled action without any jerking motions. With this exercise, you should also notice the padded bar moving freely between your calves and your Achilles heel.

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