Cable Leg Curl Exercise Guide


Cable Leg Curl

Although cable leg curl isn’t performed very often, it can be extremely effective. Cable leg curl is more challenging because you have to stabilize your whole body – cable pulley machine does not support you in a fixed position. Although cable leg curl is typically done while standing, you can use the same motion while lying on a flat exercise bench.

How To Perform Cable Leg Curl

STARTING POSITION (SETUP): Stand next to a machine that has a floor-level pulley. Attach the strap (leather loop handle) to your lower leg just above the ankle. Hook the cable to the front of the strap. Step back a few feet and hold onto the machine. You can stand on a block with the nonworking leg so that your foot doesn’t hit the floor as you lower the weights.

Standing Cable Leg Curl

Standing Cable Leg Curl

MOVEMENT (ACTION): Flex your working leg at the knee, bringing your heel toward your buttocks. Maintain proper posture and balance. If necessary, hold onto something stable to keep your balance. Squeeze at the top and slowly lower the weight back down until your leg is almost fully extended (avoid letting the weight touch down to the stack).

Cable Leg Curl Additional Tips & Key Points

  • Be careful not to sway at the hips. Maintain proper posture throughout the exercise.
  • When curling the weight, you can lean slightly forward for leverage while holding on to the handle provided.
  • Keep your back straight until you reach the top of the motion, then arch your back slightly to lift the weight a few more inches.
  • Ensure that the knee of your moving leg points down so that your hamstring pulls your heel toward your glutes.


  • Lying Cable Leg Curl. Position the end of a bench 2,5-3 feet from the low pulley. Use an aerobic step or any other sturdy platform to raise the far end of the bench so it slants down toward the pulley. Attach the ankle straps to your ankles, then hook both straps to the pulley. Curl your heels as close as possible toward your rear end. You can do this one leg at a time so it requires only one ankle strap and makes it easier to get into position.
Lying Cable Leg Curl

Lying Cable Leg Curl

Muscles Engaged in Cable Leg Curl

  • Main muscles: biceps femoris (short head), hamstrings (semimembranosus, semitendinosus, long head of the biceps femoris)
  • Secondary muscles: gracilis, sartorius, gastrocnemius, popliteus
  • Antagonists: quadriceps

Cable Leg Curl Alternative Exercises

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