🔥 FOOT POSITION DURING HAMSTRING CURLS
🔥 The hamstring curl is a common exercise and most of us have tried different foot positions to see if we feel a difference. You may have noticed that when you dorsiflex (point your toes towards your shins) you feel you calf muscle more, while if you plantar flex (toes down) your knee begins to feel awkward. Does this position actually matter, and should you do one over the other?
👉🏻 The answer is no, it’s best to stay in a neutral position or actually have you feet dorsiflexed. The calf muscle (gastroc) is a weak knee flexor so one would think we want it working less If we want to isolate the hamstring? But when it is placed into active insufficiency meaning its plantar flexing the foot it can no longer act as much on the knee joint. That is not actually a good thing exactly by having the calf muscle disengaged it can no longer perform another duty which is knee stabilization. This is why the knee feels weird when you plantar flex.
On the other hand when we have the calf elongated through dorsi flexion we still can decrease its ability to generate force but through its isometric contraction it can still act on the knee as a stabilizer this is why it often feels better to have the foot flexed towards your shin. When looking at a study that compared hamstring activity in a similar exercise (Nordic hamstring curl) which theoretically should allow for greater force production from the calf because of the locked foot position we see that. We see that foot position does not impact the activation of the hamstrings.
📝Another possible reason to have the foot either in neutral or flexed is that when the knee feels unstable we may have the instinct to generate less force because our body feels it can lead to a possible injury that is just a thought however. Let me know what you guys think I the comments below.