Leg curls can be a good exercise but you still have to do the right amounts of reps and sets to see results. Find out what these are.
Exactly what the numbers should look like depends on details like your training goals, time available, and strength level. That being said, there are some helpful general recommendations.
To grow your hamstring muscles, you should do around 3 to 6 sets of 6 to 25 leg curls per workout.
Next, to improve strength in your hamstring muscles you want to do around 4 to 8 sets of 5 leg curls per workout.
Lastly, you should do around 3 to 6 sets of 25+ leg curls where you don’t push to failure to improve hamstring muscle endurance.
Something to keep in mind is that these reps and sets are for theoretical workouts where you would only do leg curls. In combination with other hamstring exercises, the recommended amounts can look different.
How many reps of leg curls you should do
Something to keep in mind is that the way you do resistance training exercises influences what fitness component you focus on.
For example, leg curls can make your legs bigger but to do this you want to implement the reps and weights for muscle hypertrophy.
Similarly, improving hamstring endurance would require a different training style.
In terms of more specific numbers, you should do somewhere between 6 to 25 leg curls per set if you want to grow your hamstring muscles.
More volume (weight lifted per week) (so the higher ends of this range) tends to be better for this goal but does require more time.
Secondly, you want to do 5 heavy leg curls per set to improve hamstring muscle strength. Since lower-repetition sets tend to be easier to recover from, you could also do more sets than in hypertrophy workouts.
Lastly, to improve hamstring muscle endurance, you would do sets with 25+ leg curls where you don’t push to failure.
How heavy should your leg curls be?
Another important detail in these amounts of repetitions is how much weight you should put on your leg curl weight bench or machine.
In the hamstring muscle growth and strength increase sets, you want to use a weight where you can barely complete the rep ranges.
If you want to grow your hamstring muscles and train them relatively often, you can also use a weight where you still have a few repetitions in the tank to recover more quickly.
Lastly, in hamstring endurance workouts, you want to use a weight that is challenging. However, you still want to be able to reach 25+ reps while staying away from failure.
How many sets of leg curls you should do
How many sets of leg curls you should do also depends on the other exercises in your workouts.
Something like deadlifts does focus on a different part of your hamstrings. However, if you just did 6 sets of this exercise, you will likely need fewer sets of leg curls than someone who only does this isolation movement.
That being said, let’s say you do workouts that only include leg curls.
In that case, you would want to do around 3 to 6 sets of leg curls for muscle growth and hamstring endurance.
With the shorter sets to train hamstring strength, you want to aim more toward 4 to 8 sets of leg curls.
The exact numbers will depend on your training goals, experience level, time available, workouts a week, etc.
For example, resistance training beginners can already achieve great hamstring growth results with only 6 serious sets of hamstring curls a week.
Is 8 sets enough for hamstrings?
For many people, 8 sets of hamstring exercises per workout will be more than enough to see great muscle growth and strength progress.