Are you curious about the inverse leg curl machine?
Do you wonder how to use Louie Simmons’ favorite hamstrings exercise to blow up your squat and deadlift?
Then you’ve come to the right place.
In this comprehensive guide, I will show you how to use the inverse leg curl machine to take your powerlifting total to the next level!
- Part 1: The Inverse Leg Curl
- Part 2: Exercise Variations
- Part 3: Sample Workouts
The inverse leg curl machine was invented by the powerlifting coach Louie Simmons. This machine lets you train the hamstrings as knee flexors and hip extensors at the same time for superior results.
Here is where you can purchase your own: the Rogue Fitness inverse leg curl machine.
Here is a perfect demonstration of this machine:
The Inverse Leg Curl Machine Demonstration
This exercise is called an “inverse leg curl” because it is the total opposite of a regular leg curl. Instead of curling your heels towards your butt you are curling your entire body back towards your heels!
Louie Simmons says this machine is even more effective than the glute ham raise for building big, strong hamstrings. Check it out:
“It’s an improved version of the glute ham raise. It is the single greatest hamstrings exercise that you can perform.”
The inverse leg curl machine is so effective because it helps you lift yourself up out of the bottom position of the exercise. The machine lets you perform the exercise with perfect form no matter how strong or weak you are because you can adjust how much it helps you.
The problem with other hamstrings exercises like the glute ham raise is they are very difficult to perform with proper form.
Here is Louie Simmons talking about this problem:
“Everyone cheats on the glute ham raise. Just watch – they’ll slide their knees up or down, they’ll find a way to cheat.”
The inverse leg curl locks your legs into position and prevents you from cheating to lift your body up out of the bottom position.
Some people have tried to perform the inverse leg curl without a machine to lift them back up out of the bottom position. This is sometimes called a “Nordic leg curl” or a “Russian leg curl.”
The Nordic leg curl is a fantastic exercise for the hamstrings. The first person I saw perform a perfect Nordic hamstring curl was Dr. Layne Norton in 2007. Check it out:
Dr. Layne Norton’s Nordic Hamstring Curl
Layne is performing this exercise while holding onto dumbbells for extra resistance. What an unbelievable feat of strength!
The Nordic leg curl is an unbelievable exercise for the hamstrings. It trains your hamstrings as knee flexors and hip extensors at the exact same time for a superior training stimulus.
The problem is almost no one can perform this exercise with proper form! In fact Dr. Layne Norton is one of the only people in the world strong enough to perform this exercise correctly.
Louie Simmons came to a similar conclusion many years ago. Check it out:
“No one can do a Nordic hamstring curl. They go halfway down, fall flat on their face and then push themselves back up. It’s the dumbest thing I’ve ever seen!”
Louie Simmons invented the inverse leg curl machine to help the average person get all the benefits of the Nordic leg curl even if they are too weak to perform the exercise on their own.
Many of the Westside Barbell powerlifters have used this machine to strengthen their hamstrings so they can perform a regular Nordic hamstring curl without any help. Check it out:
The Inverse Leg Curl Machine Without Assistance
Absolutely incredible! Louie Simmons says that you should use the inverse leg curl machine twice per week if your hamstrings are weak.
You could use use one workout where you train heavier with lower-rep sets and one workout where you train lighter with multiple high-rep sets. Check it out:
“For strength training strive for two workouts a week minimum on the Westside Barbell Inverse Curl.
If the hamstrings are the weak link in the squat or deadlift perform Inverse Curls immediately following your main movement. This day should be difficult, but not terribly high in volume.
On Dynamic Day, perform higher rep sets for multiple sets, and / or superset another exercise for the legs.”
There are many other ways to use this machine in your training but this is one of the best strategies that you can use. Now let’s look at some sample workouts using the inverse leg curl machine.
The Westside Barbell powerlifting team trains the squat and deadlift twice per week using max effort and dynamic effort workouts.
Here is a max effort workout where the Westside Barbell powerlifting team used the inverse leg curl as one of their primary lower body exercises. Check it out:
Squat Workout #1
- Exercise #1: Max effort box squat, 3 sets of 1 rep
- Exercise #2: Inverse leg curl machine 3-4 set of 8-15 reps
- Exercise #3: Reverse hyperextension, 3-4 sets of 8-15 reps
- Exercise #4: Belt squat machine good morning, 3-4 sets of 8-15 reps
Here is the training video:
This is a very normal looking Westside Barbell max effort lower body workout. The Westside team maxes out on the box squat and then performs 3 different accessory exercises for their posterior chain.
Now let’s look at a typical dynamic effort lower body workout. Check it out:
Squat Workout #2
- Exercise #1: Speed box squat with bands, 6-10 sets of 2 reps
- Exercise #2: Speed deadlift with bands, 6-10 sets of 1 rep
- Exercise #3: Inverse leg curl, 3-4 sets of 8-15 reps
- Exercise #4: Reverse hyperextension, 3-4 sets of 8-15 reps
Here is the training video:
This is another normal looking dynamic effort lower body workout. The Westside team performs 6-10 sets of speed squats and speed deadlfits. Then they perform 2 accessory exercises for their hamstrings and lower back.
The inverse leg curl machine is used as the primary hamstrings exercise and the reverse hyperextension is used as the primary lower back exercise.
The inverse leg curl machine is one of the best hamstrings exercises in the world. Louie Simmons says that it is far superior to something like the leg curl because it trains the hamstrings as knee flexors AND hip extensors at the same time. Almost no other exercise in the world can do this!
If you are serious about building big, strong hamstrings then you have to get your hands on an inverse leg curl machine. The only company in the world that makes this machine is Rogue Fitness.
Here is where you can get yours:
This machine is expensive but it is worth every penny. If you are serious about taking your hamstrings strength to the next level then buying your own inverse leg curl machine is a no-brainer.
Here is one more quote by Louie Simmons to pump you up even more:
“Don’t have 100 dollar shoes and a 10 cent squat.”
Thank you for reading and I wish you the best of luck on your strength training journey!