Sam Sulek Performs Seated Hamstring Curls Until Failure

Sam Sulek arm workout
Image courtesy of YouTube (@sam_sulek)

Research demonstrates that seated hamstring curls lead to more muscle growth than lying hamstring curls. 

Sam Sulek, a burgeoning bodybuilding sensation, has achieved incredible feats in the online fitness space, reaching an impressive weight of 240 lbs of muscle at 24. We have avidly followed his journey, delving into his dietary choices, signature exercises, and targeted workout routines. His social media presence has elevated him to fame, where he shares his journey with the world, including Sulek’s recent video upload of performing seated hamstring curls. 

On Christmas Eve, while others were taking a break, Sam Sulek exemplified his unique dedication by heading to the gym. Despite the gym’s early closure, he consciously engaged in hamstring training. Sulek’s quads felt tender, so he had to work around that. 

“I think I’m going to go a little bit easier on uh just cuz my right quad’s still a little tender. So I don’t want to do anything that hurts it. But if I could do really light leg extensions and just focus on squeezing and get to burn like that, and it doesn’t like flare up this whatever little thing I’ve got pulled, then that works out perfectly. You know, like there’s a way to work around a tweak, there’s a way to work around a little something or other without making the situation worse.”

Are you curious about Sam Sulek’s Christmas Eve seated leg curl training for hamstring growth? In this post, we delve into the exercise he performed, provide a step-by-step guide, and share valuable tips and tricks to maximize your results. 

Sam Sulek’s Christmas Eve Leg Training

Below is a video of Sam Sulek performing the seated hamstring curl: 

For his Christmas Eve leg training, Sam Sulek did seated hamstring curls at Planet Fitness. To get started, he tells us that he first did some warmup sets on the machine, although we don’t get to see that in the video. Research shows that training-specific warmups improve performance and efficiency (1)

Sulek then jumped on the machine to do multiple sets of hamstring curls, training to failure for each set. He also says that training intensity is critical, and you should exercise hard. 

Seated Hamstring Curl

Another name for the hamstring curl that Sam Sulek does is the seated leg curl. It’s an isolation exercise for the hamstrings. Often, lifters opt for the lying leg curl for hamstring training, but according to this research, the seated version leads to more muscle increase in the hamstrings (2). Below is a step-by-step guide on how to do seated hamstring curls and some essential benefits of this exercise.

How to
  1. Sit on the leg curl machine with your back comfortably against the seat.
  2. Put your lower leg against the pad of the lower lever and adjust it so the pad securely holds your legs in position. The lap pad should be between your knees and hips. 
  3. Next, with your toes facing forward, ensure you comfortably lever your legs in with the machine while fully extending them in front of you. This is your starting position.
  4. Grasp the machine’s handles and push down on the lower pad by flexing your hamstrings. Take it as close to your glutes as possible and ensure your upper body is stationary throughout the movement.
  5. Pause at the bottom of the movement and squeeze your hamstrings.
  6. Finally, slowly release the legs to return to the starting position and complete the rep. 
  1. Don’t rush the movement so your hamstrings spend more time under tension. This leads to more muscle growth.
  2. Adjust the machine to fit your body so the movement pattern won’t be off, which could hurt and make your exercise ineffective.
  3. Don’t go for too much weight; instead, aim for volume. Your hamstrings are one of the largest muscles in your body, and you need many sets and reps to activate them adequately. In addition, the hamstring curls are an isolation exercise, not a compound exercise, so they’re more effective with lighter weights



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While the seated hamstring curls work on your hamstrings, they also recruit your calves, glutes, and hip flexors. Below are more benefits of this exercise. 

Bigger Hamstrings

The seated hamstring curl works on your hamstrings by isolating and loading them. This is effective for adding muscle mass to your lower body. It also increases strength in the hamstrings, which will carry over to running and other leg movements, especially the ones like deadlifts that rely significantly on the posterior chain strength of your lower body

Hamstring Isolation

Many lower body exercises work on your hamstrings, but few isolate and hit them like the seated hamstring curl. This isolation is crucial as a bodybuilder, as it helps you overload and work the muscle efficiently to help with definition and striations in your legs.  

Better Performance

Stronger hamstrings lead to better performance in other lower-body exercises and routines. This is because your hamstrings are essential in hip and knee flexion. The stronger they are, the more power you can generate. 

Injury Prevention

Often, athletes get an imbalance from training the quads, which are easier to isolate and build. This muscle imbalance could lead to tears, which take weeks to recover from and could halt your progress. Building your hamstrings with this exercise can help to fix that imbalance and prevent such injuries

More Control

Machine exercises are helpful for trainers at all levels because they offer a form of control. For beginners, this can help you focus on your mind-muscle connection and getting your form right. For advanced lifters, a machine can allow you to lift heavier and do slower reps as you won’t struggle with stability or balance. 

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  1. Ribeiro, B., Pereira, A., Neves, P. P., Sousa, A. C., Ferraz, R., Marques, M. C., Marinho, D. A., & Neiva, H. P. (2020). The Role of Specific Warm-up during Bench Press and Squat Exercises: A Novel Approach. International journal of environmental research and public health, 17(18), 6882. 
  2. Maeo, S., Huang, M., Wu, Y., Sakurai, H., Kusagawa, Y., Sugiyama, T., Kanehisa, H., & Isaka, T. (2021). Greater Hamstrings Muscle Hypertrophy but Similar Damage Protection after Training at Long versus Short Muscle Lengths. Medicine and science in sports and exercise, 53(4), 825–837.
Terry Ramos
As a personal trainer and writer, Terry loves changing lives through coaching and the written word. Terry has a B.S. in Kinesiology and is an ACSM Certified Personal Trainer and ISSA Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist. He enjoys playing music, reading, and watching films when he's not writing or training.