I read a Frederic Delavier’s book « Strength Training Anatomy » and I learned good stuff.
Sitting on the machine with your legs straight and your ankles on the pads. Your thighs wedged with your hands on the handles :
Inhale and flex your legs
Exhale at the end of the movement
This exercise works all hamstrings muscles and in depth popliteus muscle. This exercise works a little bit the gastrocnemius muscles.
Having a sitting position means that you have your pelvis anteversion and this allows you to stretch semi-membranous, semi-tendinous and long portion of biceps femoris favorably to better target the work on this muscle group.
By doing this exercise with your ankle in flexion, you transfer some of the work on your gastrocnemius muscles.
By doing this exercise with your ankles in extension, you mainly target the effort on your hamstrings.
Popliteus muscle is deep in the posterior side of the leg, on the level of the knee joint. This muscle works the hamstrings and gastrocnemius to flex the leg on the thigh.
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