Is the leg curl exercise beneficial for knee health, if you are performing deadlift variations?
Leg Curl Alternatives and Knee HealtH
Many would argue that the leg curl exercise would NOT be beneficial to knee health
Leg Curl Machine Potential Risks
The leg curl exercise attempts to isolate the hamstring in an unnatural way.
Most leg curl machines limit hip flexion.
The location of the load placed at the ankle creates a long movement arm which can create excessive shearing forces that can harm the knee.
The unnatural loading on the hamstring can cause knee instability as well as uneven tension throughout the entire range of motion.
There is also a risk of putting the low back into excessive extension.
Alternative options to leg curl:
TRX Leg Curl (single or double leg)
Stability Ball Leg Curl (single or double leg)
Leg Curl with Sliders (single or double leg)
Cook Hip Lift
Stiff Leg Dead Lift (single or double leg)
Hip up and bridging variations
Dead lift variations all are going to incorporate the hamstrings to some extent. Stiff Leg Deadlifts/Romanian Deadlifts will target the hamstrings in a more isolated fashion similar to the leg curl.
Deadlifts will indirectly contribute to knee health but more specifically the posterior lower body.
Overall knee health will be dependent on many factors. You should ensure you balance your lower body lifts, perform unilateral lower body movements and lateral movement. Hip and ankle mobility and stability are critical for knee health.