Nordic Hamstring Curl Exercise

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Introduction[edit | edit source]

Benefits[edit | edit source]

Several studies have found benefits in utilizing Nordic Hamstring training to decrease the incident of hamstring injuries in soccer players. One study had male soccer players doing a Nordic Hamstring curls twice a week for four weeks and found it increased knee flexor eccentric strength[1]. Other studies have found decreases in the incident of hamstring injuries in male soccer players when Nordic Hamstring curls are incorporated into their training[2][3]. It must noted, that even thought there is a recorded decrease in the hamstring injuries, the severity of the injuries were unchanged[2].

Equipment[edit | edit source]

Relatively little additional equipment is needed to perform this exercise and depends on someone's ability to perform it.

What is needed:

  • A place to secure the feet (another person or a loaded barbell)
  • Pad (provides comfort to the knees)
  • Band (this can be uses to provide a counter resistance when building strength)
  • Box (another item that could be used for someone building their strength)

Training[edit | edit source]

The Nordic Hamstring curl is a challenging exercise and even seasoned athletes may struggle to perform a full repetition. There are levels to building up strength to be able to perform a full repetition. Keep in mind that it does take some to build strength. Pick a level that you feel the most comfortable starting with. All levels will start with the same position, in the kneeling position with the heels/feet secured. Work to maintain an upright position with each level. If you are finding you are having to bend at the hips to perform it, you may need to regress until your strength comes up.

Level 1 Rocking[edit | edit source]

Many people begin at this level. In the starting position, lean forward as far as you feel comfortable while keeping the torso, hips and thighs in alignment. You should feel your hamstrings contract as they hold you from falling forward. Then using your hamstrings return to the starting position.

Level 2 Assisted[edit | edit source]

This levels uses a form of assistance to allow the person to go further. 2 options that people could do, depending on what they have available. One is using a sturdy surface, such as an exercise bench or box, in front of them. As they go further into the range, reach your arms out to the box to assist in returning back to the start position. To progress, use a shorter box so that you are going further into the range.

Another option is using a resistance band around the chest and secured to a sturdy surface behind you. As you go further into the range, the band provides a counter resistance to assist in returning back to the starting position. To progress, use a smaller/less resistant band.

Level 3 Eccentric[edit | edit source]

In the starting position, lower yourself down as slowly as you can. Use your hands to catch yourself and to assist with returning back to the starting position

Level 4 Full[edit | edit source]

In the starting position, lower yourself until you are just above the floor. You can have your hands at your side or behind your back. Then return to the starting position while maintaining the upright position from the thighs to your torso. This can be further progressed by holding a weight.

References[edit | edit source]

  1. de Oliveira, N. T., Medeiros, T. M., Vianna, K. B., Oliveira, G. D. S., de Araujo Ribeiro-Alvares, J. B., & Baroni, B. M. (2020). A FOUR-WEEK TRAINING PROGRAM WITH THE NORDIC HAMSTRING EXERCISE DURING PRESEASON INCREASES ECCENTRIC STRENGTH OF MALE SOCCER PLAYERS. International journal of sports physical therapy, 15(4), 571–578.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Van der Horst, N., Smits, D. W., Petersen, J., Goedhart, E. A., & Backx, F. J. (2015). The preventive effect of the nordic hamstring exercise on hamstring injuries in amateur soccer players: a randomized controlled trial. The American journal of sports medicine, 43(6), 1316-1323.
  3. Al Attar, W. S. A., Soomro, N., Sinclair, P. J., Pappas, E., & Sanders, R. H. (2017). Effect of injury prevention programs that include the Nordic hamstring exercise on hamstring injury rates in soccer players: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Sports Medicine, 47, 907-916.