Nordic Hamstring Curl Anatomy

Protect your hamstrings – this strengthening exercise will reduce the risk of strain or injury by understanding the Nordic Hamstring Curl Anatomy.

In this  Muscle and Motion article, we will delve into the fascinating anatomy of the Nordic Hamstring Curl, an exercise specifically designed to strengthen the hamstrings and reduce the risk of strain or injury. The hamstrings, composed of three key muscles, play a vital role in powering our leg movements, making them essential for running, jumping, and climbing. However, due to their vulnerability to injury, particularly among athletes and sprinters, it is crucial to incorporate practical training exercises to protect and strengthen these muscles. Join us as we explore the Nordic Hamstring Curl and its numerous benefits in promoting hamstring health and overall athletic performance.


The Hamstrings Anatomy:

The hamstrings generally refer to the three muscles – biceps femoris, semimembranosus, and semitendinosus at the back part of the thigh. To get an inside view of these muscles, log in to the Anatomy app and go to the Muscular Anatomy section.


What are the benefits of Hamstring Exercises?

The hamstrings are the muscles that enable us to move our legs powerfully and efficiently. They are essential muscles for running, jumping, climbing, and walking. Strengthening the hamstring muscles helps us to do these things better. The hamstring muscles are also vulnerable to injury and strain, particularly among athletes and sprinters. Strengthening the hamstrings with training exercises can reduce the risk of injury. Unfortunately, strain or injury to the hamstring can result in a very long and challenging recovery process, with an increased risk for secondary injury or permanent damage.

The Nordic Ham Curl, also called the Leg Curl or Russian Ham Curl, is a strength exercise that primarily works the hamstring muscles.


How to do the Nordic Hamstring Curl?

The Nordic hamstring curl involves kneeling on a pad (for knee comfort) and lowering under control. At the same time, the ankles are held in place by a partner, a loaded barbell, or any other immovable object. The movement should be slow and controlled. You should come as forward or low to the floor as possible without using your hands/arms. Only put your hands out in front of you on the floor when you can no longer rely on your legs. Then push yourself back up to starting position and repeat.


Be Aware!

Be aware of possible delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) when including this exercise in your training session, and start slow! Start with just a few reps at the beginning, and don’t bring your body lower than you can manage to do easily before putting your arms out and building your way up to more reps and a greater range of movement.

What Not to Do?

The Nordic hamstring curl is a highly effective hamstring exercise. It can help prevent hamstring injuries due to the eccentric emphasis, which shifts the hamstring’s maximum force potential to larger muscle lengths. A common mistake when performing this exercise is bending at the hips. Bending at the hips will not do much to strengthen the hamstrings.


Assisted Nordic Hamstring Curls – Exercise progression

If you are not ready to perform the full Nordic Hamstring Curl, you can use a resistance band to execute a variation of this exercise. This will allow you to build strength and progress to full movement. Attach a resistance band to the immovable machine behind you, above your head. Put the other end of the band over your head and hold it near your shoulders. The band will allow you to descend slowly toward the ground.

Want to know more?

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Natalie Bensimon
Natalie Bensimon