Bulletproof Your Hamstrings
The hamstring may not get as much love as the quad, but for athletic performance and injury prevention- it may be the most important. Creating strong, resilient hamstrings should be on the top of every athlete’s priority list this summer. So what is the best exercise that will strengthen your hamstrings and make you a better athlete?
Nordic Hamstring Curls
Nordic hamstring curls may be one of the most difficult exercises to complete, but have one of the greatest carryovers to strength and explosiveness. Scaling this exercise will be key to increasing your athletic performance. If you have access to a glute hamstring machine, that will be the simplest way to perform a nordic curl. If you don’t have access, don’t worry. Here are a few ways to do nordics without a machine:
The hammy strap attaches easily around a bench and your lower calves. You can use a broomstick, band or foam pads to add assistance until you’re able to complete a bodyweight nordic curl. Once you are able to do 5-10 reps assisted, remove the assistance and try to complete 1-3 bodyweight reps.
- Partner Assisted
Grab a towel or foam pad and place it under your knees. In a tall kneeling position, have a partner hold down on your lower calves. Lower yourself gradually to the ground and back up. If you can’t complete a bodyweight unassisted rep, go until you feel like you can’t control any longer and push yourself back up with your arms.
- Eccentric Reps
Try adding an eccentric (lowering) focus to the nordic curl to help build strength into a full bodyweight rep. Add in a 5 second lowering phase to increase time under tension at the start and adjust from there. If you want to test yourself, add more time to the lowering phase, but 5 seconds should be a good starting point to gauge your strength.
- Get Creative
If you need more assistance, you may have to get creative in order to complete the nordic hamstring curl. Find a cable machine and get into a tall kneeling position with your back facing the cable. Place a towel or foam pad under your knees and grab the cable from behind you. This will allow you to add more weight or reduce weight depending on your strength and ability. This should allow you to perform a full rep until you’re strong enough to move away from the cable.
If you’re ready to take your hamstring strength to the next level, use these methods to master the nordic hamstring curl!