How To Do Nordic Curls Properly

The Nordic curls, also known as Inverse leg curl is a lower body exercise that activates your hamstring muscles using your body weight.

Nordic curls increase muscle strength, boost athletic performance. Since athletes are prone to hamstring injuries, this exercise is convenient to protect their hamstrings against injuries.

With the correct technique, Nordic curls are safe for anyone and will help them stay healthy and fit for a long time.

Also known as Inverse leg curl

Targeted Muscles: Hamstrings

Requirements: Barbell

Level: Beginner

Steps:

  • Put a cushion or a pad on the floor and kneel on it. Ensure your knees and ankles are in line with your knees
  • Secure the back of your feet using a barbell. You can alternatively get a partner to assist you.
  • Keep your head in a neutral posture, your arms on your sides, and your shoulders directly over your hips.
  • Inhale and put pressure on your core, hamstrings, and glutes.
  • Lower your body gently towards the floor. Keep moving downwards until you cannot sustain complete body control. To complete the remaining motion range at this point, you can put your hands on the floor or resume the starting position without using your hands.
  • Rise back up until your shoulders are directly over your hips.
  • Breathe out and repeat the process until you get the desired set of reps.

Tips:

  • Be sure to maintain a right angle in your feet to create the maximum hamstring stretch and maximize the goal of the workout.
  • Avoid plantarflexing. (Aiming the top of your foot away from your leg)

MUSCLES WORKED BY NORDIC CURL MACHINE

The main target muscles of Nordic curls are the hamstrings. The hamstring comprises three muscle groups: The biceps, semimembranosus, and semitendinosus. This exercise builds all three muscles at the rear of your upper leg.

Building the hamstrings is one proven way of generating lower body strength and improving overall energy.

This drill also engages secondary muscles that work as well but to a lesser degree. These muscles are Rhomboids, Spinal erectors, and the glutes. Your glutes will help make your lower body stable all through the workout session.

BENEFITS OF NORDIC CURL MACHINE

STRENGTH AND SIZE GAINS

Nordic curls are considered one of the best exercises for building the size and strength of hamstrings without using heavyweights.

When all your leg muscles are toned, you will create a better balance and consequently have a seamless motion.

This drill can serve as a supplementary exercise to aid your performance in various weight lifting exercises such as deadlifts and squats.

REDUCE AND PREVENT INJURIES

The hamstring muscles are prone to injuries.  Eccentric knee flexion occurs often when you pull your hamstrings.

By doing this, you will be strengthening the most vulnerable position of the leg muscles and building a steadier hamstring, and consequently, prevent future hamstring injuries.

Nordic curls are relatively safe since they transpire very slowly. Think of it as balancing and guarding your knee strength.

BETTER VERTICAL JUMP AND SPEED

The hamstrings and glutes are the most engaged muscles engaged when you run or jump. Developing these muscles is key to advancing your vertical jump and improving your sprinting speed.

Continued training will gain you the best results and improve your general athletic performance and energy.

BUTT TONING

Nordic curls have some aesthetic benefits. The secret to maintaining those toned glutes lies a little lower- your hamstrings.

Nordic curls strengthen the rear of your upper thighs and lift your glutes while strengthening your hamstrings at the same time.

This drill will get you rear leg strength and the toned physique you desire. Nordic curls can be versatile depending on your fitness.

ALTERNATIVES TO NORDIC CURLS

GLUTE HAM RAISE

The glute-ham raise is an active posterior chain drill that builds muscle strength, hypertrophy, and hamstring endurance. It works the hamstrings and the lower back as well.

Requirements: Glute ham machine

STEPS:

  • Set the GHD machine to be in level with your height. Secure your feet using the pads at the bottom and ensure your quads rest in the middle part of the machine.
  • Bend your knees at a 90-degree angle. Ensure your upper body is pointing upwards and your legs are straight and parallel to the floor.
  • Fold your arms across your chest.
  • Engage your core and start lowering your upper body until it is aligned with the floor.
  • Squeeze your hamstrings and glutes to resume the starting position.

MISTAKES TO AVOID WHEN PERFORMING NORDIC CURLS

RUSHING THE DESCEND

Many beginners tend to rush the movement downward and push back up when performing this drill.

Challenging as it already is, rushing the descent will only make it harder and not build you any muscle.

Instead, you can try to lean forward gently before descending to maximize the time you will be holding the tension.

OVER-BENDING THE HIPS

Lifters with less experience often tend to overbend their hips forward and raise their body.

This occurs mainly because they lack strength in the hamstrings since bending draws the tension from the hamstrings.

Bending the hips slightly is okay, however, when you overbend your hips, you will not get the utmost benefits out of this exercise. You can choose to perform with an alternate variation that is a little easier.

OVEREXTENDING YOUR BACK

Extending your back leaning the upper body forward to a point where your body is parallel to the floor is a sure way to mess up your back.

Hyperextending the back usually stems from lacking strength in the hamstrings.

If you experience tension in the lower back when performing this exercise, then you are probably extending your back too much.

Follow the right procedure and be consistent and you will master this drill in no time.

CONCLUSION

Nordic curls are an eccentric drill meaning they actively increase the length of your leg muscles and generate more stable hamstrings.

It is an Isolation exercise and builds your back and hamstring strength.  This drill has many benefits including decreasing injury risks and improving performance.

You can add a little challenge to the exercise by scaling either up or down to make it easier or harder.

Be sure to perform fewer challenging exercises if you have experienced significant hamstring injuries before.