The Nordic Hamstring Curl: Best Hamstring Exercise You are Not Doing!
There are many different hamstring exercises including variations of leg curls (seated, prone, and standing) along with several different hip hinge exercises that target the hamstrings (RDL, Single Leg RDL, etc). These are all great exercises, but none of them can touch the Nordic Hamstring Curl for building eccentric strength and preventing hamstring injury in sprints and sport!
This is a tough exercise so warming up the hamstrings is essential. Using other hamstring exercises first such as bodyweight hip hinges and light leg curls on a machine prior to this exercise do the trick nicely. It is also a good idea to do some static stretches for anterior hips and hip flexors to shut them off which helps to allow for maximum hamstring activation.
To perform the Nordic Hamstring Curl you need to find a place to hook your heels under when you are in a double leg tall kneeling position so you will also need padding under your knees. If you have a workout partner you can have them kneel behind you and hold onto both your legs right above the ankles keeping their arm straight so they can use their bodyweight to apply load as you let your body fall forward like this: http://willlevy.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/Nordic-Curl.jpg. You can also find something to hook your ankles under like the horizontal bar from a weight machine or barbell like this: https://i.ytimg.com/vi/f_GdZKdwovA/maxresdefault.jpg or this: https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/originals/29/04/34/290434956cdd220cc8d6e0b18948cf3c.jpgor this: https://www.t-nation.com/img/photos/2013/13-775-04/Nordic-Start.jpg
Keeping your hips flat (straight line from knees through hips and shoulders) – you lower your body down slowly until you can no longer hold your weight then catch yourself in push-up position and push back up: https://simplifaster.com/articles/wp-content/uploads/sites/5/2017/03/GHR.jpg. You can also use a band during the exercise which provides progressively more assistance as you go lower towards floor to allow you to potentially perform the full range of the motion and come back up with the assistance of the band. Then over time you gradually decrease the assistance of the band by user smaller and lighter bands. This provides a good video of how you can do this by attaching a band overhead and behind you: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LQm9rdzZlRk
There are also numerous machines designed for this exercise including:
Here is a 6 week progression:
Week Sessions/Week Sets Reps Rest
1 1 2 5 2 min.
2 2 3 5 2 min.
3 2 3 6 2 min.
4 2 3 7 2 min.
5 3 3 8 2 min.
6 2 3 9 2 min.