How To Do Nordic Hamstring Curls

Nordic Hamstring Curl (How To, Muscles Worked, Benefits)

Nordic Hamstring Curls are one of the most effective hamstring exercises for athletes. They require a tremendous amount of hamstring strength to do without assistance, but even with some assistance, they’ll do a tremendous job of developing the hamstrings.

In this guide, I’ll show you how to do Nordic Hamstring Curls including important coaching tips and a few alternative exercises as well.

How To Do Nordic Hamstring Curls

Equipment Needed

  • A Partner (or something that can hold your feet on the ground)

Muscles Worked

  • Hamstrings (Biceps Femoris, Semimembranosus, Semitendinosus)
  • Calves (Gastrocnemius)

How To

  • Start on your knees with a partner holding your feet (dorsiflexed, toes in the ground).
  • Hold your hands in front of your chest, brace your core and lock in your hips.
  • Now, keep your body in a straight line (shoulders, hips and knees) and lean forward.
  • Lower slowly and under control as long as possible.
  • Touch your chest to the ground, using your hands if necessary (they will most likely be necessary)
  • Finally, give yourself a little push to get started and then use your hamstrings to curl yourself back to the start.

Coaching Points

The ultimate goal is to be able to lower yourself to the floor, touch the ground with your chest, and then curl yourself up without using your hands. However, this takes practice and a ton of hamstring strength. Be patient and focus on your progress each time.

Don’t allow your hips to shoot out, breaking the straight line going through your shoulders, hips and knees.

Only use as much push with your arms coming off the ground as needed. How much is the right amount? Trust me, when you get it just right – you’ll know.


The Nordic hamstring curl is a great exercise for strengthening the muscles of the hamstring. Strong hamstrings can help improve athletic performance and reduce the risk of injuries, such as strains and tears.

The Nordic hamstring curl is also a great exercise for developing strength and stability in the knee joint. Additionally, it can be done with little to no equipment, making it a versatile exercise for most gyms.

How Many Reps?

It doesn’t take many reps of Nordic Hamstring Curls to be effective. I normally program 2 to 3 sets of 5 to 8 reps.

Nordic Hamstring Curl Alternatives

Don’t have a partner or any way to anchor your feet on your own? Don’t worry. Here are a few alternative exercises that you may be able to try out.

Need more options? Here are 7 of my favorite Nordic Hamstring Curl alternatives to develop hamstring strength.

Floor Slider Leg Curls

Floor Slider Leg Curls use furniture sliders that are laid on the ground (typically carpet or turf) and then curled along the ground with your feet.

Make sure you drive the hips up while you curl the feet into your body.

Stability Ball Leg Curls

Stability Ball Leg Curl (1)

Don’t have floor sliders? A stability ball can be used in much the same way. Place your feet up on a stability ball, curl your feet into your body while driving your hips up.

Either Floor Slider Leg Curls or Stability Ball Leg Curls make an excellent alternative for Nordics.

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If you’d like to see more lower body exercise guides, head over to the Lower Body Lifts section of our Exercise Library. There you’ll find dozens of exercises, all with step-by-step instructions.

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