Let's talk about Nordics

Nordic Curls

Nordic curls have become THE exercise to “bulletproof” hamstrings because of their power in strengthening eccentric contraction. 

Most hamstring injuries occur in the last part of swing phase where the hamstring stops eccentrically decelerating knee extension and then isometrically contracts before rapidly concentrically contracting to assist the glutes in hip extension. 

The aim in preventing hamstring injuries is to increase the capacity of the tissue through these phases

Noridcs can be a great option but the issue is that athletes are rarely able to execute them properly. Similarly, the Nordic is described as “braking a forward fall for as long as possible.... and then forcefully pushing themselves back to starting position to minimise concentric loading” which means that the concentric HS loading (which we know is important in the gait cycle, is neglected, unless 1. The traditional movement is changed and the athlete brings themselves up using their hamstrings and 2. They have adequate strength to complete this movement. And as such, the Nordic can not be the only exercise prescribed for this purpose 

There’s no one specific exercise that we can employ to “bulletproof” the hamstrings. Programming needs to encompass concentric based exercises as well. Certain sprinting / agility drills and resisted hamstring curls or an adaptation of a “knee catch exercise” where the muscle must concentrically contract to stop the lower leg from hitting the ground should also be included in hamstring prevention and rehabilitation programs.