One leg exercise that I can almost guarantee you’re not currently using is the Nordic hamstring curl. The Norse Curl, also known by several other aliases; the Russian Leg Curl, the Natural Glute Ham Raise Exercises in the Books, the Nordic Hamstring Curl is an eccentric exercise performed on your knees with your ankles locked while using your torso and core as a hinge or lever in a prone position .
By definition, the NHE (Nordic Hamstring Exercise) is an eccentric movement performed with a person on their knees with their ankles, either held or strapped, and performed by lowering the torso as slowly as possible into a prone position. [R] This move can be performed almost anywhere and doesn’t require any kind of equipment (other than something to keep your ankles in place). Nordic curls are also known as the inverse leg curl, natural glute ham raise, Nordic hamstring exercise, and the Russian leg curl.
While you may not have heard of Nordic curls, many in the fitness world that have preceded you have. In fact, Nordic curls are far from a new movement and actually have quite a long history behind them. Historically, and I wouldn’t assume you know this unless you have an educational background, the Ling gymnastics movement or “medical gymnastics” is the idea that physical ailments can be cured or remedied through human kinetic movement can become. [R] This movement of ideas and practices was founded by Pierre Henrik Ling in the early 19th century. Ling was a Swedish trainer and the form of gymnastics he conceived and implemented among his clients and spread like wildfire.
The guidelines and design of the movement system were widely adopted throughout America and Europe. By combining different principles from other methods (such as military, medical and education) with a firm belief in the benefits of bodyweight exercise to strengthen the body. The first major documentation of the Ling gymnastics movement was written in the 1860s by George Herbert Taylor, who lived and worked as a doctor in New York. [R] This book, that Exhibition of the Swedish movement curewas the first documentation of the Nordic Curl and was then referred to as a “wing/knee stretching” exercise.
The hamstrings are one of the largest muscles in the human body and the Nordic Curl is designed to strengthen, build and develop them in the most effective way possible. Not only the hamstrings, but also the glutes are greatly affected by this movement.
- hamstrings: responsible for bending and straightening the leg (Semitendinosus, semimembranosus, biceps femoris)
- glutes: Responsible for hip extension when standing upright, abduction and stabilization of the body when walking and moving (Gluteus maximus, gluteus minimus, gluteus minimus)
By improving the quality of muscle and facial elongation in the thigh and hamstring/gluteal regions, athletes may see a reduced risk of hamstring strain injuries. In randomized studies comparing the implementation of Nordic curls into regular athletic training and strength training programs, it has been observed that athletes experience an increase in eccentric strength and an improvement in tolerance to higher volume with a reduced incidence of injury. [R]
Unlike using a GHD or a machine hamstring curl, the Nordic curl, also known as the “poor man’s glute-ham raise,” allows a person to perform the movement in the most optimal position. This creates a more effective range of motion for the body to move and recruit the appropriate muscles.
Hamstring muscle growth contributes to so much more than athletic performance. By increasing the overall size of the hamstring, you can expect improvements in aesthetic, athletic performance, posture, and functionality throughout your normal routine and lifestyle.
By implementing Nordic curls into your workout, you can expect improvements in your running and sprinting ability. If you’re looking for more torque and peak power during your sprinting efforts, then Nordic curls are a must. Unless you’re an athlete who sprints often, you may see improvements in other conditioning purposes, such as: B. When using cardio to improve fat loss and body composition.
While the Nordic Curl is an easy move to understand like any other movement, the most important part to maximizing your effort and training benefits is the form.
- Start in a kneeling position (you may want to place a pillow under your knees)
- Place the feet and ankles under or on top of something that stabilizes the body and supports the rest of the body
- Start by tucking your pelvis in line with your spine and supporting your core so you don’t arch your back and bend at the hips
- From the upright and upright position, slowly lean forward without bending your knees or hips and lower your body forward toward the floor
- Once you can no longer stabilize your body, perform the same movement and pull your torso back toward your heels until you reach the upright position
Note: If you are unable to perform this movement with bodyweight, we recommend using a brace around the hips until adequate strength and form are built
The Nordic Curl is a great movement to use bodyweight to target and strengthen the hamstrings and glutes to further improve athletic performance, posture and stability. Although you don’t need a lot of equipment for this move, we recommend mastering form and building strength, as poor form can recruit other inappropriate muscles to support poor form or cause injury. If you are unable to perform the movement entirely with your body weight, we recommend using a band for support.
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