Why I Don’t Like Nordics and What Exercise We Use Instead at @bodybyboyle

Why I Don’t Like Nordics and What Exercise We Use Instead at @bodybyboyle

Nordic leg curls have drawn a bunch of attention recently due to the preventative power of eccentric focused exercise and hamstring injuries.

Numerous studies over the last few years have investigated the effectiveness of using eccentric exercises like the Nordic leg curl to prevent hamstrung injuries to astounding positive results. In one 2014 study of with 942 soccer players researchers found eccentric exercises to be the most effective, reducing hamstring injuries by 65% following intervention.

There is no doubt in my mind that eccentric focused exercise is highly valuable in reducing the likelihood of hamstring injury. The bicep femoris undergoes it’s highest levels of eccentric stress during the last 20% of the swing phase of gait in order to decelerate knee extension. Following this, the hamstrings must undergo a transition from eccentric contraction to a brief isometric contraction at heel strike before contracting concentricly to assist the glutes in hip extension. This critical transition between terminal swing and initial stance phase is where many hamstring strains will occur.

While Nordics seems like a good option I rarely seen them executed well. Very few athletes can maintain the desired body position throughout the exercise and end up in defaulting into lumbar/pelvis extension or into hip flexion. If think it is imperative to perform nordics with glute driven hip extension and optimal alignment between ribcage and pelvis. Without these two variables I don’t see them being anymore valuable than a seated leg curl (hip flexion, zero core activity, isolated hamstring).

At @bodybyboyle we prefer the slide board leg curl progression because it is much easier to progress and regress. We begin with an eccentric only progression and move towards concentric before progressing to single leg and loaded progressions. The focus must be on maintaining full hip extension and core position throughout the entire drill. If the athlete cannot maintain positioning you should regress until they can maintain form. Try this progression out and let us know your thoughts! @performbetter