- Jul 17, 2013
Nordic hamstring curls are a hamstring exercise performed in a kneeling position with your feet anchored: the aim is to lower your body to the ground, and then raise yourself back up by contracting your hamstrings. And it is a lot harder than that might sound. The move is a go-to favored by pro athletes such as Tyreek Hill and Saquon Barkley, and in a new YouTube video, bodybuilder Nsima Inyang attempts to complete more than 10 reps, which may not seem like a lot, but definitely is.
Inyang first started doing Nordic hamstring curls in February, and to begin with he struggled to complete even a single clean rep. After seeing an Instagram video of Super Bowl champion Tyreek Hill churning out a set of 10, Inyang set himself the challenge of beating that number.
"I was like, fuck, that's strong, I want to be able to do that," he says. "So today I'm going to see if I can do more than 10 Nordic hamstring curls. Because if Tyreek Hill can do it, fuck it, why can't I?"
While Tyreek performed the curls with a workout partner anchoring his feet to the floor, Inyang anchors his lower legs to a bench with a belt before starting, and has powerlifter Mark Bell count each rep. He surpasses Hill's record of 10 with what appears to be relative ease, and then keeps going, maxing out at 15 grueling curls.
"The Nordic hamstring curl is one of the best bang-for-your-buck hamstring exercises out there," says Men's Health fitness director Ebenezer Samuel, C.S.C.S. "You have to completely dominate the eccentric (lowering) portion of the movement or you'll fall flat on your face, and the concentric (raising) portion requires a ton of pure hamstring strength period. It's also that rare bodyweight hamstring movement where you focus on flexing at the knee instead of extending at the hips, as you do during deadlift-style motions."
There's no way around it, though, this move is a tough one. If you want to try incorporating this into your next leg day workout, Samuel advises you to keep it simple: "When you're starting out, focus on owning the eccentric portion of the movement, and simply slowly lower yourself to the ground; use your hands to help you press up."
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