Exercise Profile
  • Target Muscle Group
  • Exercise TypeStrength
  • Equipment RequiredMachine
  • MechanicsIsolation
  • Force TypePull (Bilateral)
  • Experience LevelAdvanced
  • Secondary Muscles
    Abs, Calves, Glutes
Target Muscle Group


Hamstrings Muscle Anatomy Diagram

Nordic Hamstring Curl (Bodyweight) Overview

The Nordic hamstring curl is a bodyweight variation of the leg curl and an exercise used to strengthen the muscles of the hamstrings.

Nordic hamstring curls are very challenging. However, they do an excellent job at building hamstring muscle and strength which will have a positive carry over into your big leg exercises and aesthetics.

The Nordic hamstring curl can be performed during your leg workouts and full body workouts.

Nordic Hamstring Curl (Bodyweight) Instructions

  1. Setup in a nordic hamstring machine with your hips extended and torso upright.
  2. Keeping your hips extended, begin to lower yourself as slowly as possible until you can no longer control the descent.
  3. At this point, allow yourself to fall to the floor in a controlled fashion and “catch” yourself with your arms.
  4. Give yourself just enough of a push off the floor to get back into a position where you can pull yourself back to the start using your hamstrings.
  5. Repeat for the desired number of repetitions.

Nordic Hamstring Curl (Bodyweight) Tips

  1. If have access to an actual nordic hamstring curl machine that would be ideal. If not, try to utilize a lat pulldown machine as that is the easiest option to adapt for setup. If neither option is available, consider the partner assisted version. If you don’t have access to anyone who can hold your ankles in place, consider a setup with a power rack whereby your ankles are positioned underneath the squat pad on a weighted barbell and you have a pad underneath your knees.
  2. Ideally you should look to keep your hips extended throughout the duration of the set, don’t allow them to shoot back and take tension off of your hamstrings.
  3. When extending the glutes, you shouldn’t feel any pressure or contraction through the lower back. If you find yourself getting a pump through your spinal erectors then you’re likely substituting spinal extension for hip extension.
  4. Remember, it’s a controlled drop when you can’t maintain tension with the hamstrings anymore. At that point you should still seek to keep the hamstrings active and only use the arms as necessary.
Pauli Mikael
Posted on: Mon, 05/06/2019 - 03:00

Excuse me... But is the "machine"'s actual name "Nordic hamstring curl machine" ? cannot find any being sold at my country according to few google searches ( i live in FInland, which is ironic since its called nordic, and i can't find any ) looks like a very decent installment for the personal home "gym corner"

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Mon, 05/06/2019 - 11:02

Hi Pauli,

That is ironic! Personally, I hook my legs under a bench or loaded barbell to do these without the bench. Alternatively, if you have a partner, you can have them hold down your ankles.

Sorry I can't be of more help in finding the actual piece of equipment for you!

Posted on: Thu, 10/12/2017 - 11:22

So I drop before i even get to 45°. Is there a substitute workout or should i go back to the sitting leg curls?

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Thu, 10/12/2017 - 15:37

Hi Kevin,

I'd recommend sticking to them and trying to get better at performing them over the long run. It's a unique exercise and even if you're not able to go 45 degrees yet, you'll still be building a muscle and getting better at performing them by actually doing them.

If you're not feeling your hamstrings work in the meantime, you can always add on other hamstring exercises to continue to isolate the muscle. Just depends on your goals.

Hope this helps!

Posted on: Sun, 06/24/2018 - 16:36

Use a resistance band to assist!