Your Ultimate Guide to Nordic Curls for Runners: Techniques, Benefits, and Variations

Your Ultimate Guide to Nordic Curls for Runners: Techniques, Benefits, and Variations

The Nordic hamstring curl is a powerhouse move for runners of all levels. It is not just another exercise; it is a strategic tool to boost performance and minimize the risk of hamstring injuries. The Nordic curl has grown in popularity, tracing back to its historical origins. Yet, it's surrounded by controversy regarding its effectiveness and the skepticism it faces from athletes in explosive and dynamic sports. This comprehensive guide will break down the techniques, benefits, and variations of Nordic curls tailored specifically for runners.

What is a Nordic Hamstring Curl?

Nordic curls, also known as hamstring curls, are a form of hamstring exercise that emphasize the eccentric strengthening of the hamstring muscles, including the biceps femoris. This exercise involves anchoring the legs and slowly lowering the body from a kneeling to a near-horizontal position, challenging the hamstrings through their entire range of motion. The exercise is particularly beneficial for runners as it strengthens the muscles critical for knee flexion and hip extension, thus protecting against common strain injuries. Another related exercise, the glute ham raise, has a rich history and is executed from the floor, offering dynamic and explosive athletes significant benefits.

Key Benefits of Nordic Curls for Runners

By strengthening your hamstrings, you are putting less effort on your knee joint whenever you run.

Injury Prevention

Regularly performing Nordic curls helps strengthen the muscles and tendons around the knees and hips, significantly reducing the risk of knee and hamstring strain injuries—a frequent concern among runners.

Enhanced Athletic Performance

Nordic hamstring curls are renowned for their role in improving performance and preventing injuries by enhancing eccentric knee flexor strength. This leads to improved knee extension during sprints, boosting overall athletic performance. Research findings on Nordic hamstring exercises highlight their effectiveness in athletic training, particularly in reducing hamstring injuries among athletes, making them a critical component of injury prevention programs.

Reduction in Muscle Soreness

Integrating Nordic curls can help condition the hamstrings against delayed onset muscle soreness, enabling runners to recover more quickly between training sessions.

How to Perform Nordic Curls with the Nordstick


Secure your ankles with the Nordstick, ensuring it’s properly locked and comfortable. Begin in a kneeling position, with your body upright and hips in a neutral position, to maximize the effectiveness and safety of the exercise.


Gradually lower your body forward, maintaining control and using your hamstrings to resist the motion. The goal is to lower as close to the ground as possible without compromising form. Use your arms to assist in pushing back to the starting position if necessary.

Safety Tips

Start with a limited range of motion and increase gradually as your strength improves. The Nordstick is crucial for ensuring stability and safety throughout the exercise.

Variations to Challenge Different Skill Levels

Nordic curls can be adapted to various skill levels:


Beginners might start with partial movements or assisted reps. We suggest using the OmniStrap to help you perform a perfectly-executed rep from your first try!


Intermediate users can increase the range of motion. You can use a Yoga Ball or a single OmniStrap (as opposed to two) to help increase the difficulty of every rep with a bit of an assitance. 


Advanced practitioners might add weight or perform the exercise unassisted.

Incorporating Nordic Curls into Your Training Routine

Incorporate Nordic curls 1-2 times per week, adjusting based on your training load and recovery. This frequency ensures optimal strength gains without overtaxing the muscles.


Nordic curls are a potent tool in a runner’s training arsenal for improving strength, enhancing performance, and preventing injuries. Their inclusion in your routine can lead to significant benefits, especially when performed consistently and with proper technique.

Ready to take your training to the next level?

Try the Nordstick Pro! It is designed specifically to help you perform Nordic curls with precision and safety. Discover how this tool can transform your training and help you achieve new heights in your running journey.


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