The Nordic Hamstring Exercise

I was recently reading the article “The Nordic Eccentric Hamstring Exercise for Injury Prevention in Soccer Players” that was published in the National Strength and Conditioning Journal in 2008.  If you would like to read this article in more detail, please click here to purchase it.

In Australia, especially Melbourne where Australian Rules Football is the most popular sporting code, hamstring injuries are very common.  Whilst the Nordic hamstring exercise has been around for some time, I am seeing that there is more and more information out there suggesting that the Nordic Hamstring Exercise can be used to help with hamstring injury prevention.  Below I have outlined some of the key take home messages that I took from this article.

Research Findings

The study reported that nordic hamstring eccentric exercises were more effective in developing maximal eccentric hamstring strength than hamstring curls.

A 10 week nordic hamstring exercise program performed in pre season can be an effective means to help reduce hamstring injuries.


  • The nordic hamstring exercise requires 2 people to be able to perform it.
  • Start in a kneeling position with the knees flexed at 90 degrees, the hips slightly flexed and an upright torso.
  • The partner must secure the individuals ankles to the floor throughout the exercise.
  • The individual then falls from the knees, resisting the fall for as long as possible by using the hamstrings.
  • As the individual approaches the ground they should place their hands out in front to stop themselves from falling and hitting themselves.
  • The individual should try and keep the hips in a slightly flexed position throughout the exercise.

Implementing The Exercise

  • The nordic hamstring exercise requires no equipment.
  • 2 people are required to perform this exercise.
  • Load can be increased by attempting to withstand the fall for longer.
  • Once 12 repetitions can be withstood, load can be increased by increasing the speed at the starting phase (this may involve some gentle pushing by someone).
  • The exercise can be regressed by using a band to offload some weight.
  • Once a competitive season starts, the training frequency should drop to 1 – 2 times per week.  The exercise should be performed in a non fatigued state.
  • It is preferable to perform the exercise on a soft surface.
  • Caution must be taken if implementing this exercise with people with a previous history of hamstring injuries.

Other exercises commonly performed in the strength and conditioning training environment that I feel would also benefit from further research into hamstring injury prevention include glute ham raise, romanian deadlift, good morning, deadlift and reverse hyper.  All of these exercises focus on training the posterior chain (glutes, hamstrings) and I believe these all can play a significant role in not only developing strength and power, but may also work to help reduce hamstring injuries.

This blog article was written by osteopath Heath Williams of Principle Four Osteopathy.  Principle Four Osteopathy is one of Melbourne City CBD and Docklands leading osteopathy clinics.  We provide a range of services that includes hands on manual therapy, exercise prescription for rehabilitation, strength and conditioning and performance, functional movement screening and ergonomic risk assessments.

If you would like to find out more about our practice, please check us out at   Appointments can be made by calling 03 9670 9290 or booking online at