Mastering Nordic Curls: A Comprehensive Guide to Optimal Strength Using a GHD Machine

Training Library  >  Nordic Curl

Watch along as Benji demonstrates how to properly perform the Nordic Curl with the Nordic Hyper GHD.

Muscles Targeted:

  • Primary: Hamstrings
  • Secondary: Glutes, Low Back, Calves

Form Cues:

  • Straight body from head to knee
  • Squeeze glutes and hamstrings
  • Control the way down
  • Explode up from the bottom without reaching the butt back

Unlocking the Power of Nordic Curls

Whether you're a seasoned athlete seeking to elevate your performance or a fitness enthusiast eager to diversify your routine, Nordic curls offer a pathway to unlocking the true potential of your hamstrings. In this comprehensive guide, we explore the benefits, techniques, and progressions of Nordic curls, providing you with the tools to integrate this dynamic exercise into your workout regimen.

Discover the synergy between Nordic curls and the Nordic Hyper GHD machine, and unlock a new dimension of strength, flexibility, and athletic performance. One of the most effective hamstring exercises, get ready to discover why Nordic curls are a game-changer in the realm of functional fitness



How to Perform a Nordic Curl with Precision

Although you can create a labor-intensive setup to perform a Nordic curl, the Nordic Hyper GHD allows you to anchor yourself with ease and adjust the angle of the pad so you can adjust the level of difficulty. Nordic curls can be difficult at first, so having a machine that can support your progression and give you the security to move with precision is a must.

Here’s how you do a Nordic curl with the Nordic Hyper GHD:

  1. Set up: Secure your lower legs, by anchoring your feet into the pads, just above your ankles.
  2. Positioning: Keep your hips extended and your torso upright and engage your core to maintain a straight line from your knees to your head.
  3. Lowering phase: Slowly lean forward at the hips, squeezing your glutes and hamstrings, as you lower your upper body toward the pad. Control the descent by using your glutes and hamstrings to resist gravity.
  4. Full extension: Lower your body until your hips and lower stomach touch the pad or until you can no longer control the movement.
  5. Rising phase: Do not rest on the pad. Just slightly touch the pad and explode back up to the starting position. Maintain control and a straight line, squeezing your glutes and hamstrings for the whole movement.

To get the most out of this exercise, follow these tips for performance:

  • Start with a controlled descent and gradually increase the difficulty as you get stronger.
  • Perform the exercise in a controlled manner to avoid straining your hamstrings.
  • Squeeze your glutes and hamstrings and engage your core throughout the movement to maintain proper body alignment.

The Nordic curl is an advanced hamstring exercise, and it's important to listen to your body. If you're a beginner, consider starting with assistance and gradually progressing to the Nordic curl as your strength increases.


Progressions for the Nordic Curl Using a Nordic Curl Bench

Progressing with Nordic curls on a GHD machine allows you to increase the difficulty with control so you can work yourself up to a full Nordic curl and beyond. To get started or progress, use these variations to gradually build strength while following the tips and cues from the previous section for performing the Nordic curl:

Assisted Nordic Curl:
  • Begin with the pad of the GHD set at hip level.
  • Kneel on the machine facing down, securing your feet under the footpad.
  • Lower your upper body slowly towards the ground, using your hands to push back up.
  • Gradually decrease the assistance from your hands over time.
Partial Range of Motion:
  • Set the GHD at hip level.
  • Perform Nordic curls but limit the range of motion. Focus on control during both the descent and ascent phases.
  • As your strength improves, gradually increase the range of motion.
Full Range of Motion (Eccentric Emphasis):
  • Lower the pad of the GHD to a level slightly above the ground.
  • Start in a kneeling position and slowly lower your upper body towards the floor with a controlled eccentric motion.
  • Use your hands to assist in pushing yourself back up.
  • Gradually reduce the assistance from your hands.
Unassisted Full Range of Motion:
  • Once you can control the eccentric phase, aim to perform the full Nordic curl without assistance.
  • Focus on maintaining proper form and control throughout the movement.
Weighted Nordic Curl:
  • Secure your feet and set the GHD at a suitable height.
  • Hold a weight plate against your chest or use other forms of resistance.
  • Perform the Nordic curl with added resistance, gradually increasing the weight as you become stronger.
Single-Leg Nordic Curl:
  • Elevate one leg off the ground and perform the Nordic curl using only the working leg.
  • This variation adds instability, challenging the hamstrings and enhancing balance.
Elevated Nordic Curl:
  • Place the GHD at a higher setting, increasing the angle of your body relative to the ground.
  • This increases the intensity and places more emphasis on the hamstrings.
Remember to progress gradually, focusing on proper form and control. It's essential to listen to your body and avoid pushing yourself too quickly, especially if you're new to Nordic curls or using the GHD machine.

The Benefits of Doing Nordic Curls

The Nordic curl is considered an excellent exercise because it targets the hamstrings in a unique and challenging way. Here are some reasons why the Nordic curl is beneficial and the types of individuals it can help:

  • Isolation of hamstrings and glutes: The Nordic curl specifically targets the hamstrings and glutes, helping to isolate and strengthen these muscles effectively.
  • Eccentric emphasis: The exercise places a strong emphasis on the eccentric (lengthening) phase of the hamstring muscles. This eccentric loading is important for muscle strength and injury prevention.
  • Functional strength: The Nordic curl mimics the type of muscle activation and control needed during activities like running, jumping, and deceleration. This makes it a functional exercise that can contribute to overall athletic performance.
  • Injury prevention: Strengthening the hamstrings can contribute to injury prevention, particularly in activities that involve explosive movements or changes in direction.
  • Balance with quadriceps: Many individuals may have an imbalance between the strength of their quadriceps and hamstrings. Strengthening the hamstrings with exercises like the Nordic curl can help restore this balance, reducing the risk of injury.
  • Improved posture: Strong hamstrings are essential for maintaining good posture and supporting the health of the lower back.
  • Versatility: The Nordic curl can be adapted to different fitness levels by adjusting the assistance or resistance. Beginners can start with assistance, and advanced individuals can add resistance for greater intensity.
  • Athletes and fitness enthusiasts: Athletes involved in sports that require strong hamstrings, such as soccer, football, and track and field, can benefit from including Nordic curls in their training regimen.
  • Rehabilitation: The Nordic curl can be a valuable rehabilitation exercise for individuals recovering from hamstring injuries. It allows for controlled strengthening without excessive stress on the injured muscles.
  • Overall lower body strength: While the Nordic curl primarily targets the hamstrings, it also engages the glutes, core, and lower back, contributing to overall lower body strength and stability.

If you’re ready to unlock your full fitness potential start performing Nordic curls with the Nordic Hyper GHD. This machine allows you to do Nordic curls with precision, tailor-made to your fitness level. Not only does the machine progress as you get stronger, but you can also perform a variety of exercises on this single, easy-to-store machine.

Why Train The NORDIC CURL?

Muscles Targeted


  • Primary: Hamstrings
  • Secondary: Glutes, Low Back, Calves


Form Cues


  • Straight body from head to knee
  • Squeeze glutes and hamstrings
  • Control the way down
  • Explode up from the bottom without reaching the butt back


assemble & get started with the nordic hyper