T Nation

Goal: Full Nordic Hamstring


Ever since I first saw this exercise I wondered if it was even possible for some one to do a full rep, eccentric and concentric, no assistance, without sticking their butt out. I have yet to see a video of it anywhere.

Here's a video of one with assistance and a good amount of sticking the butt out.

I want to be able to do that without sticking my butt out at all and no assistance. There's a long winter ahead where I won't be able to run or condition outside (which makes running and conditioning very boring for me). So I'd like to accomplish this in the next several months (pretty insane goal, I could see this taking years).

I've got a sit up bar attached to a door in my house I'll be using to anchor my feet. I'm going to train this exercise four days/week to start and work my way up to six. I'll be doing three different types of reps. All of them without sticking my butt out at all (no cheating!).

  1. Eccentric lowering as far as I can until I fall.
  2. Assisted concentric of the top half (or as close to it as I can get) of the exercise.
  3. Assisted concentric of the bottom half of the exercise (face on the floor starting).

I will be logging how many reps of each exercise I do on each day. I don't want to box myself into setting up a routine of doing certain exercises on each day, I'm just going to play around and see what works. My progression will be by overall weekly reps of each exercise. I'll log my weekly progress on here and once I start getting close to my goal I'll post video.

To start:
Day 1, Monday Dec. 13
12 reps eccentric lowering (EL from now on)
8 reps assisted concentric top half (CT from now on)


Day 2, Wed Dec 15
12 assisted concentric bottom half (CB)
These are really hard, ouch


Day 3, Thursday Dec 16
12 EL
12 CT

Pretty sore today


Are you doing any other training for while attempting this?

I think trying to do it without sticking the butt out may be impossible. At some point you will be making it purely leg flexion instead of leg flexion plus hip extension. Granted, I don't know what I'm talking about, but it seems like it may be biomechanically impossible, i.e. no glue involvement or anything to stabilize the upper body.


I supposed I should have mentioned other training. Yes I'm doing Thib style neural charge workouts a few times a day. Just short circuits of pogo hops, glute bridges, chinup variations, plyo split squats, pushup variations and hockey jumps done a few times through for as many explosive reps as I can manage.

As far as doubting the possibility I've been leaning that way for a long time. I don't think this is physically possible but I'd love to prove myself wrong. And with the glutes I feel it more when I keep them in. Once I get down pretty far I really have to squeeze to stop my torso from 'unlocking' from my hips and letting my butt stick out. Hopefully that makes some sense.


Day 4 Friday Dec 17
16 EL
16 CT
4 CB

This is definitely causing some significant swelling in my hams (hopefully hypertrophy). Woke up today with some nice new tender stretch marks right behind my knees.


Week 1 Totals
Eccentric lower = 40
Concentric top half = 36
Concentric bottom half = 16


Week 2. Day 5 Monday Dec 20
EL = 20
CT = 20

Gonna do 5 days this week. Not measuring but it feels like I can lower myself a couple inches further this week.


Day 6 Tuesday Dec 21

20 CB
4 EL
4 CT


This seems like a really random goal, don't know why someone would particularly care about this exercise.

That said I have done a full nordic ghr keeping my hips locked out. I've never trained the movement and never really had any desire to do so. It doesn't feel like a particularly useful movement to me. I much prefer full ghrs on a glute/ham bench, hypers and reverse hypers.

Obviously strong hamstrings are necessary to be able to do this, but the big reason most people fail to do a proper nordic ghr (ie. without sticking their butt out) is poor glute strength and/or control of pelvic tilt. When doing the movement you must maintain significant tension in your lower abs and glutes in order to maintain a neutral pelvis. Most people go into anterior pelvic tilt, losing tension in their glutes and as a result flexing at the hip. This also shifts significant strain onto the lower back and is the reason you hear people complaining of tweaking their backs with this exercise.

I attribute my ability to do it without having trained the movement to heavy squats and RDLs maintaining good position around the pelvis and strict GHRs on a glute/ham bench maintaining proper position.

The ability to do a strict nordic GHR is a good indicator of posterior chain strength and lumbo/pelvic control which are cetrainly desirable qualities for athletes to have. In my opinion there are better ways to actually train this ablity though than doing negatives on nordics themselves.


First off, thank you for the input!

You're right, this is a pretty random goal. Partly it's because I don't have access to a training facility until late January so I don't have the option of using a ghr bench, squats or RDLS (all exercises I'm a big fan of normally).

I think you sum up quite well why this is an excellent exercise for athletes. Glute, hamstring and lower ab strength are great qualities to develop and this exercise develops those qualities nicely. That seems to me like a good reason to care about this exercise.

I've personally had problems with anterior pelvic tilt in the past and still do to a mild extent and I definitely feel this exercise helping correct that. Maybe it's not the best way to train lower ab, glute and hamstring strength but it's simple, brutally hard, and convenient for me at this time.

And it's good to know this is actually possible!


Day 7 Wed Dec 22
12 EL
12 CT
8 CB


Day 8 Thu Dec 23
24 EL
24 CT


Day 9 Fri Dec 24

24 CB


Week 2 totals:
60 EL (20 more than week 1)
60 CT (+24)
52 CB (+36)

Week 3
Day 10 Mon Dec 27
32 EL
32 CT


Day 11 Tue Dec 28
32 CB


Day 12 Thu Dec 30
32 EL
32 CT


Day 13 Fri Dec 31
8 EL
8 CT

Day 14 Sun Jan 2
32 CB
12 EL
12 CT

Week 3 Totals
84 EL (24 more than week 2)
84 CT (+24)
64 CB (+12)

Can do the bottom half with almost no assistance now, hardest point is right past halfway now. Couple more weeks and I think I'll be pretty close.


Week 4 Day 15 Mon Jan 3
24 EL
24 CT


A little strange goal in itself, but a nice one none the less! :slightly_smiling: I have no doubt that it's possible to do the exercise as you have described it. I'm not sure if my technique is what you are trying to achieve, but I did 4 strict reps before the winter holiday. Here's a clip I uploaded today:

The way I progressed on these was partial negatives -> getting stronger with the bosu ball -> switching the bosu ball out with a pad for constant leverage.

My 2 cents - hope this helps you out on the way.