Exploring the Benefits of Inverse Hamstring Curl for Athletes
In any athletic movement, the body works as a unit, ie, no single muscle works in isolation. The #glutes and #hamstrings which are crucial in developing an explosive athlete usually don't get the attention they need.
The hamstrings, especially, happen to be one of the more common areas of the lower body that get strained, tweaked, tears.
The hamstrings have multiple functions. They work to extend the hip, especially in the propulsion phase. They also play a key role in the swing phase of the leg, helping to decelerate the lower leg in the late swing and prepare for foot strike.
They also absorb force when an athlete is slowing down during deceleration, and in turn reduces the risk of injuries, especially to the ACL in the knee.
Additionally, they work to stabilize the pelvis and control movement of the knee and hip when an athlete is changing direction.
This entire blog post could be dedicated to the role the hamstrings play in athletic movement, however, the above provides a summary of it's importance.
We're always looking for exercises that provide the most return. With athletes juggling practice schedules and other life commitments, they need the MOST beneficial exercises to help them get results quick.
The plate-loaded Inverse Hamstring Curl has been a go-to at the end of a strength workout to help us maximize hamstring strength.
Not to be confused with a Nordic Curl, which is a very beneficial but challenging exercise to perform. It requires tremendous eccentric strength to lower the body with the hamstrings, and consequently a lot of strength to return to the start position.
The Inverse curl can accomplish the same goals as the Nordic curl except it's easier to regress. It allows the athlete to progressively build both glute and hamstring strength at the same time, while also working the hamstrings at both the knee and hip joints.
The athlete typically will start at an upright position or can use the pin selector as shown below to set it at a partial range based on training goals and hamstring strength levels.
Athletes will then load weights on the side of the machine that act as a counter-weight, so that the athlete can perform the full range of motion all the down as well as making it much easier to return to the start position.
In this case, the stronger the athlete, the less weight they'll need on the side of the machine and vice versa.
Ankles are kept dorsiflexed, hips down, as the athlete lowers down and back up.
Yes, it also strengthens the lower back which is another bonus.
As the athletes develops strength, we can progress the exercise by changing hand position. It's truly one of our favorites:
+ Works multiple joints with 1 movement, which in turn works multiple muscles
+ addresses eccentric (lengthening) and concentric (shortening) phases of the movement
+ easy to regress and progress
+ takes the hamstrings through it's full range of motion
+ provides targeted work on the hamstrings
A Parisi Coach and athlete's favorite!