Banded Nordic Hamstring Exercise: Let’s Build Those Hammies!
What Is A Banded Nordic Hamstring?
A banded hamstring is a group of muscles located along the front of your thigh. These hamstrings are made up of three parts: the gastrocnemius, soleus, and semimembranosus. The gastrocnemius runs from your heel to your knee while the soleus runs from your ankle to your shin. The semimembranosus runs from your calf to your shin.
The bands used in the exercise are called “bandolos” and they consist of two pieces of elastic material, one around each leg. They stretch out over time and allow you to work all three groups of hamstrings simultaneously. You may have heard that these exercises can increase flexibility in the calves, but I don’t think it does much for the hamstrings themselves because the bands do not actually stretch them.
How To Do The Bands Exercise: Banded Nordic Hamstring Exercise With Partner
You will need some sort of resistance when doing the banded hamstring exercise. You could use a weight or even just hold onto something else. If you want to work the calves, then holding onto a wall or other surface would be good. However, if you want to focus on strengthening your hamstrings, then simply using weights is fine.
These instructions will assume that you are using weights. Many gyms have small weights that you can use. I’m not sure what they are actually called, but they look like little hexagonal shaped blocks of metal with a handle on each side. The blocks are hollow inside and you can put the handles on either end of a weight plate on one side and then another weight plate on the other side to make them heavier.
Purposefully pick a weight that is fairly heavy, but not too much so that you can’t do at least five reps. The first thing you will want to do is stand facing a wall and hold the weights in each hand at your sides. Turn the front part of your feet out about 20-30 degrees and keep your heels planted on the floor. This is the starting position.
Now, slowly bend your knees and allow your hips to bend forward. Keep going until you can touch the outside of your knee with your hand.
Return to the starting position by straightening your legs and pushing your hips back until you are standing straight again. Do this slowly and deliberately. After doing this for a while, you will probably want to increase the weight because it won’t seem like much of a challenge anymore.
Things To Keep In Mind With The Banded Nordic Hamstring:
It is important to keep good form when doing any exercise, but this one is probably even more important because you are using extra resistance. Make sure that you don’t swing your legs and keep your feet flat on the floor at all times.
Breathe in as you are bending your knees and relax as you lift your hips. Don’t rush through the exercise. This is supposed to be a hamstring stretch, not a quick way to work your thighs!
Keep repeating this exercise until you feel a stretch in the back of your legs. Hold the stretch for at least 20 seconds and do three sets.
Tips For Hamstring Stretching With The Banded Nordic Hamstring:
If you want to increase the stretch in the back of your legs, then do what is known as a “dorsiflexion”. In other words, try to pull your toes up towards your body as you are in the stretched position. You can only do this once your legs are warmed up a bit, though.
I’ve found that stretching your hamstrings in this manner greatly increases the range of motion in your leg during kicks and also loosens up the muscles to allow you to kick even harder.
You have to be very careful when you are kicking heavy bags or focus mitts while you are doing these stretches, though. Your legs are going to feel much looser than they normally do and you don’t want to pull something. Go slow and be careful when first getting used to this exercise.
Stand in front of a sturdy chair that you can grasp for balance, if necessary. The back of the chair should be right behind your knees.
Cross your legs, bend them and sit down on the chair so that the backs of your legs are resting on the seat. Your thighs should be parallel with the floor still.
Slowly lean forward and try to touch your toes. You won’t be able to do so, but this is still a good stretch. Hold the stretch for at least 20 seconds and do two sets.
This is a very effective stretch, but you have to remember that you are leaning over and stretching muscles in your back and your hamstrings, so be careful not to fall or pull something!
Sources & references used in this article:
Soccer anatomy by DT Kirkendall, A Sayers – 2020 – books.google.com
Anabolic steroids: the gremlins of sport by T Todd – Journal of sport history, 1987 – JSTOR
Tools of Titans: The Tactics, Routines, and Habits of Billionaires, Icons, and World-Class Performers by T Ferriss – 2017 – books.google.com