The Nordic Deadlift

Build Hamstrings and Posterior Chain Strength

A New Way to Deadlift? Probably.

Are you an experienced lifter? Want to try a novel exercise to torch your hamstrings? Do the Nordic deadlift.

This is a close relative to the gold standard of hamstring strength: the Nordic hamstring curl.

I recently broke my ankle and was looking for a way to effectively load my posterior chain without using my ankle. I have a stronger-than-average posterior chain, but the Nordic deadlift lit up my hamstrings in a way I'd never experienced before.

The Details

The Nordic deadlift is essentially a weighted hamstring hip hinge. But I'd consider it closer to a Nordic hamstring curl because that's the only other exercise where I've experienced a similar level of near-maximal hamstring engagement.

You can easily adjust the difficulty level by increasing or decreasing the weight on the bar. The first time I tried it, I was only able to use 30kg total (about 66 pounds), but after hitting it for four consecutive weeks, I worked up to 65kg (143 pounds) for sets of five.

Before you try it, make sure you possess the requisite strength to perform glute ham raises or hamstring hip hinges at bodyweight.

If you don't have a foot attachment, use a lat pulldown machine where you kneel on the seat backward and use the knee pads to secure your legs down. Or use a bench and Smith machine. Place a pad on the bar to secure your legs.

To strengthen your hamstrings and posterior chain effectively, stick to the basics (deadlifts, Romanian deadlifts, and glute-ham raises). You don't need to reinvent the wheel. However, if you're strong, enjoy trying new exercises, or have a foot/ankle injury, the Nordic deadlift is an incredibly high value-for-time exercise.

Tanner Shuck is a former Division 1A football player and accomplished CrossFit athlete. He specializes in competitive fitness, with emphasis on training absolute and relative strength. Tanner is an online coach and personal trainer based out of Dubai, UAE. Follow on Instagram