F.I.T. Tips: The Short Range Hamstring Curl 

With Gavin Buehler


If you've been following our newsletters, you'll know that I am a big fan of hamstring strength work. Once again this is an older post that's worth a revisit. In the video I mention a class that I used to coach at ALC. I no longer do this class, however if you are interested in a functional mobility class, please feel free to let me know. Perhaps we can bring it back.


This is a movement that I picked up from Dr. Spina’s FRC material. I love it because it addresses the top range (short or end range) portion of a hamstring curl or knee flexion which is so often neglected. Most hamstring movements focus on the mid or low range, and the movements that are supposed to include the top range are often performed poorly, leaving it out anyway. In many cases people don’t even have to flexibility to perform work for this range and that’s the other reason why I like this movement. It also works on quad flexibility at the same time, in particular the rectus femoris that crosses both the knee and hip joint which is often a restricting muscle for many people.


I like using this as a movement prep/warm-up movement especially on a lower body focused day. The set-up is key to making this an effective movement and for those that can’t get into this position, the video below offers an alternative set-up.


Cramping or muscle spasms in the hamstrings are common when first attempting this movement. This is a normal response and will pass once your body and brain adapt to the pattern.


This exercise should be performed slow and controlled throughout.

Start in a half-kneeling rec fem stretch position keeping head, shoulders, hips and planted knee aligned with one another. Hold the foot of your back leg up as close to your butt as you can manage.


Slowly release your foot while squeezing hamstrings and glutes controlling the negative all the way down to the ground. Try not to let your foot just sling shot out of your hand. Slowly curl your leg back up to the top position as far as possible before assisting with hand as little as possible and returning to start.


Suggested variables:

2-3 sets, 3-6 reps/side, slow and controlled throughout. (4-5 seconds to lower, 3-4 seconds to return to start.)


As always, this video is for educational purposes only. Please consult a health professional before attempting new exercises or protocols, as the following suggestions may or may not be appropriate for you.