Plank + straps for Nordic leg curls and Matrix leg extensions

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Massimo Kokhno
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Re: Plank + straps for Nordic leg curls and Matrix leg extensions

Post by Massimo Kokhno » Sun Feb 10, 2019 10:27 pm

Doing upside down squats or Nordic curls from a toe or heel hang sounds scary, I can try for fun but with inversion boots or a strap around the feet it's just safer.

Regarding the range of motion in leg curls, I've done a test where I lied down and determined the highest amount of knee flexion at which I can pause, here is a comparison image with the range of motion of the inversion boots version, which I rotated:
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Image
I'm not sure if through end range hamstring mobility training I can increase the lying down knee flexion or if I'm already at the limit where the calf and hamstring obstruct each other, like when the bicep prevents further elbow flexion.

I think 30-45° decline Nordic curls could be a good exercise to strengthen a full range of motion. Also lying leg curls with a resistance band (or a pulley to have an objective weight measurement) could be good too. And testing how much weight I can use on leg curl machines would be interesting.

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Re: Plank + straps for Nordic leg curls and Matrix leg extensions

Post by Vagabond » Mon Feb 11, 2019 1:58 am

Definitely, keep experimenting! And yeah, the heel hang is a more "acrobatic" thing. It's used in circus in aerial arts like trapeze and hoop.

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Massimo Kokhno
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Re: Plank + straps for Nordic leg curls and Matrix leg extensions

Post by Massimo Kokhno » Tue Feb 12, 2019 3:30 am

I'll give heel hangs a try and see if I can overcome my fear and do it safely, I haven't seen thick mattresses in the gym though to use in case I fall. What's the trick with toe hangs? Looks like they don't require extreme dorsiflexion, however I assume the tibialis/front of the shin muscles need to be strong. Have you seen one heel hangs? I've found the one foot version:
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I wonder if these hangs can be solid enough for squats and leg curls. The best solution would be to use straps like they do in gymnastics and gimbarr:
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Any advice about the size of the straps and about setting them up? I've seen several videos of "foot giant swings" but not how they got in position. I tried tightening ring straps and then using them to imitate that setup but must have messed up something, since I managed to hang but expended quite a lot of energy to attach the feet. My messed up set up (1:53 if it does not jump to the right point):
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Would tightened ring straps instead of the fixed size looped ones work well if I used the correct method?

And I've asked a trainer about what limits maximum active knee flexion, he said maybe I could get slightly more by stretching my hip flexors but my shin and calf probably put a hard limit on it. In comparison my friend who can do the 90° knees inverted Nordic curls on a bar can get his heel quite close to the butt since his muscles are smaller.

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Re: Plank + straps for Nordic leg curls and Matrix leg extensions

Post by Vagabond » Tue Feb 12, 2019 5:04 am

For the foot straps, I have no idea, as it's not something I have ever experimented with (we never put our feet on bars in men's gymnastics, even for Endos and Stalders, the feet aren't supposed to touch the bar).

The one heel hang is possible, I have friends who told me they'd seen it. I'm not an aerialist, so I don't watch much aerials videos, but I'm sure they're out there. A good trick to learning it safely is to set your bar low, and to hang long straps from the bar on each side of you so that you have something to hold onto if you feel your heels slipping (same for the feet in toe hangs). Actually, you could just start hanging from the straps, place your heels, and then slowly release the straps and let your hands slide lower on them. Should be pretty safe that way. If you do fall, look at your feet and fall on your mid back. I don't advise it without a mat tho.

As for the toe hangs, the main muscles used are the tibialis anterior, indeed, but with proper technique, it's more about pain tolerance than about massive tibialis anterior strength, even for the one toe hangs. But the bar should be set as close to the ankle as possible. When I first tried them, I did it with the bar just below my toe knuckles because it hurt less. It required stronger tibialis anteriors. But to do it properly and efficiently, the bar has to be as close to the shin as possible. You'll feel like the bone on top of your foot is being crushed, but it's okay, it'll toughen up if you practice. One toe hangs use the same principle, but with more weight on one foot, so it hurts more. I've never trained them, but I can hold one foot for a couple seconds before going down. The way to get into it is to start with one foot fully hooked with the bar at the ankle, and the bar closer to the toes of the other foot so it's easier to shift your weight to your supporting foot and then take the assisting foot off the bar.

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Re: Plank + straps for Nordic leg curls and Matrix leg extensions

Post by Massimo Kokhno » Sat Apr 27, 2019 10:47 pm

Here are two additions to the arsenal, they have in common the use of a tight padded strap around the feet attached with a carabinier to another strap attached to a bar. An imitation of inversion boots, with the advantage that much more weight can be supported and the feet can't slip out accidentally, but the disadvantage of it taking longer to get attached/detached from the bar.

Inverted pistol squats require more skill for setting oneself up without losing energy fumbling around with the carabinier, and my best range was around 90° knee flexion.
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Inverted Nordic curls require less energy to set up even when fumbling around, since the stall bars offer more support, I can get slightly more knee flexion but only through explosiveness, it's too hard for me to pause at the top, it's a long term goal.
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Both exercises could be useful to train the hamstring in a more flexed position, but for me it's something to try occasionally to see if I got closer to full knee flexion or the calf touching the hamstring, I'd rather build the strength with normal Nordic curls and express/test it sometimes in these fun exercises. I prefer inverted Nordic curls, they give me a greater feeling of power.

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Re: Plank + straps for Nordic leg curls and Matrix leg extensions

Post by Vagabond » Sun Apr 28, 2019 6:33 pm

They do look pretty darn cool!

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Re: Plank + straps for Nordic leg curls and Matrix leg extensions

Post by Against Gravity » Tue Apr 30, 2019 12:47 am

Massimo Kokhno wrote:
Sat Apr 27, 2019 10:47 pm
Here are two additions to the arsenal, they have in common the use of a tight padded strap around the feet attached with a carabinier to another strap attached to a bar. An imitation of inversion boots, with the advantage that much more weight can be supported and the feet can't slip out accidentally, but the disadvantage of it taking longer to get attached/detached from the bar.

Inverted pistol squats require more skill for setting oneself up without losing energy fumbling around with the carabinier, and my best range was around 90° knee flexion.
Click to show or hide
Inverted Nordic curls require less energy to set up even when fumbling around, since the stall bars offer more support, I can get slightly more knee flexion but only through explosiveness, it's too hard for me to pause at the top, it's a long term goal.
Click to show or hide
Both exercises could be useful to train the hamstring in a more flexed position, but for me it's something to try occasionally to see if I got closer to full knee flexion or the calf touching the hamstring, I'd rather build the strength with normal Nordic curls and express/test it sometimes in these fun exercises. I prefer inverted Nordic curls, they give me a greater feeling of power.
That's very creative!

By the way, have you tried aiming to get a full ROM rep (with a top position pause) through arms self-assistance? I mean: using your arms in a sort of an inverted pull-up (by grabbing another strap, for example) to assist the concentric motion.

The cool thing is that, if you manage to get a full ROM rep that way, you could then use the pulley-assisted method to build up to inverted pistol squats or nordic curls in a very progressive, measurable way.

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Massimo Kokhno
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Re: Plank + straps for Nordic leg curls and Matrix leg extensions

Post by Massimo Kokhno » Wed May 01, 2019 11:43 pm

Thank you, I've tried an inverted pistol squat with the hands on a strap, it could work as a progression.

I don't know if it's worth training specifically this flexed knee range of motion, or if there is sufficient transfer from Nordic curls.

I have an idea for a possibly more practical version of inverted pistol squats: foot attached to a low bar so that it's easier to set up and the back is on the floor, reducing the intensity and allowing more range of motion.

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Re: Plank + straps for Nordic leg curls and Matrix leg extensions

Post by Against Gravity » Thu May 02, 2019 11:55 pm

Massimo Kokhno wrote:
Wed May 01, 2019 11:43 pm
I don't know if it's worth training specifically this flexed knee range of motion, or if there is sufficient transfer from Nordic curls.
Probably nordic curls are a more efficient exercise for strength gains, but if you want the full ROM of that exercise, specificity is necessary too. You know, SAID principle.

It would be interesting to test how many reps you can do while keeping the same ROM - and then, add weight (holding it in your hands) and build up for that same number of reps and ROM. Theoretically, when you do it without any weight, you should be able to do either further ROM or more reps with the same ROM. Only the former is interesting, though. If a weighted variation helps to build extra ROM. then you could use it as a progression method as well.

Anyway, keep it up with the experiments, I think there's always something to learn from them (either what works, or what doesn't)

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Massimo Kokhno
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Re: Plank + straps for Nordic leg curls and Matrix leg extensions

Post by Massimo Kokhno » Tue Oct 22, 2019 10:28 pm

So I made a video with all the simplest setups I know of. I think I should make a new thread later about them, and keep this one for discussing the plank setup specifically, since it's useful for quad and core work too (I have an idea for decline situps, and it's already proven to work for dragon flags).



The coolest thing is that I can reliably use trees and poles, the two leg version works as long as I can put a foot on each side, but for one leg a wider diameter works too. I wonder if there are good ways of doing two leg reps with a very wide tree, then the versatility would increase a lot.

An idea would be to tighten a strap around the tree and attaching to that strap a tube to use it as an anchor point. I think it could work because the friction from tightening the strap already works to hold up a pull up bar, like in the video below:



There's a product called Ham Toner that is very expensive ($300) but shows that spikes with a drill bit can be used as an anchor point for Nordic curls. I wonder what would be the lowest price for 1-2 spikes that would still work and not get dug up by the pressure of straight body concentrics, since instead of the padding you could just fit a looped strap through a hole in the top of the spike, for example. The Ham Toner is installed like this:



The ultimate goal would be to have light and cheap tools that fit in a small backpack and allow to do Nordic curls with any tree or even on empty fields. I don't know what's the most cost efficient and compact form of knee padding, because the foam pad I have is comfortable but it's too big, and at $20 I don't think it's the most cost-efficient solution.

Regarding the range of motion in inverted Nordic curls, I wonder how much it would improve if I get good with 45° decline Nordic curls, I can train them at home with the plank on stairs and outside by attaching a strap to a tree that is on a sloped surface.