Share this article on:

The Razor Curl: A Functional Approach to Hamstring Training

Oliver, Gretchen D1,2; Dougherty, Christopher P3

The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research: March 2009 - Volume 23 - Issue 2 - p 401-405
doi: 10.1519/JSC.0b013e31818f08d0
Original Research

Oliver, GD and Dougherty, CP. The razor curl: a functional approach to hamstring training. J Strength Cond Res 23(2): 401-405, 2009-This study examined the effectiveness of a functional hamstring training exercise, the razor curl on conditioning the hamstring and gluteal musculature. Eight healthy, female intercollegiate athletes participated (mean age 20.8 ± 3.9 years; mean height, 177.8 ± 10.9 cm; mean weight, 67.3 ± 9.9 kg). Electromyographic (EMG) data were collected on the following muscles: medial hamstring (semimembranosus and semitendinosus), biceps femoris, gluteus medius, and gluteus maximus while participants performed the razor curl. The functional positioning of the razor curl showed maximum activation of the medial hamstring muscle group of up to 220% of its maximum voluntary isometric contraction (MVIC), just as the biceps femoris displayed a max of up to 140% of MVIC. Maximum activation of the hamstrings and gluteals were observed from the point of 90° of hip flexion to the point of knee flexion beyond 90°. These data reveal that the razor curl does indeed activate the hamstring musculature and based on the mechanics of the razor curl one can train in a more functional position. It is known biomechanically that flexing the hip allows for a lengthening contraction of the hamstring at the hip, thus allowing for a more optimal forceful contraction of the hamstrings at the knee. In conclusion, the razor curl hamstring exercise is designed to increase hamstring contractibility by placing the hip into flexion. By including strengthening the hamstring in a functional position one accentuates other land based training methods such as jump landing training in efforts to ultimately decrease the susceptibility of anterior cruciate ligament injury.

1Graduate Athletic Training Education Program and 2Department of Health, Kinesiology, Recreation, and Dance, University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, Arkansas; and 3Agility Center Orthopedics, Bentonville, Arkansas

Address correspondence to Gretchen D. Oliver,

© 2009 National Strength and Conditioning Association