Tight Hamstrings?

What Causes Tight Hamstrings? And how to stretch them!


Tight Hamstrings are commonly caused by poor stretching or in fact not stretching at all, before a strength or endurance training session this is the main cause of tight hamstrings. But even if you’re not getting these sessions throughout your week you can still experience similar symptoms. Pay attention to your activities throughout the day. Are you sitting at a desk from nine to five? You may find this can create similar symptoms to tightness caused by exercise.


Over time, sitting actually shortens and weakens the hamstring, this results in tighter muscles that are unable to extend properly during exercise. When your knees are bent in a seated position your hamstrings are both flexed and shortened, two things this muscle really doesn’t like to do for hours in a day.


More causes of tight hamstrings are pelvic alignment and tight hip flexors. This shows how connected our bodies are. When we overwork the hamstring without stretching, it will pull the pelvis out of line which causes tension in the lower back, this will also weaken our hip flexors and abdominals. Your pelvis connects everything from your spine all the way down to your feet, so any pulling on your hamstrings causes a posterior tilt, this is where your hips go back and up and will result in tightness and will bring on pain.


Stiffness in the hip flexors can actually create an anterior tilt, this pushes your pelvis forward and down resulting in again tight hamstrings. If the hip muscles in the front of your body pull your pelvis forward, your hamstrings will naturally flex to follow and protect your lower back.


Follow the stretches above to avoid this tightness and onset pain in your hamstrings.

 

Standing Toe Touch


Step 1: Stand with your feet hip-width apart. Bend forward at your hips and reach for your toes with both hands. Go as far as you can until you feel a slight stretch in your hamstrings.


Step 2: As you breathe, try to lower your hands further deepening the stretch with each exhale.


Step 3: Hold for 15 to 30 seconds. Return to the starting position.

 

Rotating Toe Touch


Step 1: Stand with your feet wider than hip-width apart with your arms stretched out to your sides at shoulder height.


Step 2: Keeping your legs straight and your arms aligned, twist your torso and extend your right arm down toward your left ankle.


Step 3: Hold for 15 to 30 seconds. Return to the starting position and repeat on the opposite side.

 

Lunging Hamstring Stretch

Step 1: Stand with your feet hip-width apart. Lunge forward with your right leg and lower until your back knee hits the ground.


Step 2: With your back knee bent, gently straighten your right leg keeping your hips square and fold forward until you feel a stretch in your hamstring.


Step 3: Hold for 15 to 30 seconds. Return to the starting position and repeat on the opposite side.

 

Seated Single-leg Hamstring Stretch

Step 1: Sit with your right leg extended out straight and your left leg bent your foot rests on the inner thigh of your right leg.


Step 2: Fold forward and reach both arms toward your right foot until you feel a stretch in the back of your leg. Make sure your straight leg remains fully on the ground.


Step 3: Hold for 15 to 30 seconds. Return to the starting position and repeat on the opposite side.

 

Downward Facing Dog

Step 1: Begin on all fours with your knees hip-width apart and hands directly below your shoulders.


Step 2: Press back into your heels to straighten your knees and raise your hips up high into the sky.


Step 3: Keep your head, neck and spine aligned as you press back feeling the stretch in the backs of your legs. Peddle out your feet to deepen the stretch.


Step 4: Hold for 15 to 30 seconds. Return to the starting position.

 

Lying Hamstring Stretch With Band


Step 1: Lie on your back with a resistance band wrapped around your right foot. If you don’t have one, you can use your hands to pull back on your thigh instead.


Step 2: Slowly stretch your right leg up, keeping the opposite leg flat on the floor and both knees straight.


Step 3: Extend as far as you can go until you feel a stretch in the back of your right leg.


Step 4: Hold for 15 to 30 seconds. Return to the starting position and repeat on the opposite side.


 

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