Hamstring stretching

Hamstring stretching

The hamstring muscle group attaches from the buttock region to behind the knee. If the hamstrings are tight this can increase the load on the hips, knees, calf and lower back.

When you sit for long periods you may slump, rounding your lower back and allowing your hamstrings to tighten.

Is there another cause for tight hamstrings?

For some people stretching your hamstrings may not make much difference to your flexibility. Assessment by a Physiotherapist will enable a diagnosis as to this continued reduced flexibility. For some people neural tightness (often sciatic nerve tightness/limitation may be the cause). This reduced neural tissue extensibility requires a modified approach to stretching.

Check out your true hamstring length:

Sit on the chair, with a ‘tall posture’. Keep the back still and straighten the knee, only to the point where your low back begins to move. This is the sensation you should experience if you are doing a standing hamstring stretch- so the heel is in front with the knee straight , bend the trunk but keep the back flat

Hamstring stretches:

You are often best to stretch your hamstrings lying down, so that you don’t ’cheat’ rounding your back. It is important when stretching the hamstrings in isolation, that the low back remains flat, therefore modifications may be required, such as softening the knees, sitting on a block or bolster to reduce lower back tension. Another aspect of hamstring stretching is to remember that the hamstrings have three components, so you can increase the stretching by turning the thigh in, keeping it straight or turning the thigh out from the hip.