How to Stretch Your Hamstrings Correctly

How to Stretch Your Hamstrings Correctly


Hi Mark Moore here. At More Physical
Therapy one of the main things we do is teach people how to stretch and
strengthen soft tissues. One of the most commonly stretched muscle groups in the body, I would say, would be the hamstrings. If I asked my
patients “Do you stretch?” usually they would say “Oh yeah I do stretches all the time” and I’ll say “What stretch do you do?” and almost everybody says “This stretch…”
(they reach down to or their toes) This stretches the hamstrings which are the muscles on the back of our of our legs. When you bend forward to touch your toes you will stretch those muscle
groups. these are some of the biggest muscle groups in our body. But, it
surprises me how few people know how to stretch the hamstring in all the ways
that we can do it. So, here is the common stretch for the hamstring. 1) First a simple way to stretch your hamstring. Lay on your back with one leg flat and
we’ll stretch the right leg. In the common stretch, the right leg is
straight and then pull it towards your head As you pull the muscle, the back of
the leg (the hamstring) gets lengthened out and tightened and you will feel a
stretch across the muscles and tendons. You’ll feel this stretch behind the knee it can be kind of kind of a painful stretch. If you’re really forcefully you’ll feel a painful stretch back here it’ll kind of sting. That’s the most common way we
stretch it but here is a simple way to modify the stretch and it’s a stretch
to make it more effective. 2) A more Effective Hamstring Stretch. Start with the knee bent, not straight and bring this knee toward your chest as close as you can and take hold of your hands behind your knee. Take your bent knee and bring it towards your chest. With your leg in position start to straighten your leg. The knee is still a little bent but she should be feeling a stretch now right in the middle of that muscle belly as opposed
to back behind the knee. This stretch doesn’t sting like the first and you’ll get a really good stretch by actively pulling that leg close and straightening it. If I push passively on her foot, this is a great way to get that hamstring really isolated and to get the
muscle belly, the center of the muscle, stretched out, not just the tendons
behind the knee. One more thing that’s really important
to know is that people who have lower back issues, like nerve pain shooting down their legs, this is really the only way you can
stretch the hamstring without negatively affecting that nerve that is having a problem. If you’re having those radicular symptoms,
like sciatica or radiculopathy, patients have to know this to stretch your hamstrings out. Hopefully you can integrate these into
your low back stretches, or for athletes, into your pre-performance stretching. Even after you exercise, this stretch can increased elasticity in your muscles to
increase your performance.

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