Hamstrings help shift our torso back and forth, flex the knee, extend the hip, outwardly rotate the lower leg, and antagonize the quads to decelerate knee extension. These guys work hard!
Here are some of the many ways that our useful hamstrings collaborate in our motion requests. Thank them, exercise them smartly, don't stretch the heck out of them, they work hard already!
If your Hamstring group is chronically tight, chances are you may also get bouts of low-back pain. This exercise will help calibrate everything so you don't have to compensate (pay for it) up higher.
Ok first let's warm-up otherwise this will not work.
A) Run on your tiptoes. 3 mins. Go slow, go fast, mix it up, get oxygen into your system. Keep head and neck loose. No bouncing whatsoever.
And now more warm-up. It's self -massage therapy done from within. No warm-up, no myofascial release, no newly lengthened hams.
B) Horse Stance (3 mins.) In a couple minutes when the burn mode kicks in, give the body a bone, pant like a dog and let off some steam. Weeping is ok. Stay with it. Do not hyperventilate.
C) Heel Hops and Knee Kicks (3 mins.) Stand evenly on both legs and find your perpendicular balance or plumbline. Come to neutral, relax, be still, breathe, stand tall.
1)Hop thru 10 reps of ankle extensions using your calf to make your heel and fore-foot bounce off the ground. Bounce up a few inches then drop back down.
Yikes I almost lost my balance! Stay strong in your post-leg while you kick.
Yes kick out but be sure to integrate the prior movement into the motion (ie. hop-kick!)
Stay loose and relaxed and kick out to INSIDE of your comfy range of pain-free motion. Pushing your edge happens later...
Ok warm-up is over. Well done! If you're not warm yet then repeat run, horse, hops, and kicks, until you are warm. If you're ready for action now let's do the hamstring lengthening exercise.
1) Raise your STRAIGHT kneed workout leg so your foot is about 6" off the ground (don't lean on anything. Now pump / flex your quad strongly five times and hold static contraction for five seconds.
2) Repeat pumps, holds, and incremental raises, until you can go no higher. Aim for 90 but be happy with what you achieve right now. That's a great start. Well done!
Yes you can lengthen!
Repeat at four day intervals. Let your body rest and recover as you go about normal physical activities but don't "stretch" the hams or hit the hamstring curl machine or all bets are off.
Moving forward...good luck and best wishes for happier hamstring co-existence!
Always ask your doctor before starting a new fitness program, especially if you have pain. This tutorial is for educational purposes only and is not to be used as a substitute for medical care.
Thank you for reading! Tweet me @probodywork
- 1.0 Tight Hamstrings
- 5.0 Minutes of your Time
- 15.0lb Effort
Palo Alto, CA