The 3 Best Hamstring Stretches are easy to do and they should not hurt. You don't need any fancy equipment. But, read to the end to find out which is the best for you.
Supine Hamstring Stretch
Seated Hamstring Stretch
Standing Hamstring Stretch
Stretching for the purpose of lengthening muscle tissue should be performed at the end of an exercises session. This is a great way to help your muscles relax after a tough work out.
An active or dynamic warm up is typically best before your workout. This may involve:
The thought process behind stretching has changed over the past couple of decades. Stretching used to be recommended before exercise. But stretching IS an exercise and it is important to warm up a muscle before stretching. Warm muscles stretch better than cold muscles.
Avoid Stretching the Hamstrings if:
Hamstring tightness is common but preventable. The best way to tell if you have tight hamstrings is with a 90/90 test.
Lie on the back with the leg in the same positions as the Supine Hamstring Stretch described earlier. If you can easily extend the knee within about 20 degrees of being straight, your hamstrings are not tight. If you cannot extend within 20 degrees of a straight leg, this is considered a tight hamstring.
The hamstring are a group of muscles in the back of the thigh. They attach to the Ischium or the "butt bone". They run down the thigh and attach below the knee. The Hamstrings help to bend the knee and extend the hip with walking and daily activity. The 3 muscles that make up the hamstrings are labelled in the illustration below.
As you can see in the diagram above, the hamstring muscles separate and do not run directly behind the knee. If there is tightness behind the knee, it may be from swelling inside the knee joint capsule. This can happen with knee arthritis or any other injury inside the knee.
All 3 of the Best Hamstring stretches are effective if done correctly. But, if you have a history of lower back pain, the supine Hamstring stretch may be the best for you.
When lying on the back, the force of gravity is not transferred through the spinal discs and joints. This allows for isolated stretching in the hamstrings with less stress on the lower back. If you have radiating pain or Sciatica, stretching may increase the pain. So talk to a doctor or physical therapist before stretching with Sciatica.
If you have Hamstring pain or knee pain, the Jacksonville Orthopaedic Institute can help. To schedule an appointment with a JOI Orthopedic Doctor, call (904)JOI-2000, schedule online, or click the link below. To see a JOI Rehab Therapist in 1 of our 12 locations, call (904)858-7045.
To learn about stretching the lower back, read this article on Lower Back Stretches.