Okay, so remember when I shared those calf stretches with you because of my tight calves? Well, I think the root of the problem may actually be higher in the legs around the hamstrings. Well ever since that massage I had and the masseuse proclaiming how tight and ropey I was around there, I couldn’t help but notice just how bad it was.
I’ve always sort of felt the tightness and pain around those areas but just thought it was typical. Well pain be no more! Ahhh, not exactly- but I am hoping to rectify the situation slightly with some hamstring stretches. Lets start shall we:
Standing Hamstring Stretch
This is probably the most frequent one I’ve been doing (and feeling) lately. I prefer to keep the foot flat on the ground, as opposed to the ankle flexing and the toe making it’s way towards you (this brings the calves and other muscles into it). Make sure you have a long spine and neck, and rest your arms on your bent supporting leg as you lean over your straightened leg.
Seated Hamstring Stretch
While in my situation I don’t find this stretch quite as good as the one above, it’s still a great one to do. Basically, you hook one leg in and extend the other leg long with your ankle flexed back. Reach over to that lengthened leg as much as possible. Try to maintain a straight back and don’t huddle over your leg. I felt this stretch less around the back of the knee (which is where I’m most sore atm). Also, you’ll probably feel this around the lower back and side of the back- so be careful not to over do it or you’ll end up fixing one problem and creating another.
Lying Down Hamstring Stretch
This is probably a harder stretch for me to master since I am so tight in the hammys. You start by lying on your back and lifting one leg down towards yourself. I prefer to keep the ankle neutral. I find maintaining a straight leg stretches the back of the leg better, whereas bending the knee eases the tension slightly and works the upper part of the leg into the bum more (personally). Options include using a towel and hooking it around your foot (would require a flexed ankle), extending your other leg long, or crawling up your leg so your upper half of the body is off the ground and closer to the stretched leg.
Two-legged Standing Hamstring Stretch
After just trying this stretch again I think I have a second favourite hamstring stretch. This one can get pretty intense, especially if you maintain straight legs. The aim is to have your legs together or slightly apart (the further apart the easier/less intense) and to bend your body over with your arms out to reach your toes or the floor. If this is too difficult you can place your hands on your thighs or shins (try to avoid the knees as it puts too much pressure on it). A slight knee bend is also allowed if you need. This stretch works both hamstrings at the same time. Make sure your weight is even in both legs.
Triangle Leg Hamstring Stretch
I actually made the name of this one up (actually I made all of the names up haha) and had trouble finding a picture of it. This one I do regularly in body balance and for some odd reason really enjoy doing it. Stand straight on and split your legs apart (remaining to the front) so from the side your legs make a triangle with the ground. Maintaing straight legs bend forwards to lay your body over your front leg. Keep both feet firmly on the ground, heels included (ignore photo in this instance). The lower you go and the closer to your front leg- the more intense. I find this one works really well for higher up the leg. If you need to feel free to slightly bend that front leg.
If you enjoyed this post and would like to check out some others similar, here they are:
[Please remember I am not a professional and please consult a medical professional before attempting if necessary.]
Have you got any hamstring stretches to add?