Lengthen hamstrings


Tight hamstring muscles require regular stretching. There are numerous ways to stretch the hamstring muscles. We explain the more common hamstring stretching exercises and why they work.

The athlete lies on their back and relaxes. The therapist gently lifts a relaxed, straight leg up until the athlete indicates it is uncomfortable to go further. The therapist should notice an increased resistance even before the athlete feels a stretch. The athlete will then feel the stretch beginning and eventually can go no further. Ideally the leg should go vertically upwards without pain for good flexibility. The image opposite shows a 90 degree range of motion which is considered good. Below 80 degrees is considered tight.

When you initiate the stretch, signals from muscle spindles go to the spine which sends back signals to contract the muscle or resist the stretch. After 6 seconds or so the golgi tendon organs send signals overriding the signals from the muscle spindles enabling the muscle to relax into the stretch.

Tight hamstrings have been linked to all kinds of leg, low back and groin pain. These three hamstring muscles in the back of your leg can be quite the trouble makers when it comes to wreaking havoc on your everyday comfort or your athletic training! There is a FREE pdf you can print or download at the bottom of this page, with stretches particular to tension in the hamstrings.


Who would have thought that these muscles could be responsible for so much pain?! The issue is that all three of these muscles run from your sit bones, down to below your knee, one on the outside of your knee and two on the inside. They are super strong, and while we are sitting all day at the computer, on the phone with people, sleeping with our legs bent in all different ways, standing a lot, or leaning over a lot, they are constantly engaged, or getting shortened.

Frequently, we will have a runner come into our clinic with pain when they run , but the problem isn't the running necessarily, but their sleeping position, or the fact that they sit all day at their desk.

We all experience muscle tightness at one time or another, especially those of us that sit hunched over a desk all day.  Not to worry though – there are exercises and stretches that can increase our flexibility, so we could move with ease and perform efficiently in our sport of choice; whether it’s running, cycling, swimming, or any other.

One thing I keep noticing in almost all of us are tight (and I repeat, tight!) hip flexors and hamstrings. I’ll focus on those hamstrings today because they are so often neglected and injured. Did you know that hamstring injuries are one of the most common runner injuries? Speed work especially makes the hamstrings work really hard, which is why it’s so important to stretch, release, and strengthen them.

So get ready to loosen up and maybe work up a sweat as you go through the stretches and exercises below. I illustrated some of them with photos to make them easier to follow.

Fort Washington Fitness has more than 23,000 square feet designed to optimize the member experience. We are not a typical gym – our interior is a beautifully crafted Spanish-style space, a resort atmosphere that is a far cry from normal industrial gym designs. We find that our members take great pride in coming to such a fantastic facility, and it affects how they perform in their workouts. We are located next to Woodward Park in the River View Shopping Center, perfect for runners.

Our Equipment – The first thing you’ll notice about our equipment is how much there is – there are no lines. We have top-of-the-line machinery in every part of our facility, from a floor full of ellipticals to the latest weight training systems. We have established maintenance and repair programs, and provide regular cleaning services. For serious athletes, there is nothing more important than the quality of our equipment, and we keep those athletes happy. When that’s our baseline, it means that everyone gets great gear.

Our People – We have put a lot of effort into recruiting the most talented fitness professionals in the region. From our reception personnel, to our nationally-certified personal trainers, we’ve come a long way towards providing exactly the kind of people you want to work out with. Your fitness program is a very personal thing, and we think you should be around people who respect that but are still ableto motivate you. Our team also takes pride in providing a very family-friendly atmosphere. We know you by your name, notjust your number.

Tight hamstrings can "fix" the bottom of the pelvis from normal free movement. This "fixing," or lack of movement, can exert strain in the muscles of the lower back.

This is caused by an imbalance in the muscles of the back, pelvis, and legs. The role that tight hamstrings can play in causing and/or maintaining a crooked or torqued pelvis is considerable.

We've all heard that the "gold standard" of stretching is to hold a stretch for 30 seconds or longer. This is how  static stretching is done.

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Tight hamstring muscles require regular stretching. There are numerous ways to stretch the hamstring muscles. We explain the more common hamstring stretching exercises and why they work.

The athlete lies on their back and relaxes. The therapist gently lifts a relaxed, straight leg up until the athlete indicates it is uncomfortable to go further. The therapist should notice an increased resistance even before the athlete feels a stretch. The athlete will then feel the stretch beginning and eventually can go no further. Ideally the leg should go vertically upwards without pain for good flexibility. The image opposite shows a 90 degree range of motion which is considered good. Below 80 degrees is considered tight.

When you initiate the stretch, signals from muscle spindles go to the spine which sends back signals to contract the muscle or resist the stretch. After 6 seconds or so the golgi tendon organs send signals overriding the signals from the muscle spindles enabling the muscle to relax into the stretch.

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Lengthen hamstrings
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