When stretched regularly, your hamstring muscles can stretch up to 1.5 times their size. Everyone can benefit from stretching their hamstrings to promote flexibility and avoid pulling the muscle which would make their leg nearly useless. For runners, beginning an exercise routine with hamstring stretches is a necessity for muscle protection. Men, woman, and children of any age can begin to stretch their hamstrings - and they should, as sitting in an office for hours on end can tighten those muscles and lead to injury.
What to expect from hamstring stretch
Stretching out your hamstring should be a part of your regular routine. Your hamstring flexibility is what keeps you capable of walking up the stairs or bending over. You have to work on the muscle regularly, because it will only relax a small amount each day. You can’t skip a few days and expect the progress you had made to still be in effect. A seated hamstring stretch, which involves simply extending your arms and legs in front of you while sitting on the floor before bending your forehead down to your knee, can take place at the home or office. The hang over hamstring stretch is also known as the toe touch, and you can do that anywhere or anytime, too.
How to prepare for hamstring stretch
Hamstring stretches can be as low-key or involved as you want to make them. You can stretch out the muscle in a yoga pose, such as the Standing Forward Bend or Head to Knee pose. Or you can stretch it out with only a wall for support, as long as the blood starts circulating more to your legs to prep them for the coming workout. If you have an injury like sciatica pain or low back pain, you should take it very easy - these stretches may help, but you should check in with your physician first and definitely cease the stretching if you feel any pain from it.
Muscles you'll work during the hamstring stretch
You hamstring muscles are on the back of your thighs and upper leg, and are actually made up of three muscles. They run from your buttocks to just under the knee, and are vital for most physical activity. Stretching out this muscle helps with not just flexibility and posture, but your body’s blood flow which can help any aching back muscles, and help to relieve any chronic back pain you may experience. A tight hamstring can also pull on your pelvis area, throwing your back, knees, and hips out of place and into a painful state.
Tips for success with the hamstring stretch
Stretching should feel comfortable overall. Any strain or pain is a bad sign, and you should cease what you are doing immediately. Also, make sure that you only stretch out warm muscles as cold muscles will bring pain. While you are holding your pose for 10 seconds, keep still and avoid any temptation to bounce or rock back and forth, which can pull the muscle or trigger a spasm. Anything more than a mild tension is a bad sign.