After you play tennis or soccer, do your legs feel tight and painful? You could be experiencing some tightness in your hamstring. Any kind of stop-and-start activity exercise that require sprinting can leave your hamstrings feeling tight and sore. So, running, dancing, and other similar activities can cause this kind of sensation of tightness and pain.
What are your hamstrings? That’s three muscle groups placed along the backside of your thigh. You exert them whenever your legs are extended, and particularly when you’re running. Imagine exerting them and stretching your hamstrings every time you take a step when running.
If you’re engaging in intense activity like sprinting across the field and then you stop, then start back up, you can imagine the kind of effect it might have on your hamstrings. They can feel overworked or mistreated and abused, and you want to make sure they stay loose.
I’ll share with you the best stretching for tight hamstrings you can do, and this can help to loosen this particular set of muscles and reduce the soreness and tightness you feel after a strenuous activity.
These are all activities you can do at home or when you’re out and about. It’s a good idea to do some warmup exercises before you engage in strenuous activity that might stretch, pull, or damage your hamstrings.
If you injured your hamstring, it’s best not to try to treat it by yourself at home.
You should talk to your doctor at least or even make a visit to the doctor’s office before trying to treat the injury yourself. Your hamstring could be torn, and self-treatment could make that injury worse, which is why it’s important to get medical advice if you believe your hamstring is injured.
There should be no stretching for tight hamstrings that are potentially injured. If you think your hamstring has been torn or severely injured, don’t try to stretch it out. Don’t take any risks that could further injure the hamstring.
With that being said, let’s talk about some exercises you can do to stretch out your hamstrings, keep them loose, and prevent pain and soreness later on. Keep in mind that stretching should not be done if you’re feeling pain in your hamstrings. You don’t want to force the stretching.
To help ease the stretch and reduce stress and tension on your body and your muscles, make sure you’re breathing normally. All stretching exercises should be done in a controlled, steady motion with regular breaths.
Types of Hamstrings Stretches
Lying Hamstring Stretch
Let’s start off with an easy method for stretching for tight hamstrings that anyone can do just about anywhere. The lying hamstring stretch requires little to no exercise equipment. You can use a yoga strap or an exercise rope to make your stretch a bit more strenuous and deeper. Just make sure that you’re not pulling on the rope too strong. You don’t want to injure yourself.
Start by lying down on the ground and keep your back flat, your knees bent, and your feet flat on the ground. From that position, bring your left knee up to your chest.
Then, extend your leg out as you keep the knees a little bent. Hold that position for about 10 seconds and try to keep doing it until you can hold it for as long as half a minute.
Then, switch over to the other leg. If your hamstrings are feeling kind of tight, this exercise will loosen them up. Don’t do it, however, if your hamstrings feel like they might be injured.
You can also use this stretch and others mentioned in this article below to warm up before you do an activity that will exert your hamstrings. This can help prevent injury and tightness later on.
Wall Hamstring Stretch
You can do this stretch anywhere you have an open doorway. Start by lying down flat on the ground, or you can lay on a mat. Your back should be kept flat, and one leg should be extended completely out on the floor.
The extended leg should be passing through the doorway. The opposite leg needs to be leaning against the wall beside the doorway. From that position, change the distance between your body and the wall to create a little tension in the propped up leg.
Hold that stretch and tension for about 20 seconds. You may want to start on the lower end of that, holding it for about 10 seconds, but you should try to work up to 30 seconds, if possible. After holding your leg in that position, repeat a few more times with one leg and then switch over to the other leg.
This is one of the best stretching exercises for tight hamstrings because it can be done both indoors and out and because it’s effective and simple.
For this next one, we are moving from lying down to sitting up. The sitting hamstring stretch may be something you feel more comfortable doing outdoors rather than lying with your back flat on the ground.
Begin by stretching out one leg while sitting on the ground and keeping the opposite leg bent at the knee. The bent leg should have the foot facing inward with the toes pointed towards the opposing leg. This is what is known as the butterfly position.
Take the extended leg and keep it bent just a little at the knee. From that position, bend forward from the waist and try to keep your back straight.
Hold the stretch for anywhere from 10 to 30 seconds. Remember to try to work up to 30 seconds if that’s too difficult for you at first. Then, repeat two more times on that leg and switch over to the other leg.
Chair Hamstring Stretch
Are you looking for a stretching for tight hamstrings morning activity you can do? This is one that can be done while you’re sitting in bed or at the breakfast table. You can use a chair or other surface you can sit on.
From the sitting position, keep one leg bent and one leg stretched out. The bent leg should have the foot placed flat on the floor. The other leg should be stretched out completely with the toes pointing towards the ceiling.
Bend forward from the waist, then place your hands on your outstretched leg to support it. Keep your spine in a neutral line and hold your stretch for anywhere from 10 to 30 seconds. Repeat the stretch three or four times and then move to the other leg.
This is such an easy stretch to do that can be done in so many places that it’s almost like non stretching for tight hamstrings. You don’t want to try stretches that put a lot of force or impact on your muscles.
Those can cause further soreness or stiffness in your hamstrings. Instead, look for easy, simple stretches that allow you to relax most of your body while focusing on stretching out the tight hamstring muscles.
Whenever you’re feeling like your hamstring muscles might be too tight or you just want to avoid then becoming tight later on, do a few of these stretches.
My name is Ellis Francis and I have been a personal fitness trainer, sports nutritionalist and health and fitness advisor for over 25 years. I am the lead health and fitness advisor at https://ahumanbody.com.