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5 stretches to help you loosen out tight hamstrings

Because you really don’t want to pull one.

TIGHT HAMSTRINGS ARE very common among sportspeople or people who sit at desks all day.

They can lead to possible injury in your back, hips or knees so we suggest giving them some love a few times a week to keep them as loose as possible.

What constitutes ‘tight’ hamstrings is often a bone of contention but it is generally accepted that it you’re lying flat on a bench and are unable to raise either leg above 80 degrees you need to get to work…

Exercise #1 Sit and reach

Source: Fahmei Marciano/YouTube

Starting position: Sit on the floor with both your legs extended straight out in front.
Action: Extend your arms and reach forward by flexing at the waist as far as possible while keeping your knees straight.

Hold this position for 30 seconds. Relax. Repeat four more times. Remember to breathe throughout the exercise.

Exercise #2 Straight leg raise

Source: Ken Macdonald/YouTube

Starting position: Lie on the floor near the outer corner of a wall or a door frame.
Action: Raise your left leg (without a towel) and rest your left heel against the wall. Keep your left knee slightly bent – but only slightly.

Gently straighten your left leg until you feel a stretch along the back of that thigh. Hold for 30 seconds, switch legs and repeat four times on each leg.

Exercise #3 Reclined Hamstring Stretch

Source: 15DeMaSi87/YouTube

Starting position: Lie on your back.
Action: Raise your left leg as high as you can keeping your pelvis flat on the ground. You really have to focus on pressing this into the floor. Hold your lower thigh and encourage the leg to move toward your head.

It’s like a straight leg raise only you use your hands, and not the door or wall as support. To deepen the stretch, place a yoga strap or towel on the ball of your foot and use your hands to pull the strap toward you. After 30 seconds, switch legs and repeat four times either side.

Exercise #4 Modified hurdler stretch

Source: Strong Runner/YouTube

Starting position: Sit on the floor and straighten your left leg in front of you. Bend the right knee, placing the sole of your right foot against your left inner thigh.
Action: Lean down to try and reach your left ankle, keeping your back straight. Hold for 30 seconds, then switch legs and repeat four times either side.

Exercise #5 Bend and reach

Source: ChrisHoustonfitness/YouTube

Starting position: Stand and cross your right foot in front of your left.
Action: Slowly lower your forehead to your right knee by bending at the waist. Keep both knees straight.

Hold this position for 30 seconds. Relax. Repeat (four times) by crossing your left foot in front of your right.

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About the author:

Brian Canty

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