Hamstring injury

How to Improve Hamstring Flexibility?

A hamstring is a group of three longitudinal muscles which constitute the back of the knee and thigh part. Hamstring flexibility plays a significant role when you are performing complex activities or movements such as running, dancing, exercising, and more. This is why it is crucial for athletes and sports players to retain their hamstring flexibility for better performance and rapid movements.

Speaking of muscle flexibility, have you ever bent down, keeping your back straight where your hand touches the tip of your toes and felt a sharp pain in the back of your thighs or knees? It is probably because of tight, sore, or inflamed hamstrings. 

man jogging ankle brace

Why is Hamstring Flexibility Important?

Hamstring flexibility guarantees efficiency, speed, and powered movements. Imagine an athlete having tightened hamstrings. How long do you think he can run? Having tight hamstrings would mean giving your best and still not excelling at the job. You cannot be at your best without fixing the issue. In this case, hamstring stretchability. 

The second thing is that flexible hamstrings give you a more fantastic range of motion. Thus, it is beneficial for gymnastics, athletes, dancers, and martial arts experts since they work up their lower bodies more. Moreover, as you age, your muscles get prone to soreness or inflammation, contributing to decreased performance. 

Thirdly, if your hamstrings are tight, chances are they might suffer an injury or sprain. This often happens with runners when they face muscle fatigue. However, if you have flexible hamstrings, you are less likely to get any sprains. It acts as a protective mechanism for your thighs and knees. 

Fourthly, if you have painful lower back or knees, enhancing hamstrings flexibility can help to relieve the pain. Plus, it is advantageous to improve your overall mobility and body performance.

Finally, hamstring flexibility is your gateway for smooth and neat movements. Have you ever been fascinated by the dancers at the talent show? Their movements are refined and clear, and all the credit goes to their high muscle stretchability and strength. 

What Are The Signs Of Decreased Hamstring Flexibility?

If you can relate to the following points, you may have to improve your hamstring stretchability. 

  1. Limited muscle mobility, especially during running, walking, or jumping.
  2. Muscle stiffness.
  3. Painful movements.
  4. Swelling.
  5. Redness or pallor area.
  6. Cramps.

How to Improve Hamstring Flexibility?

Hamstrings often get tight after a period of rest. Have you ever woken up with excruciating pain in the back of your thighs following an exercise? It indicates that you have muscle tightness. Most of the time, the muscle tightness resolves on its own after some days, but hamstring stretches can help boost the healing. Regular stretches also help to prevent muscle tightness in the future. It keeps your body energetic and ready to take on challenges.

Let’s begin with these incredible hamstring stretches:

Tip: Always do some warm-up exercises for about 10-15 minutes before you start working on these stretches. This helps to prepare and stimulate the body for greater exercises. 

Basic Stretch

This is the easiest hamstring stretch that cultivates fantastic results in the long run. To start, sit on the ground with your back straight and legs spread out. Now, put your arms forward for support and start bending down, flexing your waist. Bend till you feel a slight stretch in your hamstrings. Hold the posture for about 10-20 seconds. Get back to your initial position and relax. Repeat this exercise 5 times. 

Tip: Kindly refrain from overdoing or overstretching the muscles. It might worsen the pain or muscle spasm. 

The Knee Stretch

Another simple yet great exercise to begin exercising your hamstrings. Sit down on your exercising mat and draw or stretch your legs forward. Now, bend one leg so that your foot almost touches the inner thigh of the other leg. Put your arms on either side of the stretched-out leg.

Start bending down while keeping your knee straight. You will feel a slight pull at the back of the thigh (of the stretched leg). Stay in that position for 10-15 seconds. Now, recline back and relax. Repeat this two to three times. Switch the legs and repeat the steps. 

Standing Stretch

The sole benefit of this exercise is that you can perform it anytime. It is quick, and that’s why you can do this between your breaks at the workplace. Start with standing firm on the ground with your legs shoulder-width apart. Now, stretch your hands forward so that they touch your toes.

Start bending slowly. Make sure that you stand straight and your knees aren’t bending. Hold this position for a few seconds and repeat. 

Tip: You might not be able to pull off this exercise in your first go. It will get better with practice, so don’t put excessive pressure on your hamstrings. 

For an additional challenge, you can cross your legs and then start bending. Also, try to stretch your arms so that your hands touch the ground.

The String Stretch

Sit on the ground with your legs straight on the mat. You may as well lay down on your back if that feels more comfortable. Take a belt or a string and loop it around the back of your foot. Now. Start lifting your leg keeping your knees straight.

Target one leg at a time if you have just begun working on hamstring stretches. Lift your leg till you feel stretch at the back of your thighs. Hold this position for 10-15 seconds. Relax and return to your initial position. Repeat 2-3 times and then switch your legs.

Takeaway

Hamstring flexibility is vital for better mobility and improved functionality of your body. It helps you in reducing muscle tightness and demonstrating smooth movements while walking, running, and jumping. However, to enhance hamstring stretchability, you need to work on a few stretches daily for 30-45 minutes. However, if these stretches are unable to relieve muscle tightness, visit a physiotherapist immediately to identify the core/underlying cause.

Research has shown phenomenal results and positive remarks from many individuals who reported increased hamstring flexibility with these exercises. We hope that this article helps you to get legs that feel and perform great!

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