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What Are The Best Stretches for Hamstrings?

Stretches for Hamstrings

Tight hamstrings are a common feature in many of the injuries we treat in Waterford Chartered Physiotherapy Clinic. Tight hamstrings can contribute to hamstring strains, low back pain, sciatica and pelvic dysfunctions. Stretches for hamstrings can be quite uncomfortable and noticeable improvements in your flexibility will take a good 6 weeks.

There are many different stretches for hamstrings. Most are fine as warm-up stretching exercises but if you are aiming to improve your hamstring flexibility, I would recommend using one of the following techniques.

  • Lie on your back with left leg straight by pushing knee downwards and pulling toes upwards
  • Hook a belt around the right foot
  • Keeping the right knee straight, lift the leg by pulling on the belt as shown
  • Only lift the right leg to a height where the knee can remain straight
  • Lie on your back with left leg straight by pushing knee downwards and pulling toes upwards
  • Clasp your hands around your right thigh, holding the hip in 90 degrees flexion as shown

Hold the stretch for 20-30 seconds and repeat 3-5 times on each leg. Perform the stretches twice daily if you are actively trying to improve your hamstring flexibility.

The key to isolating the stretch specifically to the hamstrings is having the opposite leg straight with the back of your knee in contact with the ground. This will stabilize your pelvis and prevent any ‘cheating’ movements such as flattening of your lower back. If you find that the stretches are too uncomfortable using this technique, bend the opposite leg to make it easier initially.

Siobhan Fitzpatrick - Clinic Owner
Siobhan Fitzpatrick - Clinic Owner

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