This is important subject raised for any Athletic, a Body Builder during workout session or any person have plans to strengthen the leg muscle.
The Hamstring muscle plays important rules on the body mobility, which is responsible to bend the knee joint and extend the leg thighs to be straighten, means it control the lower leg movements forward and backwards, In addition it extend the hips to be straighten. So you need to make sure the flexibility of this muscle and have enough power capability to keep it functioning and away from any possible injury by stretch hamstrings exercises.
Anatomy of Hamstring muscle
Hamstring Located at the upper back of your leg on the posterior of your thigh muscles between the hip down below until the knees.
It contain a group of three main muscles segmented to biceps femoris with short and long heads, semitendinosus and semimembranosus and the tendons that connect these muscles to the pelvis bones and knees.
What is the cause of tight hamstrings?
Sports and Athletics that involve in excess activity of running or “stop-and-start movement”, like football games and tennis, may cause tightness in your hamstrings. In addition activities like dancing or running.
In addition the following reason:
• Hereditary: Related to historical family records, you can naturally born with short tight hamstring when other people have naturally elastic muscles.
• Flexibility and Mobility: Activity and schedule exercising will generate loose muscle, on the other hand not sufficient stretching will result a tight hamstring.
• Lower Back issues: Can add more pressure on your hips nerve which flows down until legs and causes tighten muscles.
Benefits of Hamstring Stretches
Hamstring responsible for the knee and hips movements include walking, running, flexing your hips and squatting.
Based on this importance, you need to keep your hamstring flexible as possible. below is the main benefits when stretching hamstring muscle:
1) Hamstring stretches Preventing lower Back Pain
Strict and tight the hamstrings, limits the pelvis movements, which in return generate more pressure on the lower back and generate back pain.
Stretching and Strengthen the hamstrings will prevent tight issue and develop flexible muscle that provides extra support for the lower back and pelvis.
2) Hamstring stretches reducing injury
Keeping the hamstrings loosen will minimize any chance of muscle straining or fiber tearing during any excess body activities, specially in sport like playing football and running.
The usual Treatment of such damage by cover strain area with ice with suitable compression and for sure resting the muscle. But with stretched and trained muscle will prevent such injury.
3) Increasing more Flexibility
Stretches will improve the range of motion while muscle movement in the pelvis level and increase it’s flexibility.
These benefits will provide additional support to perform daily routine tasks, like walking and climbing stairs.
4) Improving posture alignment
With restricted tight hamstrings, it will result sway back posture by shifting the pelvis forward and upper trunk backward, which cause more often a strain felt on the mid back.
In addition it will flatten the natural curve of lumbar back, causing poor posture while standing and seated.
By stretching the hamstrings you maintain it loose and improve the correct natural alignment curve of posture.
How to stretch hamstring muscles? Best way to Stretch Hamstrings Exercises
1) Simple Hamstring Stretch
Let’s started with the simple stretches. If you have any kind of low back pain you can proceed with extra caution.
1. Sit on a mat with both legs straight in front of you.
2. Start extend both your arms forward until reach near to your feet, by bending the waist as possible towards your legs and maintain the knees straighten.
3. Pause in this position for 20 – 25 seconds.
4. Breath out and return back to starting position.
5. Repeat for about 4 times.
When you start feel any pain, recommended to stop this exercise.
2) Hurdler Hamstring Stretch
The hurdler hamstring stretch is another useful simple exercise.
1. Sit on a mat with one leg straight.
2. Start bending the second leg on the knee level and position the foot bottom in the inner thigh of first leg, close to your hip.
3. Then extend both your arms forward towards your feet over the straight and bending leg at the middle waist as far possible you could.
4. Keep this position for 15 seconds.
5. Switch between the legs and repeat.
3) Seated Hamstring Stretch
1. Sit on the floor by extend the right leg forward, and maintain it slightly bent at the knee.
2. Set the left leg bent at the knee level and the foot facing inward.
3. Slowly bend forward at the waist, and place both your hands on your shank (between your knees and foot) and insure to keep your back straight.
4. Stretch and keep this position for 15–20 seconds.
5. Switch between the legs and repeat for three times.
4) Standing Hamstring Stretch (Both legs at once)
The coming stretch required a bit efforts and focus, with body balancing, to stabilize during exercise.
Cause it is performed on standing position while stretches both legs at same time. So Let’s startup:
1. Stand up while crossing your right leg in front of your left.
2. While maintain both knees straighten.
3. Start carefully by bend your waist forward and lower your head to the level of your right knee. while try place your palms to the floor as far possible.
4. Keep this position for 20 – 25 seconds.
5. Switch between crossing legs and repeat.
5) Standing Hamstring Stretch (One Leg each Time)
This is easy and still effective stretch, you can take advantage of this by perform anywhere at your home or office. Let’s startup:
1. Stand straight up with one heel placed on a small box or similar height.
2. While maintain your knee straighten.
3. Raise both arms up high toward the ceiling.
4. Keep your back straighten.
5. Bend your trunk forward around 30 degree (forward slightly your hips), insure your arms and back alignment in straight line.
6. When reach forward you feel a stretch in your hamstring muscle.
7. Keep this position for 20 – 25 seconds.
8. Repeat for 4 times.
9. Switch between your legs and repeat.
6) Runner’s Hamstring and Calf Stretch
This stretch contain a combined flexibility routine for both muscles your calf and hamstrings.
1. Stand up straight on front of a wall and place both hands on the wall at shoulder height and shoulder width apart.
2. Start by take a step back with one leg, while keep pushing hands into the wall.
3. Keep your back and knees straight and your heels flat into the floor.
4. Maintain this position for 20 – 25 seconds.
5. Step forward and switch with the second leg.
6. Repeat for 4 times on each leg.
Hamstring stretches for Runners
Their are many researched fully agrees that most specialized runners realize the importance of maintaining a flexible body muscles, specifically hamstring and quad muscle, since they provide the power speed to finish the race on first position.
Stretching on a schedule basis will help them develop flexibility with loose and prevent any possible injuries, in order to keep the muscle un-tight and function with high efficiency.
The above 6 stretches is very helpful for any runners before start their activity.
In summary, the required muscles stretches needed for runners to focus on and take care of:
(2) Quads Muscles
(3) Calves Muscles
Tips for Hamstring Stretching
- A good time to practice hamstring stretches is commonly before excising and preferred to add after excising.
- Before start exercising people should warm-up, during that it will increase your heart beating rate and improve blood circulation,
which intake all muscles with the necessary oxygen to improves workout performance and avoid injuries.
- Stretching after exercise provide great helps on alleviate muscle tension. And this could help the muscles recovery rapidly and minimize any pain after exercise routine.
- Hamstring stretches are beneficial for all people regardless for people practice workout or play sports or normal routine life.
Daily Stretching will maintain the muscles energized and loose.
Their is high benefits of stretching on overall health, as it improves muscle elasticity and prevents any injury.
Stretching the hamstrings will help keep these muscles loose and flexible, while keep correct posture, increase more flexibility and avoid lower back pain or tension. In addition it’s preferable to strength and exercise the hamstrings muscles.