Get Your Stretch On

It so important to stretch. We live such a fast moving, yet mostly sitting existence its imperative to stretch your big muscle groups. Today I focus on hamstrings. It not only feels good to stretch this commonly tight area, but hamstring flexibility is also important for the health of your back, hips, and knees. Work this stretching cluster into your daily routine to help all your lower body tightness.

Reclined Hamstring Stretch
Grab a yoga mat and lay down on your back. Extend your legs in a straight line from your body. Keep your left leg on the ground while raising your right leg to 90 degrees. Keep your pelvis on the ground and flex your toe to your shin. Use your hands to grasp your leg just below the knee, pulling it toward your upper body. Once you can’t go any farther, hold the position for 30 seconds before switching feet.

Dynamic Hamstring Stretch
The first three stretches have been static, meaning you reach until you find a sticking point and hold it there. This stretch has a little more movement than the others, making it a dynamic stretch.
Standing tall, extend your arms straight out. Step your right foot forward swinging your leg up, trying to kick your hand. Bring your right foot down and repeat the move with your left foot. Alternate your feet for 30 seconds. This move can be done standing in one spot or walking across the room.

Myofascial Release – Foam Rolling
Grab a foam roller and sit on the ground. Place the roller under one or both of your hamstrings. Prop yourself up on to your hands and place your bodyweight into your legs, pressing into the hamstrings. Walk your hands backward and forward to roll up and down the back of your legs. This type of self-myofascial release will break up scar tissue and improve circulation, helping to recover faster and enhance performance.

Good Morning Stretch
Activate and engage the hamstrings, glutes and low back with a simple hip hinge. Begin in a standing position with feet shoulder-width apart.
With a slight bend in the knees, core flexed and weight in the heels, reach your rear backwards while lowering your chest toward the ground. Your hamstrings will load up with tension as your weight shifts back. Finish the move by driving your hips forward and chest back to an upright or standing position. Perform three sets of 12 repetitions.

Standing Extended Stretch
Try this for a deep stretch. You’ll need a chair or bench to rest your foot on. It’s best to have a surface lower than hip height when starting out. Begin in a standing position about 2 feet from you chair or bench. Place your right heel on the bench and flex your toe toward your shin. Reach your hands toward your right foot, slowly. Hold this position for 30 seconds before repeating the process on the left foot. Complete three sets on each foot.