Tight hamstrings are a plague for athletes and can cause injury. It is common to see a pulled hamstring end a race or game for an athlete. But with a dedicated stretching routine, the chance of injury can be greatly reduced. Preventative measures through stretching can also stretch other muscles along with the hamstring and increase the flexibility and performance of many athletes.
Yoga stretches and strengthens the entire body and is ideal for working tight hamstrings. Downward dog is one of the most basic poses and is great for stretching the hamstrings, along with the calves, torso and upper body. Doing a yoga routine several times per week is ideal for increasing and maintaining flexibility and reducing the risk of injury to your hamstrings. Yoga can be practiced in the home, but beginners should take a class with professional instruction to master the basic poses.
There are several standing stretches that are ideal for isolating the hamstring and increasing flexibility. Stand flat on your feet and slightly bend at the knees. Hang down by bending at the hips and attempting to touch your toes. Keep your back arched while doing this common athletic stretch. You can also make use of an object such as a hand rail or a park bench to stretch the hamstring. Place your foot on the object and lean forward, placing pressure on the hamstring. Ideally the object will be waist high, but a slight difference in height is not harmful.
The hamstring can be effectively stretched while sitting or lying on the ground. You can lie with your back flat on the ground and both legs flat on the ground. Lift one leg and hold it with both hands just behind the knee cap. Bend the knee slightly and pull the leg while keeping your free leg flat on the ground. You can also stretch the hamstring by sitting on the ground with both legs straight. Keep your toes pointing toward the sky and lean forward. When you practice frequently, you should be able to touch your toes without straining.
Article Written By Zach Lazzari
Zach Lazzari is an outdoor writing specialist. He has experience in website writing as well as standard newspaper writing. He wrote an outdoor column for the Silver World in Lake City, Colo., and articles for Colorado-mountain-adventure.com. Lazzari is currently completing his bachelor's degree online through Arizona State University and lives in southwest Montana.