6 Hamstring Stretches You Can Perform Even When Not Working Out.
By Stuart Carter, Men's Health Coach & Head Trainer, The Fit Father Project
Stretching hamstrings and other muscles is essential to minimize the possibility of these types of injuries.
You might think you are Superman, or that you can impress a certain someone by working through the pain. But this is not the answer!
An injury is your Kryptonite; you need to rest and recover.
Of course, prevention is better than a cure, so I'm going to show you the best approach to take to avoid getting injured in the first place.
While it's not possible to guarantee you'll never injure yourself; this article will show you the best hamstring stretches that can be completed anywhere and will reduce your risk of injury.
Then you know you will be ready to tackle the Fit Father 24-min workout!
Discover How Hamstring Injuries Occur
If you undertake any exercise which involves high kicks, sprinting, fast stretches or sudden rapid movements involving your hamstrings, you have the potential to strain them.
A hamstring injury is graded between 1 and 3. One is the lowest level and consists of a pull or twinge. It should not incapacitate you for long.
Three, on the other hand, will probably mean you're unable to walk for several days and you will have extensive swelling and bruising.
The hamstring is actually 3 muscles running between the lower pelvis and the back of your shin.
The muscle works to allow you to bend your knee and straighten your hip.
The most likely point of injury will occur when you are contracting your muscle as your foot hits the ground; or another point of contact.
This can overstretch the muscle leading to a tear. You will feel it as a sudden pain in the back of your thigh; as though someone has just stabbed you there.
As soon as possible, you should apply ice, rest your leg and protect it from further injury. The amount of time you are out of action will depend upon how badly you have torn it.
Should you be unfortunate enough to get a hamstring injury, or any other injury for that matter, make sure you stay dedicated to a healthy eating plan.
For inspiration, you can download our 1-day free meal plan, completely FREE.
Learn the 6 Hamstring Stretches You Can Do Anywhere
So, let's jump in and check out some great hamstring stretches that will protect and hopefully prevent you getting injured in the future:
Step #1 – Seated Static Stretch:
For the first six seconds of this stretch your brain will tell your body to resist; after that you will find it easier to hold the pose.
- Sit on the floor with one leg stretched out in front of you.
- Bend your other leg resting your foot by the thigh of the straight leg.
- Keeping your back straight, lean forward to try to touch your toes.
- You will feel the bottom of your thigh pulling.
- Hold the stretch for 30 seconds.
- You can then swap legs and repeat these 5 times each day.
Step #2 – Standing Stretch:
If you don’t fancy sitting on the floor you can stand up; but you will need a chair or other object of a similar height.
- Stand in front of your chair and put one foot flat on the chair.
- Bend your other knee slightly.
- Lean forward from the hips; you will feel it pulling on your hamstring.
- Again, hold for 30 seconds.
- Repeat with other leg.
This exercise can also be done 5 times a day as it only takes one minute to do.
Step #3 – Lying Down Stretch:
Try hamstring stretches which target the end nearest the knee; the others have targeted the end nearest the pelvis.
- Lie on your back; shoulders, hips and bum on the ground.
- Lift one leg straight up with a slight bend in the knee.
- Wrap your hands round the back of your thigh.
- Slowly straighten your leg; make sure your hips stay on the floor.
- Hold the pose for 30 seconds.
- Repeat for the other leg.
Your leg must come up slowly; do not force it. Mild pain is good but anymore is likely to induce an injury.
Step #4 – Leg Kicking:
This is an excellent exercise to start the day with. Swinging your legs will stretch your spinal column leaving you with maximum flexibility throughout the day.
- Stand straight with your feet shoulder width apart.
- Raise your arms out straight in front of you.
- Swing one leg gently forward then back behind you; do not attempt to go too high straight away.
- Repeat the movement 15 times, without stopping.
- Your leg must remain straight.
- Move your leg a little higher with each swing; it will naturally go higher.
Step #5 – Head Down Stretch:
This stretch is excellent for tight hamstrings but can also be used to loosen your shoulders; protecting two of the most accident prone areas of your body!
- Stand up straight, legs shoulder width apart.
- Put your hands behind your back; locking them together with your arms straight.
- Slowly bend forward at the hips. Your legs must remain straight.
- Keeping your hands locked together and straight, bring them over your head.
- Tuck your chin in while doing this stretching hamstrings exercise.
- Hold for 30 seconds.
If it is too difficult at first then you can put your hands on the back of your thighs instead. You may need to bend your knees very slightly.
Keep practicing and you will be able to do it properly!
Step #6 – Scissor Stretch:
Hamstring stretches can often place strain on your back. However, this stretch is really good for people with tight hamstrings and injured backs:
- Stand up straight with your feet together.
- Place one foot approximately 2 foot behind you.
- Keep your back straight as you bend forward from the hips.
- Your legs must also remain straight.
- Bend as far as you comfortably can and hold for 30 seconds.
- Now swap legs.
Ideally you should be able to touch the floor, but if you can’t then just keep practicing; you will be able to!
When to Implement Your Exercises
You don’t need to do all of these exercises, just pick your favorite 3 or 4 and do them throughout the day.
It doesn’t matter if you work in an office or on the shop floor. You can find a few minutes to indulge in hamstring stretches.
Who knows, you may even start a new trend in your office. Forget casual Friday; exercise Monday could bring in some interesting sights…
Hamstring stretches should be completed properly before undertaking any workout.
Your hamstrings are an important part of most exercise routines; although some workouts are more likely to incur injuries than others.
However; this guide shows you more than just how to stretch these muscles. It also illustrates that these exercises can be done at any time in virtually any place.
Using everyday items and spare time to boost your flexibility will dramatically increase your results in the gym or on the track.
Try it today and tell us at the Fit Father Project how flexible you are; then compare it to after a month of doing these hamstring stretches!
Your new friend & health coach,
Head Training Staff, The Fit Father Project
Brotherhood Nickname: “The Fit Brit”
Bragging Rights: 16 Years in the fitness industry, Author of ‘The Easy Fitness Guide', Father of 4 boys and Husband to a Venezuelan beauty.
*Please know that weight loss results & health changes/improvements vary from individual to individual; you may not achieve similar results. Always consult with your doctor before making health decisions. This is not medical advice – simply very well-researched info on hamstring stretches.