Top 5 Exercises to Stretch your Hamstrings

Hamstrings are one of the most important muscle groups in the body and stretching them regularly is essential for overall health and wellbeing. Stretching can help improve flexibility, reduce the risk of injury, and even improve athletic performance.

The hamstrings are a group of three muscles located at the back of the thigh. They are responsible for bending the knee and helping to extend the hip. The hamstrings are a key component of athletic performance, as they are used for running, jumping, and many other activities.

The three muscles that make up the hamstrings are the semitendinosus, the semimembranosus, and the biceps femoris. The semitendinosus is the longest of the three muscles, and it originates at the ischial tuberosity of the pelvis. It inserts at the medial tibia and helps to flex the knee. The semimembranosus is a bit shorter than the semitendinosus, and it also originates at the ischial tuberosity. It inserts at the medial condyle of the tibia and helps to extend the hip. The biceps femoris is the shortest of the three muscles, and it originates at the ischial tuberosity and the lateral femoral condyle. It inserts at the lateral tibia and helps to both flex the knee and extend the hip.

How can we help at Surrey Physio?

At Surrey Physio, we spend a lot of time stretching hamstrings! We can do it passively, so as a patient you can simply relax. We also use techniques like MET (muscle energy techniques) which are one of the most effective ways to stretch the hamstrings, using a contract and relax style resistance while we stretch. We also use ballistics and static stretching passively too.

But let’s look at ways you can also stretch while at home, when you’re not in to see the physio:

Here are five easy ways to stretch your hamstrings and reap the benefits:

1. Standing Hamstring Stretch: Standing up, place your foot on a chair. Keep your leg straight. You should feel a stretch behind your knee and into the back of your thigh. To make the stretch stronger, push your leg downwards into the chair, or rest your foot on something higher. This exercise will stretch your hamstring muscle group. Hold this position for 30 seconds, then release and repeat three times each side.

2. Sitting Hamstring Stretch: Sitting down on the edge of a chair, straighten one leg in front of you. Keeping your back straight, gently lean forwards with your hands along the front of your thigh. You should feel a stretch behind the back of the leg and the calf. Hold this stretch for 30 seconds and repeat three times.

3. Hamstring Chair Stretch: Bend forwards with straight legs, and lean over a the back of a chair. Hold this position, and relax. Repeat as required by your therapist or hold for 30 seconds and repeat three times.

4. Hamstring Foam Roller Stretch: Sit down placing a foam roller under your hamstrings (back of the legs). Your feet should be off the ground, and you can balance using your arms. Roll the roller up and down your hamstrings to create a stretch. You can cross your legs to emphasise the stretch on one side.

5. Hamstring Stretch with a Band: Sit on the bed or floor, and place a towel or band around the sole of your foot. Pull the toes towards you while straightening the leg. You will feel a stretch in the calves and Hamstrings (at the back of your legs). Hold for 30 seconds and repeat three times.

These simple stretches are a great way to improve flexibility and reduce the risk of injury. Incorporate them into your workout routine for maximum benefit!

Our team at Surrey Physio regularly see hamstring injuries. If you need physiotherapy or rehabilitation treatment for a hamstring injury, strain, or just have chronically short tight hamstrings, give us a call on 0208 685 6930 or book online to see one of our team

(These videos are provided by Rehab My Patient – the best exercise prescription software for therapists to prescribe exercises