Must-Do Tip To Make Hamstring Stretching More Effective

How to Stretch Your Hamstrings

We blogged a couple weeks ago about something that most people do wrong with hamstring stretching.  Most people bend from their spine and not from their hips when they stretch and that makes a huge difference in how well you actually stretch the hamstrings.  Well today, we’re adding another wrinkle about something you should also do when stretching your hamstrings.  This one little modification will make a huge difference.  Don’t believe us?  Just try and it tell us if you aren’t amazed at how different it feels!
For this modification, focus on the stance leg.  In figure 1, you’ll see the subject with his leg/foot turned out.  Well, we’re trying to stretch the leg on the bench obviously.   If you look closely, the pelvis on the leg being stretched is turned that way, which effectively shortens the very hamstrings you are trying to stretch.  In figure 2, you’ll see our game changer – you should actually turn your stance leg in or “pigeon toe” it.  Impressed?  The reason why this works is that turning the leg in does the exact opposite of the “wrong” way – it pulls the stretched leg pelvis back, lengthening it further.

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Figure 1: Incorrect. Stance leg turned OUT.


 
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Figure 2: Correct. Stance leg turned IN.


As always, you should stand erect and lean, NOT bend over from the hips.  Your stance leg knee should be straight.  Make sure your foot is flexed (toes pointed towards you).  Hold for 30 seconds and repeat as often as you like.  Remember, never stretch a “cold” muscle, so warm-up a little first on a bike, elliptical, or take a short walk/jog.
We hope this small but significant wrinkle makes your hamstring stretches that much more effective.  It would be a privilege to serve you and partner with you in your physical therapy needs should they arise.  Give us a call!  Remember, you don’t need a referral from a physician to see a PT in Kansas anymore.