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Bend over with ease

Due to our general lack of exercise and general inactivity the hamstrings, which are located in the back of the thigh, often become short and tight. This can cause issues ranging from low back pain to a shortened gate. Learn how to release them in this blog.

Muscle anatomy

The hamstrings are on the back of the thigh and are composed of 3 muscles with one of the muscles having 2 heads. Three of the heads originate on the hip bone with the fourth head originating on the back of the femur (thigh bone). All the muscles attach to the upper part of the lower leg. The hamstrings flex the knee, extend the hip, and tilt the hip backward which decreases the arch in the low back.

Symptoms of Tightness

  • Ache or pain in the low back

  • Difficulty bending forward

  • Shortened walking or running step

Causes of tightness

The hamstrings can become shortened if you sit a lot or are generally inactive.

Flexibility Test

  1. Lie on your back with both legs straight

  2. Wrap a large towel around the right foot and keep hold of each end of the towel

  3. Slowly pull the right leg toward the ceiling with your arms keeping your knee straight

  4. The right leg should reach a 90-degree angle to the floor while the left leg stays on the floor

  5. Test the other leg

If the leg does not reach 90-degrees then releasing them is the first step to making them more flexible.

Hamstrings – Static Release

  1. Sit on a chair with a firm seat

  2. Take a tennis ball, lacrosse ball of softball and put it under your right hamstring

  3. Find a spot that is a level 5-8 pain intensity on a scale of 1-10 (10 being excruciating)

  4. Stay on this spot for 30 seconds to 2 minutes or until the pain has dissipated and there is just pressure

  5. Switch to the other leg

Retest using the flexibility test to see if improvement has been made. This release can be done everyday.

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