Girl in Forward Fold

UNLOCK YOUR HAMSTRINGS!

The hamstring muscle group comprises the semitendinosus, semimembranosus, and biceps femoris (long and short heads) muscles. Their primary movements are knee flexion, hip extension and rotation (internal and external). Hamstring stretching is particularly useful for students, runners, cyclists and sedentary workers. I consider this an essential stretch that should be incorporated into everyone's stretch routine

INSTRUCTIONS

STEP 1: start in position shown on soft ground or pillow - knees are hip width apart
STEP 2: unlock front knee and place both hands flat on wall
STEP 3: rotate leg inwards or outwards
STEP 4: lower chest to ground using arms as levers - keep back straight
STEP 5: hold stretch for 20-30 seconds and rest
STEP 6: repeat sequence 2-3 times

USEFUL TIPS

  • Perform stretch after exercise whilst tissues are warm

  • Relax and breathe

  • Take your time and do not rush (allow 5-10 minutes)

  • Be patient and stretch within your limits

  • Reverse instructions to exit stretch safely

  • Repeat stretch on other side

  • Do not perform stretch if you experience any pain or discomfort

WHERE SHOULD I FEEL THE STRETCH?

This static stretch is targeted to the hamstrings muscle group, therefore you should feel a gentle tissue stretch at the back of the thigh between buttock and knee. The front leg is being stretched whilst the rear leg is acting as a support. Rotating the leg inwards will target the lateral hamstrings, and rotating the leg outwards will target the medial hamstrings.

THE STRETCH IS TOO HARD FOR ME...

Occasionally, a stretch can be too challenging for some individuals (or can have little  effect at all). Follow these steps to adjust accordingly:

  • Regression: increase knee flexion (bend knee), raise chest from ground, decrease distance between front and rear legs, move front foot from wall to ground

  • Progression: decrease knee flexion (straighten knee), lower chest to ground, increase distance between front and rear legs, decrease distance between heel and wall

NOTE: Perform the stretch in standing if you are uncomfortable with direct pressure on the knee joint.