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A woman sitting on her bed stretches her legs and hamstrings.

5 Crucial Exercises for Too-Tight Hamstrings

Hamstring pain can significantly impact your day. If you’re experiencing tight hamstrings, you know exactly what I mean.

You go to stand up and you feel tightness and pain. You go to sit on the toilet and it’s a whole ordeal. Heck, even walking may pose some difficulties!

Ultimately, you want to squash this problem ASAP - or at the very least, prevent it from happening again. Maybe you were more active than normal yesterday or perhaps you dove headfirst into your workout. But now you’re paying for it.

So, what can you do?

In this article, we’ve got you covered with the only hamstring exercises you’ll ever need, specifically when it comes to gentle exercises for tight hamstrings. So, let’s get right to it.

5 Exercises for Hamstring Pain Relief

While sitting might feel great, when you go to stand up, I guarantee it won’t. Thus, by doing the following exercises, you can find some relief and lower your hamstring pain and tightness without having to simply wait it out. And there are tons of ways to stretch these hammies!

What you’ll need…

  • A yoga mat.
  • A yoga strap (or a belt/towel you can use similarly).
  • Foam roller.
  • A chair.
  • An unobstructed door frame.

1. Lying Hamstring Stretch with Strap

This one is great if you find hamstring stretches difficult. Sometimes, it can be hard to target that posterior leg region. Or your flexibility may be completely shot which may make other hamstring stretches difficult. But this exercise allows you to use a strap, which makes it far more comfortable for the least flexible individuals among us.

3 people in a yoga studio doing a laying hamstring stretch with a yoga strap.

How To

  1. Lay face up on a comfortable surface, such as a yoga mat.
  2. Wrap a strap or towel under your foot and hold an end in each hand.
  3. Bend your opposite leg and plant your foot firmly on the ground.
  4. Slowly and gently pull your leg straight back (while keeping the knee slightly soft, not locked) until you feel a stretch along the back of your thigh.
  5. Hold here for 20-30 seconds, and repeat on each side.

2. Hamstring Foam Rolling

A foam roller is a wonderful tool for tight and sore spots. It’s like getting a massage without having to pay the cost for or spend the time at an appointment with a registered massage therapist. This tool digs into your muscle, releasing tension and providing optimal relief.

A woman rolling the back of her thigh with a foam roller to stretch her tight hamstrings.

How To

  1. Sit on the ground and place the foam roller perpendicular to and under your thigh.
  2. Gently roll up and down on the foam roller while applying moderate pressure.
  3. Go slow and spend about 30 seconds to two minutes doing this. You will feel a slight pain, but it should feel like a good pain.
  4. Afterward, consider using it on any other sore spot on your body!

3. Standing Hamstring Stretch/Forward Fold

Yoga is often an excellent complementary workout to strength training or cardio. It offers up the opportunity to restore and reset your body and its tissues. And the standing forward fold is an incredible hamstring stretch, as well as a stretch that targets your entire posterior chain.

Standing forward fold stretch for hamstrings.

How To

  1. Stand tall with your head to the sky and your shoulders down and relaxed.
  2. Exhale and bend forward at the hips.
  3. Allow your body to completely relax and hang.
  4. You may choose to hold your elbows in your opposite hands or place your hands under your feet. Do whatever feels the most comfortable.
  5. Hold for 5 complete breaths.

Did you know that this stretch is also in A Restorative Yoga Flow for Healing? Add this to your routine for improved body health!

4. Wall Hamstring Stretch

Yes, your wall or doorway can serve as your go-to stretching buddy. It doesn’t require any strain from the rest of your body and gives you a bit of time to simply relax.

A man lays on his back and stretches his hamstring on a wall with one leg down.

Image Source: Yoga international

How To

  1. Locate a doorway in your space.
  2. Lie face up on the ground with one leg through the doorway.
  3. Take your other leg and place it up on the wall. Straighten your knee here to fully feel the stretch on the back of your leg.
  4. Try to get as close as possible to the wall. For many, this may not be possible. Do what feels comfortable for you.
  5. Hold here for 20-30 seconds, then switch sides.

5. Sitting Hamstring Stretch

For some, getting down on the ground then back up again may not be entirely possible - especially if you’re really sore! Enter: The Sitting Hamstring Stretch. This stretch can be done in the comfort of your office chair, making it incredibly easy to do.

A woman stretches her hamstrings while sitting on a chair.

How To

  1. Sit on the edge of the chair, but also ensure the chair is stable and that you won’t fall off (safety first!).
  2. Straighten your affected leg and plant your heel on the ground.
  3. Slowly bend forward at the hips, reaching toward your toes on the outstretched leg.
  4. Bend forward until you feel a gentle stretch through your hamstrings.
  5. Hold here for 20-30 seconds, and repeat on your opposite side.

Stretch It Out!

Let’s be honest; sore muscles aren’t fun. But there are many ways you can ease the pain and accelerate your recovery. Use these stretches above to help you say goodbye to hamstring pain.

When you perform these stretches regularly, you will also improve your flexibility. We recommend aiming for 2-3 times a week or after your next workout. Tight hamstrings are something that you definitely want to address. If you don’t, back pain and other cascading issues may happen. So, tackle your pain and muscle tightness now - before it gets worse.

Want more? Take care of your hips with these 5 Simple Stretches to Reduce Hip Pain.

Krista Bugden

Krista Bugden

"Believing in yourself is really half the battle," says Krista. Anything is possible and you really can achieve anything you set your mind to, is her motto. Physiotherapist, Piano player, skydiver, yogi, adventure traveler and energetic force of positivity, Krista is herself a (delightful) force to be reckoned with! As... Read More

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