Stop Stretching Your Hamstrings
Updated: Jul 24, 2019
Welcome back to Movement Monday, this is Episode 2 and this message is for the 84% of people who will deal with back pain at some point in their lives or anybody who has had tightness in their hammies, Stop Stretching your Hamstrings. The hamstrings are probably the most targeted area that people want to stretch, they try all sorts of positions to get them to loosen up but in today’s episode, we’re going to look at why those poor hammies may be the victim and not the culprit. Ok, for starters, what are the hamstrings and what do they do. The hamstrings are part of 3 separate muscles one having 2 heads, the biceps femoris as well as two others, the semitendinosus and semimembranosus, They are all provided power by the sciatic nerve. When this nerve is giving a little too much juice to the hamstrings, they are going to hold themselves tighter making them feel both stiff and tight to you. This is called tone and all muscles have it to some degree. Go poke those sore spots between somebody’s shoulders. Those sore spots are areas of higher tone and every muscle can get them. The hamstrings are no exception. Today, I’ll show you 3 ways to “stretch” your hamstrings without ever actually having to pull on them.
Ok, before going on, if you are concerned about something wrong in your low back, before trying anything in this video or anywhere else, you should check in with your physio or physical therapist. My spine owner’s manual on TallahasseePT.com/low-back will give you guidance on when to seek emergency care.
Some background on our first exercise, we want to target the spine. Picture this, we start our day bending forward, we then go to our couch or go eat breakfast and still sitting like this, we maybe then go to work, sit in our car, still keeping our spine rounded, we get out of the car, realize that the back of our legs are tight and what do we do, bend forward! With that in mind, our first stop will work on making sure that the low back is not the source of my tight hamstrings. I’m going to go face down on the mat and push up into cobra pose. For some with low back pain, this position may be too much too soon and will need to start on their elbows or if they are really hurting, just lying face down on their stomach. If you’re ready to push up into cobra, place your hands under your shoulders and just lift the top half of your body with the bottom half relaxed. Repeat 10-15 times. This movement should be pain free or mostly pain free and afterwards, your back should be at least the same if not improved. With this, we retest with lying on your back, your leg comes up higher, your spine was contributing to your hamstring tightness.
#2 and #3 are going to use your nerves to turn down the tone in your hammies. Our set-up is lying on your back, pull your leg up to where you are feeling the stiffness and then push down on your thigh resisting your push. Hold for 5 seconds and repeat 3 times. #3 is more of a neurodynamic technique and this is in sitting position with your legs in front. First is more of a slider with you looking up when you straighten your leg transitioning to more of a neutral position and followed by a tensioner. Then recheck. Once you gain the mobility, reinforce it and load it until it becomes the new normal. If the mobility doesn't stick, try loading it hourly using the whichever technique you used or one of the other variations.
So, that’s it for this Movement Monday.
In Tallahassee and want treatment that focuses on the source of the problem and not just the symptoms? Hop on over to the main page and request your absolutely free Discovery visit, follow on Facebook or Instagram at blackbeltphysio. See you again next Monday.