The hamstrings refer to three different muscles in the back of the thigh that run from the hip to the knee. This muscle group helps us walk, run, and jump.
Because people use their hamstrings in everyday movements such as walking, it is important to keep these muscles loose. Stretching will help people avoid strains and muscle tears.
This article will discuss seven of the best hamstring stretches, when to use them, how often to use them, and the benefits of hamstring stretches.
7 best hamstring stretches
Hamstring stretches will help keep the muscles flexible and mobile. These stretches should not cause pain. Only stretch until there is mild to moderate tension. Flexibility will improve over time, and people should try to avoid overstretching, as this can cause injury.
Use the following stretches to loosen muscle tightness in the hamstrings:
1. Lying hamstring stretch
2. Lying hamstring stretch using a strap
3. Lying hamstring stretch using a wall
4. Sitting hamstring stretch
5. Sitting hamstring stretch using a chair
6. Standing hamstring stretch
7. Standing hamstring stretch using a table
Benefits of hamstring stretches
Hamstring stretches can keep the hamstrings loose and flexible. Flexible hamstrings have many benefits, such as:
Preventing lower back pain
Tight hamstrings reduce the mobility of the pelvis, which can put pressure on the lower back. Strengthening and stretching the hamstrings can prevent them from becoming too tight and provide extra support for the back and pelvis.
Keeping the hamstrings loose will lower the chance of straining or tearing the muscle fibers during strenuous physical activities, such as running.
Hamstring stretches can increase flexibility and improve the range of motion in the hip. Both of these benefits will help people perform daily tasks, such as walking up stairs and bending over, with ease.
When the hamstrings are too tight, the muscles rotate the pelvis backward. This can flatten the natural arch in the back, which can cause poor seated and standing posture. Keeping the hamstrings loose can help people sit straighter and stand taller.
When to use hamstring stretches
People should aim to stretch the muscles in their body, including the hamstrings, daily. Even a few minutes of daily stretching can improve a person’s overall mobility.
If someone experiences lasting tightness in their hamstrings, they should consider speaking to their healthcare provider. Persistent tightness in the hamstrings may suggest that the muscles are overlengthened.
In these cases, stretching will not help, and the person should instead focus on strengthening their hamstrings.
Tips for stretching
A good time to practice hamstring stretches is before and after excising.
People should always warm up before exercising. During a warmup, people increase their heart rate by walking or jogging. Elevating the heart rate gets the blood pumping through the body, which supplies the muscles with oxygen. This improves exercise performance and reduces a person’s risk of injury.
People should stretch after the warmup. If the muscles are not properly warmed up, stretching may strain or even tear the muscle fibers.
The effectiveness of stretching before exercise is still up for debate. Some studies suggest that there are no physical benefits of warmup stretches, and there are mixed opinions regarding whether or not pre-exercise stretches can prevent injury.
However, athletic activities such as dance and gymnastics will require stretching beforehand to improve flexibility.
Stretching after exercise helps relieve muscle tension. This may help the muscles recover faster and reduce pain after a workout.
Hamstring stretches are beneficial for athletes as well as for people who are not athletes or do not play sports. Stretching each day can improve blood flow and keep the muscles energized and loose.
While the benefits of stretching before and after workouts are up for debate, stretching is good for overall health, as it improves flexibility and prevents injury.
Stretching the hamstrings will help keep these muscles loose and flexible, which will improve posture, increase flexibility, and prevent lower back pain.
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