Hey Kells crew! Week 4 of this blog/vlog, this week I want to talk about everyone’s favorite muscle…the hamstring. As a PT I see tight hamstrings on the regular. I myself have some pretty tight hammy’s, check out the video (apologies for the background chatter). Like all other muscles, if you are overly tight you will have limited movement. Limited movement causes you to make compensations to complete the motion; your body is just good at finding free space and moving into that direction. For example, tight hamstrings in the dead lift will cause you to round your back just to get to the bar. If you have been in any of my classes you know that I hate that. This specific compensation will put you at greater risk for a back injury especially with higher loads or speeds. Please keep in mind, having flexible hamstrings will not prevent injury but is a small piece of the pie to maintain overall joint health. This however is not easy to come by, many of us sit for long periods of the day with our knees bent, and we are just used to doing it. Unfortunately this is the perfect recipe for tight hamstrings.
The video below contains a few ways to help lengthen the hamstrings, but keep in mind this is not a magic formula. These “stretches” need to be done routinely and over a long period of time for significant changes to be made. Many of us may never have flexible hamstrings but it is important to keep these muscles as supple as possible due to their high use in everyday life but also here at Kells. I personally like using a contract relax technique for lengthening muscle, in short it is using opposing muscles to the target muscle to “turn off” the target and improve muscle length. In the video below I use this in two different techniques, first with the green band laying on back and band around the foot, pull thigh to a 90degree position in relation to the torso with knee slightly bent. You will then contract your quads to straighten out your leg as much as you can then relax allowing your knee to bend once again. Perform 20-30 reps of this and repeat on the opposite side.
The second way to do this is to set yourself up again lying on the ground, this time close to the rig or a doorway. Place your leg on the vertical object with your knee straight and opposite leg flat on the ground, you will then push your foot into the rig as hard as you can and hold for a 10 count, perform 2-3 times and move yourself closer to the vertical object. Perform this 2-3 times. I promise you will see a significant improvement in your hamstring mobility after this, but keep in mind this will most likely be temporary and will have to be done on the regular for permanent changes to be made.