The hamstrings are actually three muscles, the biceps femoris, the semimembranosus and the semitendinosus and they are located in the back of your upper leg. They are regularly used, meaning that they are involved in almost every movement of your lower extremities. Because they are used all the time especially while walking and running you can’t really rest them in order to prevent them from injury or pain so the best way to keep them healthy and happy is to have a stretch routine that will prevent or release tightness in them which may cause more serious problems down the line like lower back pain and knee pain but it actually goes even further and in some cases it can cause shoulder pains. In order to prevent these problems from occurring we prepared a list of stretches that you can do anywhere.
The easiest and most accessible way to stretch your hamstrings is the toe touching stretch. To do this stretch all you need to do is stand with your feet at shoulder width and bend your body at your waist while trying to reach your toes with your hands. Make sure you keep your knees straight at all times so you feel the stretch in your hamstrings. You don’t have to touch your toes in order to stretch them. Sometimes you won’t reach your toes but you’ll feel the stretch in your hamstrings and that is enough. When bending forward slowly try to feel the stretch and stop before it turns to pain. Make sure you don’t bounce your stretches because it’s much better if you hold the position where you feel mild discomfort for thirty seconds. Try to remain relaxed and breathe while you’re stretching.
Crossover hamstring stretch
The crossover hamstring stretch is easy to do but requires a little balance. It stretches both hamstrings at the same time but puts an accent on the leg that is behind. To do this stretch you need to stand and cross your legs, right foot in front of your left then start bending slowly at your waist trying to bring your forehead to your knee. Try to keep both your knees straight as much as possible and hold this position for thirty seconds. Remember to breath and try to relax. After the thirty seconds are up switch your legs. Repeat this three times to achieve best results.
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One legged standing hamstring stretch
The one legged standing hamstring stretch is probably the easiest stretch to do and it can be done anywhere you are at the moment like office, home or even out in the park. It doesn’t require special tools or equipment which makes it one of the most accessible stretches. To do the stretch you need to stand up straight with one heel resting on a chair or a sidewalk. While keeping your knee straight extend your arms diagonally toward the edge of the ceiling and start bending forward while keeping your back straight. As you reach forward you will feel a stretch in your hamstring and you need to hold this position for thirty seconds. Repeat at least three times for each leg to take full advantage of this exercise.
Hamstring and calf stretch
This is a pretty common flexibility exercise that engages your hamstrings and your calves. To do it you need to stand near a wall on which you’ll place your hands at shoulder height and width. Next you need to take a step back with one leg while pushing into the wall. You need to press your heel into the floor and try to keep your back completely straight. Hold the position for thirty seconds if possible and then repeat the exercise with the other leg. It would be optimal if you do the exercise three times per leg.
Wide leg hamstring stretch
What you need to do to perform this stretch is stand tall on your mat or floor and spread your legs wider than the hips while keeping your arms at your sides. Turn your body to face your right leg and bend forward from your waist placing your hands on your thigh to support yourself until your back is flat. Hold this position for thirty seconds if possible. Try stretching to the point where you feel a small discomfort but not to the point of pain. Don’t bounce when you do this exercise and keep your knees straight as much as you can.
Scissor hamstring stretch
This is a bit of a more advance version than the previous stretch. What you need to do is position your feet on the ground wider than the hips with your arms on your sides and turn your body toward one side. While slowly bending forward from your waist you need to let your body collapse over your leg and your hands should touch the ground near your foot. When you’re touching the floor hold the position for thirty seconds and then repeat on the opposite side. Be careful doing this exercise as it’s quite advanced and never push yourself to the point where you feel pain.