Stretching the Hamstrings

Posted: December 27, 2012 in Functional Mobility and Flexibility
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I’m sure we have all stretched our hamstrings before or after a workout by bending at the waist, reaching our hands to the floor, and keeping our legs perfectly straight. While this does provide a stretch for the hamstrings, let’s take a look at some added benefits we could get by tweaking the stretch slightly.

For starters, it only stretches in one plane. Since everyone moves in 3 planes of motion (4 if you count diagonal), it makes more sense to stretch in this manner. Think about running. Only in the 100 meter dash do you run straight. Any other sport involves turning or cutting.

Back and Front Superficial Lines

Also, because the hamstring connects to the tibia (lower leg bone) and the gastrocnemius connects to the femur (thigh bone), the myofascia of the upper and lower leg link when the knee is straightened. This is the reason you cannot stretch as far when your knees are locked out compared to when they are slightly bent. The slight bend separates the fascia of the lower and upper leg, allowing for more movement.

To isolate the hamstring when stretching, it is more effective to have a slight bend in the knee and rotate the leg to simulate a movement in different planes. Below is the stretch Chuck Wolf uses to create a more functional stretch. While the biceps femoris is defined as part of the Lateral Line (semitendinosus and semimembranosus are shown in picture above), it too will be stretched using this procedure.

Try it out and let me know how it works for you. Also, please share any other functional stretches you may use for the hamstrings.

  1. I am not positive where you’re getting your info, but good topic. I must spend some time studying much more or understanding more. Thank you for fantastic information I was on the lookout for this information for my mission.

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