How Long Will it Take to Stretch Tight Hamstrings?

Regularly stretching your hamstrings relieves tightness.
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Your hamstrings are engaged on a daily basis when you walk or run. Although seemingly easy, these activities become challenging when your hamstrings are tight. Lack of exercise, sitting for extended periods and strength training with heavy weights shorten and tighten your hamstrings, leaving them susceptible to injuries. Targeted stretches can lengthen your muscles and improve your performance, flexibility and range of motion. For optimal results, avoid quick, incorrect stretching and learn how to properly stretch the back of your upper legs.

About Tight Hamstrings

Neglecting tight hamstrings and continuing to subject them to tension makes them prone to tearing. When your hamstrings are tight, it affects your entire body. Tight hamstrings pull your pelvis down and out of its normal position. This can change the alignment of your back, resulting in back pain and postural problems. Your physical performance also suffers, because tight muscles lack blood circulation -- as your muscles tighten, blood is squeezed out of them, impairing your performance.

Stretch Duration

Stretching your hamstrings is ideally done periodically throughout each day. According to, stretching at least two to three times per week is essential to maintain your flexibility and range of motion. To be effective, hold each stretch for up to 30 seconds and repeat it two to three times. Tight hamstrings will gradually loosen and you'll notice improvements on a weekly basis. Avoid short and lengthy stretches -- a 15-second hold isn't long enough, and a one-minute hold won't give you extra benefits.

Hamstring Stretches

The best stretches for tight hamstrings are those that don't put any pressure on your spine and lower back. Standing upright and slowly bending forward as if you're taking a bow is an effective stretch. Look forward as you bend so you maintain the natural curve in your back. Hold the stretch for 30 seconds and repeat it at least two times. Sitting on the floor with one leg extended and reaching for your toes will also stretch your hamstrings without stressing your lower back. Hold this stretch for 30 seconds and repeat it at least two times on each leg.

Stretching Precautions

Before stretching, always warm up your muscles, because cold muscles are stiff, less pliable and prone to injuries. Jog or walk in place for five to 10 minutes. When you stretch, never pull your muscle to the point you feel pain -- you should only feel a slight tension. Avoid bouncing or jerking while stretching, because this can trigger muscle tears and cause more tightening. Breathe through the stretches and, for your safety, consult a doctor before starting a stretching routine, especially if you have injuries or health conditions.

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