The relief you feel when you stretch your hamstrings lasts for hours. When the backs of your upper legs are tight, the muscles can pull down on your lower back leading to pain. Tight hamstrings also reduce the range of motion in your legs, which is a hindrance when you play sports. The hamstring muscle group begins on your sit bones, crosses your hips, runs down the backs of your legs behind your knees and finishes on your lower leg bones. While aiming for your upper hamstrings, you improve the entire hamstring group as the muscles respond as a whole.
Sit on the floor. Extend your right leg out in front of you. Bend your left knee and place your left foot next to your right inner thigh.
Inhale and straighten your spine as you sit up tall. Exhale, fold forward from your hips as you reach toward your right ankle.
Keep your back straight and press your chest toward your thigh. Straighten your knee and point your toes up.
Maintain the stretch for 15 to 30 seconds. Release as you sit up in the starting position. Complete five to 10 stretches on each leg.
Lie face up near the edge of a wall. Position your hips at the wall's corner. Straighten your legs along the wall and position your head away from the edge.
Raise your right leg and place your right heel on the edge of the wall. Straighten your right leg until you feel the stretch in your hamstring.
Relax and breathe normally as you hold the stretch for 15 to 30 seconds.
Slowly lower your right leg. Lift your left leg and repeat the stretch. As your flexibility increases, slide your hips closer to the wall.
Stand facing a chair or a weight bench. Shift your weight onto your left foot and place your right heel onto the chair.
Inhale stand up tall and straighten your spine. Slowly straighten your right leg as you exhale and fold forward over your right leg.
Press your chest toward your thigh as you slide your hands toward your right ankle. Maintain the stretch for 15 to 30 seconds as you breathe normally.
Slowly return your torso upright and set your right foot on the floor. Repeat the stretch on your left leg.
- Warm your legs before you stretch. Spend five to 10 minutes in a full body activity such as walking, swimming, cycling or dancing.
- If you have any lower back discomfort, speak with your doctor before you begin a flexibility program. If you feel any pain, stop the stretch immediately. The exercises may cause discomfort as you improve your flexibility, but you should not feel pain.
A mother of two and passionate fitness presenter, Lisa M. Wolfe had her first fitness article published in 2001. She is the author of six fitness books and holds an Associate of Arts in exercise science from Oakland Community College. When not writing, Wolfe is hula-hooping, kayaking, walking or cycling.