Did you know that your hamstring is actually a group of 3 muscles running along the back of your thigh, connecting the pelvis to the knee?
Many of us experience tight hamstrings which, under added pressure, can lead to strains and tears. Keeping hamstrings supple can greatly reduce the risk of these injuries. The tightness often results from activities that require stop-start movements (eg tennis, netball, soccer) or running.
It’s important to warm up before any exercise and ease into each stretch slowly. If you experience any discomfort or pain, pull back and stay at a comfortable level, never force the stretch.
As we know Yoga is fantastic for building flexibility and length in the muscles. Here are our top 3 yoga poses to ease tightness from your hamstrings.
This pose gives a stretch to the entire back of the body. Pressing through the palms, try to gently ease the heels toward the mat. If your hamstrings are particularly tight you’ll find holding this position can be difficult so modify with bent knees, just keep the spine straight. Build up the amount of time you can hold this pose. Start small and rest regularly in child’s pose.
Start standing with feet hip width apart, drop the chin and start to roll down. Hang forward, pressing heels into the mat. Start with a soft bend in the knees and cross arms for a slightly stronger stretch. If you want to take it up a notch, bend one knee and straighten the other, hold then swap. When you’ve had enough, slowly roll up, keeping the chin tucked in.
Extended Triangle Pose
Start with feet one big step apart, right foot pointing forward, left foot pointing to the side. Take arms wide and turn the body, pointing right shoulder in line with the right foot. Reach right arm forward, taking it down toward the right shin, left arm expending toward the ceiling. Ease in and out of this pose slowly and take a soft knee bend to each any pressure.
Try these several times per week and gradually start to increase the length of time you hold each pose.