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Healthy Flexible Hamstrings

Posted by Exfx Fitness on January 20, 2013  /   Posted in Exercises, Fitness, Training

In my practice, I have noticed a lot of clients with tight Hamstrings. Many clients that I train have had this issue and it does affect training progress as it boils down to proper technique.

The cause of this could be many and varied depending on the person so many questions need to be asked in order to determine the cause. Fixing the problem at this stage is not nearly as good as going to the source of the problem and that is changing habits and lifestyle.

Posture could affect the tightness of the hamys. A posterior tilt of the pelvis will contract the gluteus and the hamys causing a flat back. This unstable posture if loaded will without a doubt cause an injury. Certain work and lifestyles could cause a tightening of these muscles which in turn could affect how a person moves and exercises.

As manly as it would seem, stretching muscles in your body is no longer perceived as a wussy thing to do, alas it is a necessity to ensure the elastic health of your muscles. An athlete or regular exerciser who does not stretch will miss out on numerous benefits of stretching including speedier recovery from workouts, improved muscle fiber alignment, improved performance and also reduced D.O.M.S.

Knowing the anatomy of the hamstrings is vital in performing a highly effective stretch. The hamstrings are made up of three different muscles, the biceps femoris, semi membranous and the semi tendinosus. All three originate from the ishial tuberosity and attach into the tibia and fibula. The ishial tuberosities are the sit bones you sit on.

Place your foot on the bench. Next you want to bend your knees slightly. I find that this tends to stretch the belly of the hamstrings better than having legs straight.

Anterior tilting your pelvis will increase the distance from the origins and insertions and initiate the stretch of this group.

Lift your ribs up keep your spine upright, do not bend or forward flex the trunk, engage transverse abdominals and shift the trunk and pelvis forward a little more. This action will increase the torque on the anterior tilt and more of the stretch. By now you should be feeling a really violent stretch.

The next step, if you would like to apply even more of a stretch is to gently place pressure on the femur close to the knee cap. Be sure to not exert force on the knee cap itself as it could cause you pain and discomfort. You could also do a P.N.F. Sequence at this point.

Always remember to hold your stretches for a minimum of 8 seconds to get the most of your stretches. Any less than that and you may not be getting any benefits of the stretch at all.

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