The hamstrings are a group of muscles located on the back top of the thigh. They stretch from your buttocks to your knees. These muscles become tight on many people. If they become too tight the result can be a strained or pulled muscle. In addition, tight hamstring muscles are often a contributing factor in chronic back pain. When the leg muscles are tight they pull the back and hip muscles out of alignment which can place unnecessary strain on the back. Below are the steps for an assisted hamstring stretch you can do with someone else to deeply stretch these muscles.
Things You'll Need
- A mat
Assisted Hamstring Stretch
When you are stretching someone else, it is best to use your body weight and lean into versus pushing the person into the stretch. As soon as you start to push, the receiver’s automatic reaction will be to tighten and resist you. In contrast, if you lean into the stretch it is much more comfortable to receive and it is easier to give since you are not using muscular force.
Have the receiver lie on the floor on their back, with their knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Have them bring their right knee into their chest and then straighten the leg, pressing the foot to the ceiling.
Stand on their right side in a lunge position with your right foot forward around their shoulder or armpit and your left foot near their hip. Stand close to the person so you can use good body mechanics.
With your left hand clasp their heel. Grasp it firmly but be careful to not squeeze too hard. Gently pull upwards on the heel to stretch the Achilles tendon located in the back of the ankle. Place your right palm on the sole of their foot. Gently press the toes down, flexing the foot.
Holding this position, start to lunge forward and use your body weight to move the receiver’s right leg closer to their chest. Go until the receiver tells you they feel a stretch. Make sure you do not go too far. The receiver should be able to tolerate you holding the stretch for thirty seconds
Have the receiver take several deep breaths and relax into the stretch. Do not bounce the leg--hold the stretch still. The receiver’s knee does not have to be straight. The main thing is that they should feel it in the back top of the thigh.
Hold for thirty seconds or longer. Repeat with the other leg.
Tips & Warnings
- Remember to use your body weight and lean into the stretch versus pushing with your muscles.
- Never bounce or force a stretch.
- Do not stretch to the point of pain.
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