How to Loosen Up Tight Hamstrings


Are you prone to sitting for long periods of time? Perhaps the confines of your job have you held prisoner to a chair for days in a row without much of a chance for movement. This is a very common tale told by many everyday office employees and it also happens to be a big cause for tight hamstrings. Nothing about tight hamstrings is fun, but this condition can easily be reversed. Read on to learn how to loosen up tight hamstrings.

Sit on a Swiss ball. These have also been called exercise balls, physioballs, balance balls and ergo balls. It really doesn't matter what you call them. The important thing is to sit on them whether you are at home or at the office. You can easily roll from side to side extending one leg out and holding for thirty seconds each right from the comfort of your desk. This will help to loosen up those tight hamstrings.

Lie on the floor and extend your leg straight up in the air while supporting it with your hands. Try to keep your knee straight or at least as straight as you can. Hold this stretch for 20 to 30 seconds then switch legs.

Lying hamstring stretch
Lying hamstring stretch

Make sure to always stretch at the end of your cardiovascular exercise. Often times when you just go running without stretching at the end, you have a tendency to "tighten" up. You will especially feel this in bed at night right before you close your eyes and also in the morning. This is surely going to negatively impact your performance for your next workout.

Step up to the plate--a vibration plate. This is modern technology that is starting to sweep the nation. Consult with your local, gym, health club or medical facility to see if they have one. The theory behind the vibration plate is it causes a stretch reflex that causes excitation of muscle fibers and connective tissue which rapidly increases flexibility.

Stay active. The biggest cause of tight hamstrings is inactivity. The simplest way to avoid this is by simply walking everyday for at least 20 minutes. This does not take much time or knowledge and it can be quite invigorating as well. You don't even need to walk 20 minutes in a row. Break it up into increments if that better fits your schedule.

Attend a yoga class once a week. This is a great way to loosen up your hamstrings. A lot of the poses are designed with your hamstrings best interest in mind. Yoga has also been known to reduce stress. So you will also get he added benefit of mood enhancement. That's a nice one-two combination.

Tips & Warnings

  • When doing the lying hamstring stretch, you can actually walk your hands up your leg and then back down just like you are climbing a rope in gym class. When you do this, your upper body will come off the floor. That is OK, just try to keep your back straight.
  • If you are going to use a vibrational plate, make sure to read the contraindications. There are usually a list of ten or so things to watch out for. Seek professional knowledge before stepping on to it.

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