Stiff hamstrings can be quite uncomfortable and disturb your daily activities. In fact, even when there is no stiffness, hamstrings are highly prone to injuries, especially if you perform activities such as running or sprinting. That is why fitness experts emphasize hamstring stretches. Regular stretching can improve muscle strength and flexibility to lower your chances of any hamstring injury. In case you are a beginner at hamstring stretches, we have a simple guide for you. This article talks about some of the best hamstring stretches, how to do them, and what are the benefits of such workouts. Keep reading to know more:
Top Stretches For Hamstrings
1. Lying Hamstring Stretch
It is a simple exercise that even beginners can easily do while lying on their bed. If you want to perform exercises for tight hamstrings while lying down, this is a great option. Let’s see how to do it:
- Lie flat on the ground with your back on the floor. Relax your body.
- Now, bend your knees while keeping the feet hip-width apart.
- Raise your right leg upwards to make a 90-degree angle with your body. You can also use your hands to hold the right knee to ensure the stretch is good.
- Hold it for 15-30 seconds and switch legs.
- Use Equipment: To modify these hamstring stretches, exercises can be done using a stap or using a wall for support and extra stretch.
- Seated Hamstring Stretch: You can try sitting stretches for tight hamstrings. For that, all you need to do is sit with a straight back and extend your legs forward. Bend and try to touch the toes with your hands. Hold and repeat. These are quite simple hamstring stretches for beginners and can be easily done at home.
2. Touching Toes
Touching toes have to be the most famous stretches for hamstrings that even kids love to do. The best part about this exercise is that it can also stretch your back and arms, making it a full-body stretch. Here is how you can do this:
- Stand straight and then stretch your hands over your head.
- Make sure you release any tensed muscles as you stretch your hands upwards.
- Now engage your core and bend forward. Also, activate your hamstrings and glutes as you bend.
- Try to touch your toes with your fingers. If you cannot touch the toes, try to bend as low as possible.
- Hold this stretch for at least 15-30 seconds and return to the initial position.
- Alternating Toe Touch: There are plenty of stretches for hamstrings that involve toe touching. In this variation, you can have to stand straight with your feet slightly wider than the hip-width distance. Spread your arms to the side. Engage your core, twist, and bend to touch the right toe with the left hand and then bend to touch the left toe with the right hand. Repeat.
- Squats To Alternate Toe Touch: Sometimes people combine squats and stretches for tight hamstrings to create new variations such as squats to alternate toes. To do this, you just have to touch your toes alternatively as you squat.
3. Extended Triangle Pose
This is a bit advanced stretch as compared to the other hamstring stretches for beginners. Quite similar to the Trikonasana yoga, this extended triangle pose is great for stretching and strengthening your hamstrings, hips, and shoulders. It can also engage your core muscles and improve your body’s stability.
Here is how you can do this:
- Stand straight, keeping your feet hip-width apart.
- Now, step your right leg out to the side so your toes are facing outwards.
- Stretch your arms out to your sides and keep them at shoulder height. Turn your torso to the right and bend down to touch your right leg with your right arm. Your left arm should be straight and upwards making a 90-degree with the ground.
- Hold the pose for 15 to 30 seconds.
- Return to the initial position and then repeat on the other side.
There are no special variations of this stretch but if you want, you can try other yoga stretches for hamstrings. Some of the best and easy yoga stretches for hamstrings include:
- Downward-facing Dog Pose
- Gate Pose
- Pyramid Pose
- Monkey Pose
- Warrior III Pose
Bonus Content: Stretches to Include In Workout at Home
Other than the above-mentioned hamstring stretches, exercises that can also benefit your legs and hamstrings are:
- Sumo Squat
- Basic Bridge
- Lying Leg Curl
- Reverse Plank
Benefits Of Stretches For Hamstrings
If you perform the best hamstring stretches on a regular basis, you can also notice the following benefits:
- Improved Flexibility: You may have noticed that each of the hamstrings stretches also work on other body parts such as the back, shoulders, and arms. In short, when you try stretches for hamstrings, you also boost flexibility in the overall body. This improves your range of motion and helps you perform daily tasks such as walking or bending over quite easily.
- Reduced chance of Injuries: When your hamstrings and loose and relaxed, there are less chances of any muscle strain or tear during strenuous physical exercise such as running. You can also prevent basic injuries that may occur due to inflexible hamstrings.
- Lesser Lower Back Pain: By doing exercises for tight hamstrings, you can improve the mobility of your lower body, including the pelvis. You also alleviate the pressure and provide extra support for the back and pelvis. All this can reduce your lower back pain effectively.
- Better Posture: Usually, when you have stiff muscles, your body is not able to retain its natural pose or it leads to poor seated and standing posture. Stretching your body also helps in correcting your body posture. If your hamstrings are relaxed, you can sit straighter and stand taller.
Performing the stretches for hamstrings isn’t just about improving flexibility. You can increase the overall strength and functional ability of your body. Also since hamstrings are an important part of your lower body, stretching them can also help in improving your performance during workouts such as a weight loss exercise like running or even weightlifting a dumbbell. So, don’t take your hamstrings for granted and start stretching exercises soon.
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