We’ve all suffered from tight hamstrings at some point in our fitness career. Whether we are runners or athletes of a professional sport, maintaining a strong set of hamstrings that are flexible and agile will help us improve the overall flexibility and prevent tightness in these muscles.
It’s common to think that tight hamstrings are caused due to lack of stretching these muscles. However, having tight hamstrings could more likely be that you are not working to strengthen them, leading to tightness and stiffness of the muscles.
Exercises to Reduce Stiffness in Your Hamstrings
Focusing on your flexibility and strength in your hamstring muscles can help you prevent injury and reduce any uncomfortable stiffness in these muscles.
1. Hip Thrusts
- Start by lying on your back with your knees bent and your feet planted firmly on the mat. Place your arms beside you, with your palms almost touching your heels.
- Brace your core and raise your hips as high as you can so that your glutes and your knees are aligned.
- Gently lower your hips to hover above the mat and return to the top.
- Perform hip bridges for three sets of 15 reps.
2. Stability Ball Hamstring Curls
- Start by lying on your back with your legs together and your calves placed on top of an exercise ball. Place your arms beside you.
- Raise your hips until your body is in a straight line and gently bend your knees to roll the ball toward your glutes.
- As your knees come to a 90-degree bend, extend your legs out to roll the ball back.
- Perform stability ball hamstring curls for 30 to 60 seconds.
3. Standing Forward Bend
- Stand with your feet hip-width distance apart and place your hands beside you.
- Bend from your waist and bring your hands on your thighs, your shins or the floor if you can.
- Shift all your weight to your toes and feel the stretch in the back of your legs.
- Hold this pose for five breaths and bob your head up and down and side to side to release the neck.
4. Dancer Pose
- Start by standing with your feet hip-width distance apart and slowly start to lean forward and bring your right leg behind you.
- Extend your left arm in front and keep your chest open. Reach your right arm back to grab your right ankle and lift your leg up high.
- Focus on your breath and your balance and hold this pose for five breaths.
- Release and repeat dancer pose using the opposite leg.
5. Stiff-Legged Deadlifts
- Stand with your feet about shoulder-width distance apart and grab a barbell with an overhand grip and place it in front of your thighs. Make sure your chest is lifted and that your spine is in a neutral position.
- Hinge slightly forward at the hips and push your glutes back as you slide the barbell down your leg to your shins.
- Reverse these steps to come back to the starting position and repeat for 15 reps.
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Fitness, P. (2016, September 13). This Yoga Sequence Will Loosen Up Insanely Tight Hamstrings. Retrieved from https://www.self.com/gallery/this-yoga-sequence-will-loosen-up-insanely-tight-hamstrings