Way, way back in grade school, I learned in Physical Education (PE) class that I should hold my hamstring stretches for at least 20 seconds. With every sport – wrestling, racquetball, football and the early years of rugby, I thought I was stretching my hamstring when in fact, I was actually tightening them.
Three things you have been doing WRONG all these years:
To truly stretch a muscle safely, you should only HOLD THE STRETCH FOR 2-3 SECONDS. The body’s natural reflex will begin to contract your muscles after this 2-3 seconds and you will lose the stretch and begin to tighten. You know this happens when you experience soreness after a stretching session. You will notice that with each stretch you go further and further, improve the joints healthy range of motion.
Stretch the hamstring in THREE DIRECTIONS. Straight on (as you have been doing), with the foot externally rotated and with the food internally rotated.
Trying to stretch your hamstring in a seated or standing position can work but it is inefficient. If you “bounce” to get a bigger stretch you can tear muscle fibers. In the seated or standing position, you are not isolating the muscle group. What happens is, if your hamstrings are tight, your back and your calves will do most of the stretching first. Watch the video to see the PROPER POSITION and the simple technique to isolate the hamstrings for a great stretch:
What you need: 6-8 feet of rope, mat for hard floors
Key things to remember: hold for 2-3 seconds, relax and repeat. 8-10 repetitions. Stretch all 3 heads of the hamstring.
If you are unsure of how to perform this stretch, please let me know during your visit to our office. We can easily demonstrate it for you.
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Be active. Be healthy.