Exercises > Flexibility (Muscles) > Hamstring Stretches
(Main muscles involved: Hamstrings – Biceps Femoris, Semitendinosus, Semimembranosus)
The following hamstring stretches are designed to improve the flexibility of the hamstring muscles (figure 1). You should discuss the suitability of these exercises with your physiotherapist prior to commencing them.
To begin with, the hamstring stretches should be held for 15 seconds and repeated 4 times at a mild to moderate stretch pain free. Generally, you should choose one or two stretches that are comfortable for you and perform them 3 times daily. As your flexibility improves, the hamstring stretches can be progressed by increasing the frequency, duration and intensity of the stretches provided they are pain free.
Figure 1 – The Hamstring Muscles (Hamstrings)
Place your foot on a step or chair. Keeping your knee and back straight, lean forward at your hips until you feel a stretch in the back of your thigh / knee (figure 2). Hold for 15 seconds and repeat 4 times at a mild to moderate stretch pain free.
Figure 2 – Hamstring Stretch
Hamstring Self Massage Exercises
The following hamstring self massage exercises are designed to improve the flexibility of the hamstring muscles and are an excellent addition to the above hamstring stretches. You should discuss the suitability of these exercises with your physiotherapist prior to commencing them.
Foam Roller Hamstring Release
Place the foam roller under your hamstrings (back of your thigh) as demonstrated (figure 5). Using your arms, slowly move your body forward and backwards allowing the foam roller to massage the back of your thighs. Breathe normally keeping your legs relaxed. Repeat this process for 15 – 90 seconds provided it is comfortable and does not cause pain. This exercise can be progressed by crossing your legs and massaging one thigh at a time.
Figure 5 – Foam Roller Hamstring Release
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