We often have clients and patients come into IFAST complaining of tightness in their hamstrings.
The perspective of many is that if they continue to stretch their hamstrings aggressively, they’ll somehow prevent hamstring strains or alleviate lower back pain.
Stretching hamstrings as a solution to such issues is an exercise in futility as typical stretching protocols do not add length to the muscles (nor do we want longer hamstrings)and merely provide a few moments of reduced tension followed by recurrent or worsening tightness.
More often than not, postures and positions of the body influence what muscles become active. In the photo above you can see that the curve in the lower back tilts the pelvis forward. This influences the body’s center of gravity such that the hamstrings will increase their activity to maintain an upright posture. No amount of stretching will improve this position.
What typically provides a better solution is to actively engage the muscles that restore the ability to control the pelvis and hips against gravity when you’re standing.
We can do this by performing a simple activity like a Hooklying Hip Lift.
Lie on the floor with your hips and knees bent and feet flat on the floor.
Place a ball or towel roll between your knees.
Breath in through your nose and out through your mouth as you tuck your hips under by rolling your pelvis backward (yellow arrow above).
Continue to tuck your hips under as you slowly lift your hips from the floor.
As you reach the top of the hip lift, breathe in through your nose.
Exhale as you return to the floor.
Repeat for 2-3 sets of 5 repetitions.
Follow along with the video below.
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