Tight hamstrings can be a major contributor to several different types of pain or orthopedic injury. Running injuries, back pain, hip pain, and knee pain can all be stemmed from short and tight hamstrings. Use these 7 effective stretches to relieve tight hamstrings to not only improve running form but reduce the risk of running injury.
Chair Hamstring Stretch
Facing a chair, place the foot of the leg to be stretched on the chair. Bending at the
waist and knee, lean forward until the trunk is on top of the thigh. Push back with the
lower leg until a stretch is felt. Hold for 10-15 seconds and repeat 3-5 times.
Heel Prop Hamstring Stretch
Place leg to be stretched on an object 6-8 inches off the ground in front of you. Gently
lean forward at the hips careful not to just round the back until a gentle stretch is felt.
Hold for 15-20 seconds and repeat 3-5 times.
Seated Hamstring Stretch
Sitting on a table or mat with leg outstretched in front and opposite foot resting on the
floor, ensure that hips are facing forward and straight. Outstretching hands in front, lean
forward at the hips until a gentle stretch is felt. Hold 15-20 seconds and repeat 3-5
times. Take are to not round the lumbar spine and keep it in a neutral position focusing
movement to the hips.
PNF Contract-Relax Stretch
Lying back with opposite leg bent, place the leg to be stretched on a partner’s shoulder.
Have your partner straighten your leg at the knee as straight as possible. Press down
in to your partner’s shoulder with you heel trying to bend the knee. Hold for 5 seconds.
As you relax, have your partner take up the slack and straighten your knee further.
Repeat 3-5 times.
Lying on your back, lift both legs in to the air with legs straight. Place a strap around the
foot of the leg to be stretch, holding it up. Slowly lower and lift opposite leg 10 times.
Rest and repeat three times.
Doorway Hamstring Stretch
On your back, scoot buttocks towards the doorway and place leg to be stretched
straight on the wall and the opposite leg through the doorway. Bend the opposite knee.
Use the wall to stretch your hamstrings. Hold a gentle stretch for 15-20 seconds and
repeat 3-5 times.
To foam roll the hamstrings, with the foam roller on the floor, sit with back of the leg over
the roller. Gently roll back and forth using hands to propel for 2-3 minutes. This can
often be a painful process, but the results are well worth the effort to relieve tightness in
Tight hamstrings can increase your risk for multiple problems. By spending the extra
time to adequately stretch, you reduce incidences of back pain, knee pain, and running