The first day we set foot into the gym we are assigned tasks that increase the function of the particular muscle. The process goes on and on. When it comes to our workout, we are so much focused to do on what we see the most. Out of sight and out of mind, our workout goes. The same goes for our leg workout. Because many people tend to be quad-dominant, meaning their quad muscles, which run along the front of the thighs, tend to be way more developed than their hamstring muscles.
Let’s get straight to it. Tight hamstrings which you either build up working hard or no working at all can harm you more. A study on NFL players reported 1,716 hamstring injuries over a 10-year period, which breaks down to roughly five or six injuries per team, per season. Tight hamstrings are a major concern among fitness enthusiasts. To better understand how tight hamstrings affect, what causes it read the article till the end.
The hamstrings are a group of three muscles on the back of the leg:
- Biceps femoris
All these muscles are the most important part of our legs that support everyday bodily movements, including walking, running, and jumping. Tight hamstrings can affect all of these movements and limit mobility.
Why are Hamstrings so tight?
If you feel like getting tight hamstrings, it’s a sign your hamstrings are close to overload. Here are some reasons that cause tight hamstrings.
Overuse of muscle Your hamstrings is typically tight when you over function to their capacity. A common cause being the over-exercise. The key here is that your muscle is not smart, they do what you told them to do. When you instruct them to perform intense workouts that require the repeated contraction of the hamstrings to decelerate the knee extension and bring the lower legs toward the buttocks the hamstrings become tight. Sports like soccer and tennis, running are some, where you are more likely to put pressure on hamstrings. Repeated training of a particular muscle helps to develop the muscle fast but overuse of such muscle imbalance its stability of being supportive in case of injury. And it will break like a crack in the material of glass.
Sedentary lifestyle The other common cause is no exercise. How many hours of your days are spent on the chair? At your 9 to 5 work you could be doing your hamstrings a serious disservice. When you spend most of your time sitting and do not train these muscles your hamstrings start to stretch but not the good kind of a stretch. Understand it like a tug of war match between your hamstrings and hip flexors. And they lose and eventually your hamstrings reach a point where they cannot lengthen any longer. And at the end they become stiff and tight restricting mobility and causing pain and weakening the gluteus, leading to compensatory overwork by the hamstrings.
The other reasons being a weakness, injury, or other pelvic problems. Your posture and alignment affect everything in your body from head to toe. An uneven posture where stand with your butt and stomach pushed out weakens the overall functioning of the hamstrings, which causes tight hamstrings.
Tight hamstrings symptoms
With your hamstrings not working at their full capacity, your performance will take a hit. To relieve the tight hamstrings you have to make sure of the tightness. The symptoms of tight hamstrings are common and mostly ignoring.
- Soreness and stiffness in the legs
- Reaching your stones becomes difficult
- Swelling or bruising
- Tenderness and cramping
Consequences of tight hamstrings
The hamstrings feel tight after any exercise. The condition is normal for any fitness geek. But if you are in a state where your legs are not working to their capacity or if these are overworking poses the risk of injury. The most common being that your pelvic area and hips will rotate causing lower back pain. Also, if you suffer from sacroiliac joint pain, the reason is most likely to be your hamstrings not flexible enough to stabilize your pelvis in its natural position
Should you stretch tight hamstrings?
In case your tightness is normal it can be received with common stretching. Stretching being two typed, dynamic and static. Any of the types will improve the flexibility of the hamstrings. Below are some of the common and easy stretches as pre-workout for your legs.
But if tightness is severe with chronic pain, you need to consider a physiotherapist or a doctor.
Exercise to Relieve tight hamstrings
The stretches are basically of two types: static and dynamic stretches. Why are the stretches split into two categories? two types of stretches are performed before and after the workout session. Both types of stretches have their own purpose and should be done differently.
In static stretches, a person has to hold the particular pose for some time. An effective process to increase flexibility. Performed after a workout session to cool down muscles. If performed before a workout or any other sport activity, it reduces the ability of body to react quickly. Repeat these stretches two to three times.
Dynamic stretches as can be guessed from the name are the stretches that are performed prior to any workout and to warm the muscles and increase the speed and agility of the body. To avoid injury warm-up is an essential part of the workout and exercises.
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Below the seven mentioned stretches to loosen your tight hamstrings muscles. While doing it one needs to remember that overstretching can cause more harm to the muscles than benefits. So, perform every stretch with ease and till you feel mild or moderate tension in the specific body part for which you are performing it.
Check it out one by one to reduce the stiffness and tightness in the hamstrings muscles.
Stretching improves blood flow and keeps the muscles energized and loose.
Hurdle stretch – hamstring
Hurdle stretch to relieve hamstrings muscles is an easy stretch.
How to perform the hurdle stretch? Have a look
Time: 5 min ( both legs)
Equipment Required: No
- Sit on the floor. Straight one of your legs in front.
- Bend the other leg and the foot should touch the straight leg at the inner thigh. This is also called the butterfly position.
- Gently lean forward by bending at the waist with your arms in front over the straight leg
- Keep stretching as far as possible but don’t overstretch it
- Hold the position, the one in front for about 10-15 seconds.
- Come back to your original position and relax
- Now, repeat the same process with the other leg.
Sitting simple Hamstring Stretch
The simple hamstring is just like a hurdle hamstring stretch but with a slight difference. It also stretches your hamstrings muscles and helps to attain flexibility as well. You might say that this is repeated in every exercise that we have mentioned but it’s for your safety don’t overstretch, as it will tear your muscle’s fibers and can cause more pain.
How to perform simple hamstring stretches to relieve tight hamstrings?
Follow each and perform the stretching with ease.
Time: not more than 4 min ( both legs)
Equipment Required: no
- Just like in a hurdle hamstring stretch, sit on the floor
- But with both legs straight in front
- Push yourself forward extending both arms and gently bend at the waist
- Hold the position for 10 sec.
- Take the original position and relax
- Repeat the same process thrice.
A high kick dynamic hamstring stretch usually resembles somewhat like kicking a soccer ball. Along with hamstring stretch, it also helps in overall hip mobility.
Time: 5 min or more
Equipment Required: No
How to perform the high kicks to stretch your hamstrings muscles?
- Stand straight with one hand in front and parallel to the floor.
- Swing the opposite leg from the hand that is in front, forward like kick. Keep notice of the legs and knees, they shouldn’t bend while your swing your leg upward.
- The main purpose of swinging a leg in the air is to touch the straight hand in front. Swing high so that your hamstrings muscles are engaged in it.
- Do it for 1 min.
- Now come to the original position. And relax
- Repeat the same process with the other opposite leg and arm.
The Towel Hamstring Stretch
Simple and yet effective hamstring stretch that helps you loosen your tight hamstrings muscles. The towel stretch to relieve the tight hamstrings muscles.
Time: 5 min ( both legs)
Required: a towel or strap or belt
How to perform the towel hamstring stretch?
- Lie down on your back on the floor or mat
- Put a towel around your one toe and slightly lift the toe. The ends of the towel should be in your hands.
- Keep your knee straight while doing the stretch.
- The other leg should lie flat on the floor or if you’re unable to do so. Bend the leg at a right degree angle.
- In the case of one leg straight on the floor, the legs should make 90 degrees with each other.
- Hold the position until you feel a stretch behind your thigh. Slight pain in the calf can also be felt. For about 30 seconds.
- Now come back to the original position and relax
- Repeat the same process for the other leg.
- Do this stretch five times for each leg.
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