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  • Dr. Jenna Arts

How To Stretch Your Hamstrings (Properly)

Updated: Oct 15, 2020

Most people are stretching their hamstrings incorrectly. Please make sure you aren’t one of them. 

Your hamstrings are the muscles at the back of your thighs. They originate on your sit bones in your pelvis, and insert into the inside of your knee. They pass over both your hip and your knee joints. So, in order to properly lengthen them as you stretch, you must maintain a neutral pelvis (avoid tucking your tailbone under) and keep your knees straight. 

Why is this so important? 

Because changing the angle of your pelvis by tucking your tailbone under or bending your knees, even slightly, is cheating, and isn’t solving your tight hamstring problem. 

Here’s what you should be doing instead…

  1. Your pelvis should be neutral. Your tailbone should not be tucked under. Confirm this by ensuring the back of your (opposite) thigh is resting flat on the floor.

  2. Your knee must be straight. It shouldn't bend, event slightly. If it does, that means you're trying to raise your leg too high in the air.

  3. Your strap, band or towel should be placed on the bottom of your foot, in front of your ankle. If you’d like a band to assist you at home, ask next time you’re in the office and we’ll provide one for you.

Not sure if you should be stretching your hamstrings or not? 

  • If you sit a good portion of your day (in the car, at work, at the dinner table, on the couch). Chronic sitting causes your pelvis to tuck, moving your hamstring attachment sites closer together, tightening them. 

  • If you wear footwear with a heel (even the smallest, most minuscule heel). The heel causes your knees to bend, tucking your pelvis, and tightening your hamstrings. 

If you fall into either of these categories, you should be stretching your hamstrings. 

If you’re not sure if you should be stretching your hamstrings, you should probably be stretching your hamstrings :)

I hope you found this helpful. If you have any questions, please comment below.

Make it a great week,

Dr. Jenna

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