Category Archives for "hamstring stretches"

How to Improve Flexibility with a Yoga Block

Flexibility is the ability to move a joint through its complete range of motion and is important in carrying out daily activities and in athletic performance. Maintaining flexibility of all joints produce efficient movement and reduces risk of injury. It can be improved in all age groups by regularly engaging in exercises targeting different joints. Joint capsule stiffness, muscle viscosity, ligament and tendon compliance all affect flexibility. Therefore, adequate warm-up and proper stretching is essential in optimizing joint range of motion. Chronic conditions such as lower back pain may arise if an individual has poor lower back and hip flexibility, in conjunction with weak abdominal muscles.

Flexibility exercises are most effective through warm-up exercises or passively through moist heat packs or hot baths to increase the muscle temperature. An effective warm-up is typically 5 to 10 minutes long, but may be longer for older adults or individuals with health conditions. Watch the video below, led by InSync Physio’s Claire McDonald, on how to do a comprehensive warm-up targeting all of the major muscles:

Evidence-Based Recommendations:

Frequency: more than 2-3 days per week with daily being the most effective
Intensity: stretch to the point of feeling tightness or slight discomfort
Time: hold a static stretch for approximately 10-30 seconds, hold for 30-60 seconds for older individuals
Type: static (active or passive), dynamic, ballistic, or proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation
Volume: a total of 60 seconds of stretching time for each flexibility exercise is recommended
Pattern: repetition of each exercise 2-4 times

Stretching for Beginners: 

Yoga blocks can be very helpful for individuals building their flexibility by reinforcing balance and proper alignment. Use a yoga block for the following positions:

1) Forward Folds for Tight Hamstrings

Place a yoga block flat on the ground and sit directly on top with legs extended forward and feet flexed.

2) Hip Openers for Tight Hips

Sit on the ground and bring your feet together, then place a yoga block under each knee for support. Remember to sit up straight.

3) Standing Thigh Holds for Posture: 

Standing tall, place a yoga block between the thighs to tilt the pelvis downwards and realign the spine.
InSync Physiotherapy is a multi-award winning health clinic helping you in Sports Injuries, Physiotherapy, Exercise Rehabilitation, Massage Therapy, Acupuncture & IMS.

6 Stretches For Anyone With Tight Hamstrings

If you run, bike, are desk-bound all day, or have been sitting in a car or plane traveling, your hamstrings could use some extra love and length. It not only feels good to stretch this commonly tight area, but hamstring flexibility is also important for the health of your back, hips, and knees. Here are six easy and essential stretches that target the backs of your legs. To avoid injury, it’s best to do them at the end of a workout, when the muscles are warm.

Tipover Tuck Hamstring Stretch

This stretch is good for your hamstrings and also loosens tight shoulders.

  • Stand with your feet hips-width distance apart. Interlace your hands behind your back. Keeping your legs straight, bend at the hips, tucking your chin and bringing your hands over your head.
  • Relax the back of your neck, and if the stretch is too intense, release your hands, placing them on the backs of your thighs, and soften your knees. Hold for 30 seconds and slowly roll up to standing.

Scissor Hamstring Stretch

Easy to do anywhere and safe for injured backs, this hamstring stretch is great if you’re really tight.

  • Stand with your feet together. Step your right foot back about two feet and bend forward from your hip joint, keeping your back and both legs straight. After holding for 30 seconds, switch sides.

Standing Hamstring Stretch

If the previous stretch isn’t deep enough for you, then try this variation. It’s perfect for doing on a bench after a run in the park.

  • Prop your left heel up on a surface that is a little lower than your hip, such as a chair or bench. Flex your foot.
  • To increase the stretch, bend forward toward your flexed foot by creasing at your hips. Hold for 30 seconds and switch legs.

Modified Hurdler Stretch

This basic stretch is perfect for targeting one leg at a time, and is great for those with really tight hamstrings.

  • Sit on the floor and straighten your left leg in front of you. Bend the right knee, placing the sole of your right foot against your left inner thigh.
  • Fold over your left leg, keeping your back straight. Hold for 30 seconds, then switch legs.

Forward Bend With Rounded Back

This stretch targets both hamstrings as well as the lower back.

  • Sit on the floor, extending both legs straight out in front of you, legs together.
  • Fold your torso over your thighs, gently rounding the back but keeping the legs straight. Hold here for 30 seconds and then sit up.

Reclined Hamstring Stretch

Here’s a relaxing way to stretch one hamstring at a time.

  • Lie on your back. Raise your left leg as high as you can, keeping your pelvis flat on the ground. Hold your lower thigh and encourage the leg to move toward your head. Flex your foot to stretch your calf too.
  • To deepen the stretch, place a yoga strap or towel on the ball of your foot and use your hands to pull the strap toward you. After 30 seconds, switch legs.
InSync Physiotherapy is a multi-award winning health clinic helping you in Sports Injuries, Physiotherapy, Exercise Rehabilitation, Massage Therapy, Acupuncture & IMS.