How to perform an advanced hamstrings stretch with Brad Beer
Tight hamstrings are extremely prevalent in Western cultures. I believe one of the chief reasons for this is because we spend such a great deal of time sitting.
There are many ways to stretch the hamstrings. The familiar; leg up on a fence, sitting with one leg extended while trying to touch the toes, and the hurdlers stretch, to name but a few. These hamstring stretches can place someone at risk of injuring their lower back due to the ‘stooped’ position the lower back is positioned in during these stretches.
In practice I tend to shy away from prescribing the above hamstring stretches in favour of prescribing what I believe to be a safer and more effective ‘doorway hamstring stretch’. The doorway hamstring stretch is performed by laying supine (face-up) in a doorway with the non-stretch leg through the open doorway and the stretch leg placed up the doorframe. The stretch can then be moderated by either moving the bottom closer of further away from the doorway.
Stretching the hamstrings is most effective when the stretch is sustained. I recommend holding a hamstrings stretch for 2-3minutes on each side. Because the stretch is sustained there is no need to repeat it again on each side.
At times I need to prescribe a hamstring stretch beyond the doorway stretch. When this is required I will typically prescribe the stretch demonstrated in the below video clip. This stretch requires a stretch band and a comfortable place on your floor!
This is a brilliant stretch for triathletes, cyclists, runners, and people requiring a more advanced hamstring stretch (eg those people for whom the doorway stretch is no longer strong enough). In addition I routinely prescribe this stretch as an advanced rehabilitation exercise for people with various knee pain pathologies.
Interestingly this stretch also stretches the hip flexors of the non stretch leg and also mobilises the thoracic spine (when the hands are taken over head as shown in the video), and tractions (gently stretches) the neck.
If you have any questions or comments please leave them and we will respond. Alternately if you enjoy or find this stretch beneficial we welcome your comments.
Yours in pain-free living,
Brad Beer (APAM)
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