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Effective hamstring stretching program

CptKernowCptKernow Posts: 467
It's not that I don't do any stretches - it's just that they don't seem to be making much difference!

So, any recommendations on what stretches to do / how often to do them / and in what way to do them - e.g. hold for 30 sec repeat 3 times twice a day etc.

Thanks in advance. Would love to see just a little more flexibility one day...


  • trekvettrekvet Posts: 223
    So, what do you do, and what are you trying to fix? Or, as a cyclist/ runner I pulled a hamstring while running, so despite being in what I thought was fair shape for 50 mile rides, turned out to be rubbish. I had been stretching hamstrings, along with everything else, when it turned out I should have been strengthening them. Took 3 months out (then +3 mths return to run club), and concentrated on hip conditioning exercises along with hamstring strengthening such as hip bridges. Basically my quads were prob ok, but hamstring weak.
    The Wife complained for months about the empty pot of bike oil on the hall stand; so I replaced it with a full one.
  • photonic69photonic69 Posts: 2,209
    I took part in a University research project into hamstring stretching. It was quite uncomfortable!! What I learned is that the ligament (tendons) and muscles don't actually get any longer it's just your bodies response to allow your muscle to relax more after it reaches the point of pain. As you approach this point the muscles tense to prevent you going further. In the study it was stretched to just beyond the point of pain. This was done a number of times during the session. After a week of no stretching the same was fine again and measured. The body adapted to that pain point and allowed more movement by letting the muscles relax more. It helped me in the long run but now do regular stretching three times a week.
  • CptKernowCptKernow Posts: 467
    @TrekVet Don't think it is a strength / imbalance issue as I do a bit of gym/core work and make sure the hamstrings are targeted.

    So, anybody got any purely anecdotal advice on what you did that worked for you?
  • 3wheeler3wheeler Posts: 110
    There's likely to be lots of good resources out there on how to stretch so I won't try to repeat them but just a warning to only stretch after you've done a thorough warm up, otherwise you risk causing an injury which I'd guess is what you're trying to avoid :D
  • LeeDaLeeDa Posts: 82
    I have had ongoing hamstring issues (discomfort and tightness in one leg) and after speaking to various about it and my own research it’s down to weak hamstrings and tight quads. Hamstrings didn’t need stretching but quads and hip flexors did, still not entirely solved but appears to be heading in the right direction. That’s me but of course your issue might be different.
  • SHHHSHHH Posts: 22
    Very generally speaking, cyclists get tight quads, iliopsoas and lower back muscles from the work they do. It sounds like there's an imbalance going on there. Hamstrings get tight because they are stretched taught, not tight because they are strong. If you continually stretch hamstrings over and over and there's no difference, they are unlikely to be tight because they are strong. It's also likely to make things worse.

    Your priority should be to stretch out the the tight muscles in the quads, lower back and iliopsoas, and strengthening the posterior chain with glute bridge type exercises. Always stretch a tight muscle before strenghtening the opposite/antagonist muscles. Stretches should be done for at least a minute and gently to start with. Glute bridges should be done for at least a few minutes per day.
  • joey54321joey54321 Posts: 1,297
    I tore my hamstring many years ago, when it repaired I had almost no flexibility in my right hamstring. I would stretch it out 3-5 times a day holding for 2 minutes. It became (and still is) more flexible than my left. What worked for me is frequency and duration. Stretches, for me, need to be at least 1 minute but preferably 2 or 3. Don't go so far that it's painful, as above, the aim is to get the muscles to relax into the new 'length', if you push harder they will just resist harder.
  • 5858558585 Posts: 207
    When I was training for taekwondo I had great results with "PNF" stretching, worth reading up and trying and relatively low risk if you follow your body and don't go past the point of pain.
    Tom Danielsons book core strength for cyclists is also good reading for stretching and core strength exercises generally.
  • kingrollokingrollo Posts: 3,198
    The excercise I like best is hamstring curls - lying on your front, you need a dedicated bench. Apparently it stretches the hamstrings in a different and safer way. One leg dead lifts are also good - best all round is yoga if you can stand the boredom.
  • imposter2.0imposter2.0 Posts: 12,015
    CptKernow wrote:

    Thanks in advance. Would love to see just a little more flexibility one day...

    It's not really clear what functional issue you are hoping to address...
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