Hamstring Stretches – by Becky Cooper
What they are and Why – and How – you can stretch them… Standing Up

So, What are Hamstrings?

The hamstring muscles makes up most of the back of your thigh and work hard to keep us upright

There are three muscles, the Semimembranosus, Semitendinosus, and Bicep Femoris – all three muscles act to flex (bend) the knee and the Semimembranosus and Semitendinosus also act to extend (straighten) at the hip. 

Apparently they are called hamstrings because the hams hung in the butcher’s used to be hung with the hook placed between the tendons and femur of the pig]

One to think on while your stretching in class next week…!

Why Do We Need To Stretch Them? 

‘Modern’ Postural habits can contribute to tight hamstrings – In the typical sedentary lifestyle we do a lot of sitting and standing – sitting whilst working at a desk or driving, standing in work or in lifts for example…. if youre not in either position as you read these words you’ll be in the minority

Sitting maintains the gluteal muscles in a lengthened state causing them to become weakened. We then must rely more on our hamstrings when standing & when standing for long periods we tend to shift our hips forward also disengaging our glutes and our hamstrings must work even harder, tightening in the process.

This tightness can lead to: 

Low-back Pain

Your hamstrings attach to your pelvic bones that can pull on your lower back – if your hamstrings are excessively tight, this can create added stress on your back, contributing to lower back pain and sciatic pain – pain that extends from your lower back down your legs. 


Tight hamstring muscles are associated with increased risk for athletic injury and strain so improving the overall flexibility and strength of your hamstring muscles – through sttetching – can help prevent injury

Healthy Blood Flow

Stretching promotes healthy blood flow and fluid exchange, which keep your muscles well nourished and relatively free of buildup of waste products, which lead to optimal function and lower risk of injury

Which Brings Us on to How..

Hamstring Stretch – Seated


While sitting at the edge of a chair, straighten one leg in front of the body with the heel on the floor.

Then, sit up straight and try pushing the navel towards the thigh, leaning the trunk of the body forwards, spine straight

Hold this stretch for 30 seconds if comfortable and repeat 3+ times for each leg.

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