Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Hamstring Help

You might remember that I whine about how my hamstrings are always tight and from time to time they get really sore.  Right now they aren't too bad and I really want to keep it that way. I have been working the foam roller at least once a day, okay some days I forget, but I am really trying.  I found some yoga moves recommended by Runner's World online for strengthening and stretching the hammies to help them heal up and help prevent future injury. Here are the two yoga moves recommended to help hamstrings:
 The Cure: Supine Leg Stretch
How to: Lie on your back and place a strap (or belt) around the arch of your right foot. Holding each end of the strap, draw your knee to your chest (move the hands up and down the strap as needed to release slack). On an exhale, straighten your leg upward as far as you can to comfortably stretch your hamstring. You should hold for at least 30 seconds to release the muscle, but no longer than a minute. Repeat for the left leg. “This supine stretch is better than a Standing Forward Bend because your body is fully supported. With no tension in the back, your hamstrings will relax more easily,” says DeAvilla.

The Cure: Locust
How to: Start lying on your belly. Place your feet three to four inches apart and point your toes. Extend your arms in front of you, shoulder width apart. Squeeze your buttocks and press your pubic bone down into the floor. Inhale and stretch your arms forward and your legs backward as you lift your body off the floor. Keep your pelvis on the floor. Hold for 30 seconds and repeat 3 times. “With locust you can go slowly and have control over your legs as your hamstrings contract,” says DeAvilla. “It’s a safe strengthener because it’s hard for to overdo.”
The locust was harder than it looked.  I thought oh piece of cake, but holding it for 30 seconds x3 was pretty hard.  I do feel like I should be wearing a superman cape while I am doing it and my kids keep wanting to hop on my back.

I found another article that favored the hamstring pushup.  Never heard of it?  Me either at least not by that name here is a description of how to do it borrowed from Runner's World HERE

Hamstring Push-up
Lie on the floor with your feet
on a chair or Swiss ball that's against a wall. Lift your butt off the floor, then lift one leg off the ball. Slowly lower your body to the floor, using the hamstring of the supporting leg.
Reps: One set of 8 on each leg; work up to 3 sets of 12
Strengthens: Hamstrings
 Other websites said you could use a chair or something similar, I used the coffee table.  Seemed to work pretty good.

 Hamstring curls with a ball are another great body weight exercise that is great for the hamstrings. 
 It is so much harder doing with one leg instead on using both, but I think this way one is not compensating or working more for the other. 

I don't belong to a gym so I have to stick with body weight type exercises that can be done at home.  Hopefully I will remember to do these a couple times a week and strengthen my hamstrings and loosen them up a little.

What is your problem spot?

Any other hamstring advice?

Two more days left to enter my giveaway for Tommie Copper Compression Calf Sleeves


  1. this is awesome and i thank you so much for the pictures! lately my problem spot has been my tight quads which i think is resulting in some stress on my knees. i admit though...i have been terrible about foam rolling :/ i am always looking for new tips and advice on stretching/strengthening! thanks for always having great information here on your blog :)

  2. I have had some issues with my hamstring. Those are the same strenghtening ex that I did. Knock on wood. My hammies have been doing good. No I am having issues with my pirformis muscle. Thanks for all the picture. I tend to slack off when I start to feel better. So thanks for the reminder. TO work on my hammies.

  3. Thanks for the info Christy! I have chronic problems with my hamstrings. I did drillteam in HS and was constantly pulling my hamstrings and they seem to always be the first spot to give me trouble. Thanks for sharing and I will definitely have to try these exercizes out.

  4. I hate doing exercises on the floor but do recognized the value of them.

    Your pics and explanatioins are superb as always. You do such a great job of this kind of post.


  5. ive been told by PT and ortho that my hammies are tight and are probably contributing to my runner's knee. thanks for the info!!!

  6. This post is so well timed. My hamstrings are always tight but they're really playing up lately. I'm bookmarking this post!

  7. Nice stretching! I'm trying to remember if I've entered the giveaway or not? Hmmmm. Those things look cool! I could wear them with my barefoot shoes.

  8. Great post! I find whenever I happen to work out my hamstrings they are sore for days indicating that I need to work them out more! Thanks for the tips. My problem area right now is hip/IT band, but luckily some amazing stretches and a foam roller are keeping the pain to a minimum...for now...fingers crossed!

  9. I'm exactly like LB, I have been doing stretching exercises for my hamstrings as part of my PT from runners knee. Main one I do is supine leg stretch. Hamstring curls are no joke, that is really impressive that you can do them with 1 leg! Main thing to concentrate on for hamstring curls is that your knees are aligned going forward, don't want to let them splay out to the inside or outside.

    I think doing body weight exercises is enough a lot of the time, rarely do you need the fancy machines in the gym.

  10. Great post - my hammies can definitely use some work. I use to do those hamstring curls - great reminder I need to get back to them!

  11. I'm going to bookmark this post for later use! :)

  12. Very informative! I am with you on needing exercises I can do at home since I don't go to a gym often.

    My problem spot would be my heels. The bottoms are very sensitive and get tender with all the pounding. I also have struggled with my achilles and the arches of my feet...I guess its just all my feet that are my problem! Hah!


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