Hamstring Stretches


Chapter 9


The Anatomy Of The Hamstring

As we dive into the hamstring stretches let’s review the anatomy of the muscles to get a better understanding of what will be activated in the stretches.

Semitendinosus & Semimembranosus

  • Extends thigh; flexes leg;
  • Rotates leg medially when flexed;
  • When the leg is flexed, it can extend trunk;

Biceps Femoris

  • Has two heads – long and short
  • Actions:
    • Flexes leg
    • Rotates it laterally when the knee is flexed
      • Especially important in snow skiing
    • Extends thigh

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Hamstring | Hamstring Stretches


Benefits To Hamstring Stretches

The hamstrings are an important muscle group to keep flexible for multiple reasons. Much like other muscles, it can help muscle strain during activities.

Furthermore, tight hamstrings are connected to low back pain. This is due to the postural disturbances that occur when tight hamstrings pull on the pelvis.


Hamstring Stretching Exercises

Supine Hamstring Stretch With Strap

    Supine Hamstring Stretch with Strap-1 | Hamstring Stretches
    Supine Hamstring Stretch with Strap-2 | Hamstring Stretches
  • Lie on your back and place a long strap around your forefoot, holding the ends with your hands.
  • Lift your leg straight up, keeping your knee straight, and pulling gently on the strap with your hands until you feel a gentle stretch behind the thigh and calf.
  • Hold the stretch for 20-30 seconds.
  • If you have low back issues, you can bend the leg that is not being stretched to support your back.

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Single Leg Hamstring Stretch (table/bed)

    Single Leg Hamstring Stretch with bed-1 | Hamstring Stretches
    Single Leg Hamstring Stretch with bed-2 | Hamstring Stretches
  • Sit on a firm surface with one leg bent in front.
  • Arch your lower back and pull your foot toward you while you slowly straighten your leg until you feel a stretch behind your leg.
  • You can lean forward without bending at the back (no round back) to increase the stretch.
  • Maintain the position and relax.
  • Hold the stretch for 20-30 seconds.

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Sitting Hamstring Stretch

    Sitting-Hamstring-Stretch-v1-1 | Hamstring Stretches
    Sitting-Hamstring-Stretch-v1-2 | Hamstring Stretches
  • Sit on a chair with one foot on a small bench.
  • Maintaining a straight back.
  • Pull your toes towards you while you extend your leg until you feel a stretch behind your leg.
  • Maintain the position and relax.
  • Hold the stretch for 20-30 seconds.

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Sitting, One Leg Hamstring Stretch

    Sitting One Leg Hamstring Stretch-1 | Hamstring Stretches
    Sitting One Leg Hamstring Stretch-2 | Hamstring Stretches
  • Start seated with one leg extended in front with the other foot resting on your inner upper thigh.
  • Reach for your foot with both hands as you bring your torso forward until you feel a comfortable stretch behind the thigh.
  • Hold the stretch for 20-30 seconds.
  • Breathe normally when in position.
  • Repeat on the other side.
  • Your body should be aligned nicely with the leg straight forward and the hips and shoulders squared.
  • Don’t worry if you can’t reach your foot. Grab as far as you can and maintain a straight back while you lean forward.

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Supine Wall Stretch

    Supine Wall Stretch 1 | Hamstring Stretches
    Supine Wall Stretch 2 | Hamstring Stretches
  • Lie on your back with your feet facing a wall.
  • Place both heels on the wall, comfortably apart with your knees straight.
  • Slide your buttocks towards the wall slowly until you feel a stretch across the back of your legs.
  • Pull your toes towards you to increase the stretch.
  • Hold the stretch for 20-30 seconds.
  • To progress, slide your buttocks closer to the wall.

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  • Howley, E. T., & Franks, B. D. (2007). Fitness Professional’s Handbook (5th ed.). Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics.
  • Moore, K. L., & Dalley, A. F. (2006). Clinically Oriented Anatomy (5th ed.). Baltimore, MD: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.
  • Nieman, D. C. (2011). Exercise Testing and Prescription: A Health-Related Approach (7th ed.). New York, NY: McGraw-Hill.
  • Sá, M. A., Neto, G. R., Costa, P. B., Gomes, T. M., Bentes, C. M., Brown, A. F., et al. (2015, Mar 29). Acute Effects of Different Stretching Techniques on the Number of Repetitions in A Single Lower Body Resistance Training Session. Journal of Human Kinetics , 177–185.
  • Sherwood, L., & Kell, R. (2010). Human Physiology: From Cells to Systems, First Canadian Edition. Toronto, ON: Nelson Education.