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Video:Simple Hamstring Stretches

with Leslie Nesbitt

Hamstrings tend to tighten up, so it's important to stretch these leg muscles before you begin working out. Learn how to properly warm up hamstrings to reduce exercise injury.See Transcript

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Transcript:Simple Hamstring Stretches

Hi, I'm Leslie Nesbitt for About.com Health. I'm going to show you two great ways to stretch out those hamstrings.

Properly Stretching the Hamstring

That's the muscle in the back of the leg and it does tend to tighten up. Now I want to make sure that you perform these stretches when your body is warmed up. And never bounce while you're into a stretch. We want to just hold it.

Simple Hamstring Stretch: Fold Forward

So let's start with the feet together. We're going to reach up with a nice big inhale, gazing up and lengthening the spine, and then simply folding forward. Don't push yourself to bring your fingertips to the floor. In fact, if you feel anything here in the back, go ahead and bend the knees. Another modification is just to step the feet a little further apart.

Modified Hamstring Stretch: Fold to the Side So, from the side, the modification for the stretch is here, as we fold forward we microbend the knees. And once you're in the stretch you can play with it. Maybe it's time to straighten the knees, maybe you're feeling enough of a stretch with those knees bent. Again, coming up using those core muscles to bring yourself up.

Pyramid Hamstring Stretch

Let's move to our second stretch, the pyramid stretch. We're going to step with the feet hip distance apart. One foot goes back. Now when that foot goes back, the hip has a tendency to open up, we want to rotate it forward so the hips are square to the front. Keep the front leg straight, keep the back heel on the floor, and then simply fold forward over that front leg. You want to simply aim the belly button toward the inside thigh or the thigh itself.

If you're a little more flexible, you can all the way, fingertips to the floor. However, don't push it. You may need to support yourself here with your hands on your calves or even here with your hands on your thigh. When you're ready to come up, do so slowly and then we'll step up and change to the other side for that same stretch.

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