Tight, weak hamstrings lead to an unhealthy, unhappy body. By strengthening and stretching your hamstring muscles as part of your everyday fitness routine, you can achieve strong, limber thighs that will support the rest of your muscle groups, preventing injuries and improving your physical abilities.
Three large hamstring muscles run down the back of each of your thighs. These muscles are prone to injury if you do not work to keep them loose and strong, according to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons.
1. Prevents Lower Back Pain
If you have tight hamstring muscles, you could wind up suffering from lower back pain. Tight hamstrings reduce the mobility of your pelvis, which in turn increases strain and pressure on your lower back.
Strengthening and stretching your hamstrings reduces lower back pain. Your hamstring muscles will better support your back and pelvis while you move if the muscles are strong and flexible.
Keep your hamstring muscles loose and relieve lower back pain by performing stretches such as toe touches, a common hamstring stretch in which you bend forward and reach your fingers toward your toes while keeping your legs straight.
2. Reduces Injuries
Prevent sports- and exercise-related injuries by stretching your hamstring muscles so they remain flexible. Strong and flexible hamstring muscles can support your body during exercise and help prevent injury, especially during running.
To stretch your hamstrings before a workout, choose dynamic stretches that keep your body moving (as opposed to static stretches that are held in one place). Try leg swings: Hold onto a chair or wall for support, stand on your left leg and allow your right leg to swing back and forth. Only go as far as you can until you feel a gentle stretch. Repeat on the other side.
After a workout, do some static stretches like forward fold. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, hinge from your hips and fold forward, reaching for your toes. Hold for 15 to 45 seconds.
3. Improves Athletic Ability
Having flexible hamstring muscles can improve your performance in various sports, especially tennis. Improve the flexibility of your hamstring muscles to help your tennis game by practicing the yoga pose called Downward Facing Dog.
To achieve this pose, place your hands and your feet flat on the floor with your hips raised so your body forms an inverted V shape. Hold the position for as long as two minutes to achieve maximum benefits.