tight hamstrings? stop stretching your hamstrings!

Your hamstrings feel tight because you’re not moving the joints on either side of them sufficiently to keep them supple.

 

The answer to looser hamstrings is not stretching your hamstrings.

 

The answer to looser hamstrings is moving your pelvis, hips, knees and feet more.

 

The hamstrings are particularly susceptible to feeling tight due to our lifetime of sedentaryism. Whereas hamstrings would have, up until about 250 years ago, been kept supple through constant, functional walking, they now spend most of their time contracted and on a chair or other sitting device (eg. push-chair, car seat or toilet). Most people, over time, turn chair shaped and cannot ‘de-chair’ themselves even when not sat in a chair (like this man below). A lot of this is to do with what is happening around the pelvis.

When we sit down, our hips and knees are in flexion (bent). This makes our hamstrings feel tight (muscles don’t actually get tight – but I am not going to go into the details of this).

 

When we stand up, this tightness through our hamstrings also drags our pelvis backwards, interrupting functional movement further upstream. Combined with the heeled shoes (eg. basically all Western shoes) we love so much (which chronically inhibit function of the calves) the entire back chain of muscles up our legs are contracted and stiff.

 

This routine gives you 6 exercises to try to ‘de-chair’ your body and stretch off your hamstrings … without actually stretching off your hamstrings in the traditional (useless) sense involving pushing or pulling on the hamstring in isolation (and not using chains of muscles and joints to interact together).

 

Enjoy!