Stop Stretching your Hamstrings Incorrectly
In last week’s blog post I promised how to address stretching the hamstring portion of the Adductor Magnus (this is also how I have athletes stretch the other aspects of their hamstrings as well). I also accused the reader of incorrectly stretching their hamstrings.
The hamstrings are an area a lot of people have problems with. A variety of lower back, pelvis, hip and knee issues can stem from dysfunctional hamstrings.
The typical way to stretch the hamstrings looks something like lying on your back and using a stretching band to pull the leg as close to you as possible. There is also a huge misconception out there that when stretching your hamstrings you need to do so with a locked out knee, or its considered cheating. If you have the proper amount of flexibility in your hamstrings as well as in your nerves, then carry on stretching your hamstrings with a locked out knee. As you are unlikely to cause more harm then good with this variation of stretching.
Unfortunately for the majority of people they aren’t even stretching their hamstring, they are instead stretching their sciatic nerve. And just incase you didn’t know stretching nerves is a really bad idea.
WHAT AM I DOING WRONG?
When you go to perform the above described hamstring stretch or for that matter any variation of hamstring stretch, if you feel the stretch predominately in the back of the knee this is how you know you aren’t stretching the hamstrings and you are stretching your nerves.
HOW DO I STRETCH MY HAMSTRINGS SAFELY?
Easy! Simply bend the knee just enough so you no longer feel the stretch in the back of knee and instead somewhere just beneath your glutes to the top of knee. And over time as you begin to increase your range of motion you can slowly start to straighten the knee, always using the rule of not feeling the stretch in the back of the knee.
I ACTUALLY HAD THE CORRECT AMOUNT OF MOBILITY IN MY HAMSTRINGS!
Congrats! But I can guarantee, you can’t actually control those ranges. Next week I will address how I teach my athletes to control their hamstring range of motion and why it typically ends up with them cursing my name in the process!