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Should You Stretch Your Hamstrings?

Posted Nov 29 2008 12:26pm
Most people I know think that they have hamstrings tighter than Joan River's face, so its understandable that there is a lot of hamstring stretching going on in gyms across the globe.

Tight or actually lengthened

What I want to share today is that the majority of people do not have'short and tight' hamstrings, but they do havelengthened and weakened hamstrings. When a muscle is lengthened and stretched to its limit, it will also give off that same 'tight' feeling along with a limited range of motion. This tight feeling is a protection signal that the muscle spindle sends to the brain as a defense mechanism to muscle tears.

How do the hamstrings become lengthened?

If the muscles in the front of the hip (hip flexors ) become short and tight from the a high amount of sitting, the entire pelvis will tilt forward. This forward tilt, also called an anterior pelvic tilt, will cause the muscles in the back of the pelvis ( glutes and hamstrings) to become lengthened and weak.

How can I tell if I have forward tilt?

  1. Stand up, walk over to a mirror.

  2. Look at your belt or waist band of your pants from a side view.

  3. If you see a downward angle starting from the back going down to the front of your body that is a sign that you may have this forward tilt, or just wear your pants strangely!

See the angle of his brown belt?

Lance's take-to-the-gym message

An already lengthened muscle does not need more stretching. Ask a fitness professional for an assessment on your hip position as stretching an overstretched muscle is no good and no help! If you fall in the forward tilt category you may be able to skip the stretch and work on specific hamstring strengthening.

Did you find a forward tilt?
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