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Tight Hamstrings and a Lower Body Workout!

Posted Aug 21 2013 1:02pm
One of the three sons has been complaining of his back hurting.  It hurts during baseball.  It hurts during football.  Since he's barely a teenager I know he's far too young to have back trouble. So, I'm thinking it is the number one, major contributor to low back pain and one of the most common causes - TIGHT HAMSTRINGS. 

Here's a quick tutorial on what's going on and why I think he needs to stretch his hammies.  
The hamstrings are a group of 3 muscles located on the back of femur or thigh.  The muscles connect from the buttocks area of the pelvis to the backsides of the lower leg.  This allows the hamstring muscle group to bend the knee as well as extend the hip (bringing the thigh behind you).  Normally the spine has a small curve in the low back.  This is because the backside of the pelvis is slightly higher than the front.  Therefore, if the the muscles in the back of the thigh are too tight they can pull the back side of the pelvis downward. This downward pull of the pelvis can cause a flattening of the back which puts the spine at a disadvantage when it comes to the ability to hold your body upright against gravity.  The constant pulling of the shortened muscles increases pressure on the bones of the spine as well as adds strain to muscles because they have to work harder to hold the body up against gravity.  When this happens for a prolonged time, the muscles in the low back become weak and start to fatigue or get tired sooner.  The muscular imbalances can cause pain in the low back because of these reasons.  This happens a lot in folks who sit at a desk or in a chair for a long time.  It happens to me when I am sitting in a car for a long trip.  My back gets so tired and I know it's because of my tight hamstrings.

So, what to do if your hamstrings ARE tight or you want to prevent them from nagging you?

Here are some really fancy pictures of the stretches I've been having the son do.  

Picture Start here with your knee slightly bended. Don't force it! Just breathe and stretch
Picture This is the Figure 4 stretch and really good. You can also lift the leg on the floor and bring that knee to your chest for a deeper stretch
Picture This is one of my favorites. Wrap a towel or strap around the ball of your foot, keep knee soft and gently pull toes toward you.
Speaking of legs, I haven't shared a workout here in quite a while.  That's because I am not doing my normal, full body workouts right now.  Kinda hard to do with your arm in a sling.  So, today I did cardio on the Arc Trainer at the gym - no arms, but lots of glutes.  Then I did this lower body workout.  I did hold a 10 lb. dumbell in my left hand.  That's optional - but if using weights I would suggest one in each hand! Don't Forget to Stretch!

Happy Hump Day!
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