Published: Sept. 25, 2009
Updated: Sept. 25, 2009
Shefali: Hi, I'm Shefali, and today we are going to learn how to properly stretch a group of muscles known as the hamstrings.
Randy: And I'm Randy. Let's learn why proper stretching of the hamstring muscles is so important.
Shefali: Many people stretch their hamstrings incorrectly by overextending their leg, stretching too briefly. These mistakes can actually increase your chance of injury. Let's go inside the Duke Sports Medicine Clinic and learn how to properly stretch your hamstring.
Randy: It is important to stress that hamstring stretches are most effective when the muscles are warm. So, at the very least, perform a proper warm up before performing this exercise. We recommend a warm up of five to 10 minutes.
Shefali: That's right, Randy. Here's how to properly stretch your hamstring. Put your leg on a stable surface like a curb or a step and make sure your other leg is pointed straight forwards. Place your other hands on your hips and puff your chest so your back is straight.
Randy: While performing this exercise, do not bend at the back. Rather, roll your pelvis forward. Push your hips to the rear, increasing the stretch on your hamstrings. You may also feel this in your calf. Perform this exercise for three sets of 30 seconds.
Randy: The hamstring is a group of large muscles that span from the pelvis to the knee. The hamstrings are made of three separate muscles. The hamstring muscles bend the knee and move the thigh back. Hamstring injuries are among the most common athletic injuries. Inadequate hamstring flexibility can lead to injuries that take you off your feet for weeks.
Shefali: Proper hamstring stretching increases flexibility and ultimately decreases the chance of injury during exercise.
Randy: Here at Duke Sports Medicine we recommend you stretch your hamstrings after a proper warmup and add this to your normal exercise routine.