Our hamstring muscle tissues, which run alongside the again of our thigh and join our hip joint to our knee joint, are susceptible to getting brief and stiff because of the lives stuffed with sitting that we lead. “They’re actually attention-grabbing in the truth that they’ve influence on two completely different joints,” says Abbigail Fietzer, DPT, an affiliate professor within the bodily remedy program at Mount Saint Mary’s College in Los Angeles.
Low again ache? Knee soreness? Out-of-whack posture? It may all be due to the hammies.
Fietzer explains that sitting for lengthy intervals of time trains the hamstring muscle tissues to shorten and turn out to be rigid, or stiff. Collectively, shortness and stiffness is named “tightness.” However that’s not all. Sitting along with your legs tucked below you, or able by which your knees bend at greater than a 90 diploma angle, solely compounds that impact. That leg posture is often accompanied by slouching ahead in a chair, so that you’re sitting in your tailbone as a substitute of your butt muscle tissues, which inform your hamstrings to get even shorter. Womp womp.
Tight hamstrings could make utilizing so a lot of your different muscle tissues, each whereas exercising and whereas going about your every day life, harder. For instance, for those who’re doing a bending-down movement and your hamstrings are tight, you’ll overly depend on stretching in your decrease again, which might result in low again ache.
“You are making it work more durable than it is presupposed to must work to perform the exercise,” Fietzer says of the low again.
Or, for those who’re standing upright with tight hamstrings, your pelvis may tilt ahead, getting your entire posture out of alignment and inflicting ache in different elements of your physique. “In the event that they’re too brief or too stiff, they’ll pull you out of that good standing posture,” Fietzer says.
How one can take a look at in case your hamstrings are too tight
Principally, the hamstring is a big nexus level in your physique, and in the event that they’re too tight, they’ll pull every little thing out of whack. So how have you learnt when you have tight hamstrings? There are a few easy assessments.
Fietzer says, until you’ve gotten some pre-existing damage, most individuals ought to be capable to contact their fingers to the bottom once they bend over. Sound like a tall order? That’s most likely as a result of your hamstrings are tight!
There’s one other take a look at, often known as the 90-90 take a look at, that bodily therapists use to diagnose tight hamstrings, says Brad Baker, DPT, a efficiency coach at Future.
“Lay in your again, bend your hips and knees to 90 levels, so you’re in table-top place, and assist behind your thighs along with your fingers,” Baker says. “Straighten your knees into full extension. A constructive take a look at, that means you’ve gotten tight hamstrings, can be in case you are unable to increase your knees to inside a 20 diploma angle of vertical.”
What to do for tight hamstrings
What’s the decision? Tight hamstrings? If that’s the case, there are methods to loosen these dangerous boys up.
Fietzer says heating them is the primary key to relieving tightness. Your hamstring stretches will probably be much more efficient for those who use a heating pad earlier than going into stretching. Or you’ll be able to contemplate doing a warmup first (or ready till after your exercise to stretch), so that you’re heating up the physique from inside.
She additionally recommends a dynamic stretching routine over a static one. That’s, pairing strikes like hamstring extensions with the act of leg swinging or strolling.
“Static stretching will be efficient, however dynamic stretching is healthier,” Fietzer says. “So while you ensure that the muscle is admittedly heat, and also you sort of stroll and do kind of light leg swings, then put the hamstring on stretch, that is higher than simply sitting along with your legs out straight in entrance of you making an attempt to succeed in to your toes.”
Do not let your every day miles tighten up your hammies. Quiet down post-run with this dynamic stretching routine:
Strengthening your hamstrings may also be the lacking element that brings aid.
“When you have hamstring tightness, among the finest issues to do is definitely to strengthen them via full vary of movement,” Baker says. “Workouts like staggered deadlifts, single leg deadlifts, and Romanian deadlifts are nice examples of this. Tightness typically correlates with weak spot, so for those who strengthen via full vary of movement, your muscle tissues get extra snug permitting you to entry extra flexibility.”
And naturally, an oz of prevention goes a good distance. Fietzer recommends taking breaks from sitting, and guaranteeing that if you find yourself seated, to sit down upright and plant your ft on the bottom along with your knees bent at 90 levels. That, in fact, requires strengthening your abs and again muscle tissues.
Who knew holding your hammies flexy required so many shifting elements?
Construct a robust core to assist higher posture with this exercise: