There’s a reason hamstring stretches are so popular. Not only do they feel good, but they’re also one of the best ways to protect your lower back and hips. In fact, tight hamstrings can be a major cause of low back pain and sciatica
Hamstring stretches can feel so good, especially if you’ve been super sore lately. These options are some of the best to do when your hamstrings have been extra tight, whether it’s from sitting at a desk all day or hitting the gym hard. Plus, they’re easy enough to do at home or outside, so you don’t have to go anywhere to get a great stretch in.
- Hamstring Stretch
The basic hamstring stretch, with the leg extended straight out in front of you, is a good place to start. You can do it seated or standing, whichever is most comfortable for you.
For this stretch, you can use a strap or towel around your foot to help relax your leg and focus on the stretch. The main thing to be wary of is rounding your back when you bend forward at the hips — that shifts the focus away from the hamstrings and onto your lower back. Try sitting up straight and keeping your core tight as you do this stretch.
- Standing Hamstring Stretch
This variation of the hamstring stretch keeps your legs straight but bends forward at the waist and reaches down to touch the toes (or as far as you can go). Again, be mindful of not rounding your back.
- Seated Hamstring Stretch
Sit on the floor with your legs straight out in front of you. Bend one knee and place the sole of your foot against your thigh or calf — whichever is most comfortable. Keep your back straight and lean forward until you feel a stretch in the back of your thigh.