We feel you.
And let’s face it, this is definitely more of a man thing.
Like playing with Lego, man flu and silence, women just don’t know what it’s like. Pff! Can we get away with saying that? We feel a bit naughty, but hey, we won’t tell if you won’t. Sorry ladies.
Tight hamstrings are a tricky one, but our tips for relief are sound, so read on…
Oftentimes, the root cause of hamstring tightness can be due to some other issue. Don’t just assume that cycling shorts, deep heat rub and forward folds are the answer, these may only offer temporary and superficial relief. Hell, they might even make things worse. We don’t want that at all!
Long term, we want to make sure that we’re looking after the flexibility and strength of other, surrounding muscle groups. Everything’s connected. Lower back, glute and core problems are main offenders for hamstring over-tightness, so consider if your workout routine is rounded in these areas. Regularity and diversity are important to maintain body balance.
Consult a physio if you’re unsure. You’re worth it.
AND, are you getting enough water, sir?
Dehydration can regularly factor into muscle tightness issues. Refill your bottle with H20 and keep it with you. Booze dehydrates too, so take a look if you’ve been burning the candle at both ends. A tight hammy or two could be an early warning sign that your body is unhappy. Be sensitive. Listen. It’s ok. Men can do that too.
Sitting. The modern Western man’s curse.
Not only does sitting mean that you’re not engaging with your lower back and your core, there’s also the peril of pressure on your hamstrings for long periods. You know, especially where your leg hangs off the chair. Oof! Pressure can restrict blood flow, literally starving the muscle of food. Not good for an 8-hour stint, brothers.
As with all movement, if you feel pain, stop. Everybody and every body is unique. There’s no one-size-fits-all solution for tight hamstrings. But hopefully, one or two of these hamstring stretches just might unlock something for you.
Roll out your Honest Yoga Mat and let’s put a spring back in your step. Boom.
Yogis, Men, Movers - 6 Yoga Poses For Tight Hamstrings
Here we go, feel the relief…
Palm down the wall
Start gently. From standing, place your hands against a sturdy, flat wall. Engage your core and find the sweet tilt with of your pelvis that means your lower back is straight. Bend from the hips - NOT through the spine - and walk your palms down the wall. You’ll want to shuffle your feet back to find the right length in the spine. You’ll feel the point where your hamstrings stretch. Hold. Never bounce. Give your hamstrings a chance to relax into the posture before using your hands - and your hips - to slowly raise back out of the stretch.
Paschimottanasana or seated forward fold
Sit on your Honest Yoga Mat with your legs straight in front. Guys, we know you love to slouch, so pull your buttocks back, make sure you’re on those sit bones and address that lower back. Press actively through the heels. Rotate the upper thighs in and down slightly. Press your palms or fingers into the floor beside your hips and lift your sternum to the sky. Inhale. Keep your torso long and lean forward from your hip joints. If possible, hold the side of your feet with your hands, or, you might try this with a strap. Be sure your elbows are straight and not bent. Beautiful.
Adho Mukha Svanasana or downward dog
Do we need to take you through this? We don’t want to talk you through the process of sucking eggs. A basic posture in any vinyasa class but often underestimated in terms of its value to lower back, core and hamstring health. Modify with a leg raise to intensify a hamstring stretch on the grounded leg.
Uttihita Trikonasana or extended triangle pose
Start in a wide foot position with your feet parallel. Turn the right foot out to ninety degrees but keep the pelvis facing forward. Feel strength and stability through your legs into the ground. Inhale and extend the arms wide, creating great space and length through the body. Bend inside the right hip joint and exhale as you reach the spine long out of your body and pivot the right arm round and down towards the right mid-shin. Reach the left arm straight to the sky gazing up beyond the left hand. The more you thrust into the legs the deeper the posture can become. If you can yogi lock the toe, do it, but don’t over do it. We can’t cover all the alignment cues here but pay attention in class or check out these from of our friends at Do You Yoga.
Strap assisted hamstring stretch
Lie on your back. Loop a strap around the ball of one foot. Hold the strap with both hands. Keeping your other foot straight, lift your strapped leg and pull lightly with your hands to support the movement. Feel your edge. If you’re confident, you can also catch some inner thigh and IT band stretches with this one. Great for guys in general, this band-assisted stretch will have you groaning in bliss. Yummy.
Massage ball tuck
Sit on a chair or stability ball. Tuck a tennis-sized massage ball under the insertion of your hamstring just forward of the bony part of your butt. Feel the light pressure on the muscle. Straighten the same leg up slowly out in front of you, putting the muscle under tension, and relax it back. Not a forceful movement - a controlled, slow raise and drop. Repeat. Move the ball fractionally forward and do the same again. Be patient. Slowly shift the ball forward a few millimetres at a time and find that sweet spot. Phwoar!
Watch those pesky hammies.
Rest if you need to.
You’ll get there.
Good luck in banishing those tight hamstrings.
Stay safe and stay in the Flow.
Thanks for reading, brothers.
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