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hamstring tightness

Stretch or strength? When to do what for your hamstring tightness


Stretch or strength? When to do what for your hamstring tightness

Lets face it; we live in an age of a sedentary lifestyle. Everything is made to be easier for us but unfortunately it has the direct opposite effect on our bodies. The change in our biomechanics and our lack of movement causes certain muscles to become tight, for instance our hamstrings. The problem is the majority of people think that just because it is tight it needs to be stretched. What if we told you it may be feeling tight as it thinks that your body is unstable?


Here is a simple test you can do. Standing upright with your feet together, legs straight bend forward and touch your toes. Either you can touch your toes (what we want) or you can’t touch them (Now you need to determine if it is a problem with hip/pelvis mobility or a stability issue).


From here you can work out if both/one of the hips are involved or if it is truly a stability issue. As the test above, modify it by keeping your left leg straight and right leg bent with pressure on the ball of your foot. Bend forward to touch your toes on the left side. Repeat the same process to the other side.


If you went further on one side than the other it means definite hip involvement. If it has no change it could mean that both hips and or back are involved.


Next, you want to challenge your toe touch test in a seated position. Sitting on the floor with your legs straight and feet together, bend forward and touch your toes. Are you able to get further? If so, this signifies the fact that there is an underlying stability issue. The reason is because your body feels safer in a seated position and hence allows our nervous system to work to its full potential. In other words it allows you to take the brakes of your body.


Great. You know now what is going on, what do you do about it. If it is purely a mobility issue, using the foam roller/ mobility ball (download our free mobility guide here) for a few minutes around your hip and pelvic region would be a good start. Opening up the hip capsule would also be great. Seated on the floor, put your leg in a figure 4 position, wrap a band around that same hip and tie it to a pole. Now put tension on it so that your hip feels like it is being stretched out of the socket.


Now for the stability work, you want to have to your upper and lower body talking to each other. Lie onto your stomach and place your left hand behind your neck. Now rotate the left side of your upper body to the ceiling whilst elevating your right leg to the ceiling. Complete a total of four reps and repeat the process on the side.


Remember always look deeper for your underlying problem. Where you think it is it isn’t.


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