One of the very first steps to improving hamstring flexibility is to improve the elasticity and the length of the muscle. There are 4 basic stretching modalities static, active, myofascial, and neuromuscular(NMS). Each stretching technique has a different benefit upon a muscle and a lot of times you need to use 2-3 different techniques to completely return a muscle to its optimal length. We start all of our work on the hamstring with a myofascial stretch. One of the areas we focus on is the top of the hamstring where it intersects with the gluteus maximus. We find a therapy ball is best to use in this area even though there are many other options we prefer to start here. We spend about 2-3 minutes in this area with side to side movements combined with 30 second hold positions in the most tender spots. After this time we use an active stretch technique where we extend and flex the leg for 20 repetitions. During this movement the quadriceps are contracting during extension which makes the hamstrings automatically release in this movement. If you observe the video you will notice my leg is totally extended and my back is straight. If the hamstrings are partially tight the leg would not fully extend and the low back would round backwards. After 4 weeks of doing this technique you would see a drastic improvement in this movement. Even though in this blog we only go over the first steps of 4 phases you would need to return the hamstring to optimal length. The other 3 steps will be coming in the next weeks. So check back or email me. Train smart.
Every week in the gym I'm working with someone with back pain from having tight hamstrings. Every person I have train with tight hamstrings had back problems. I realized this years ago and know I have been very successful helping clients overcome years of back pain.
Whenever the hamstrings are tight it, restricts full mobility of the hips. This creates more movement in the lower back region and lower back shouldn't be moving. Having tight hamstrings over a long period of time will cause the low back muscles to fatigue and develop scare tissue in the lumbar region of the spine. This will lead to back pain and lower back stiffness, siatica pain, and slip disc issues. Todays medical industry treat back pain as a problem directly associated with the muscles of the lower back. Which lead to them treating the lower back area with specific treatments and medication. However, this would give you relief but only temporary. You will still have continued flare ups of back pain over time. This is because they did not solve the problem which is causing the low back pain. We have focused on the hamstrings as a big contributor to back pain. By improving the flexibility of the hamstrings you can return the hamstring back to their optimal length and increase the chance of the pain going away and not coming back.
The best way to do this stretch is to use an active stretch technique. An active stretch is where you use the opposing muscle to stretch the opposite muscle. When a prime mover muscle is contracting the other muscle will automatically stretch. Start the hamstring stretch laying down on the floor with both legs straight. Place the strap around one foot while you holding the ends of the stretching strap with your hands. The correct way to execute the stretch is to lift one leg with only the muscles of the leg then at the highest point in the lift pull the strap with your hands for 2 seconds then stop pulling the strap and return foot to floor. Repeat this technique 15 - 20 times then do the other side. If you have a foam roller you could get more from this stretch if you foam roll your hamstrings before doing the active hamstring stretch. If you need other ideas on back pain please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This picture is a perfect example of a working lifestyle which leads to bad posture. Bad posture leads to neck pain, back pain, stiff joints, achy joints, loss of confidence, and the feelings of getting older. Work, home, recreation, and even sleep lifestyles will add to bad posture. By engaging in habits to create good posture is a start to feeling pain free, younger, and more confident.
Staying younger is a desire a lot of us have. It's nice to hold on to the feeling of youthfulness for as long as you can. Whats really amazing is there are some simple things you can do to make you feel younger. Here are 10 tips I have learned which really works.
1. Drink more water. Your body is 70% water and if you do not drink sufficient amounts of water your skin will look weathered and dry. The plus bonus to having adequate water is more energy. Yes that is correct. The more water you consume the more energy you have.
2. Don't sit with rounded shoulders.(Improve posture tip)
3. Stretch your chest.(Improve posture tip)
4. Strengthen your spine by doing the cobra daily.(Improve posture tip)
5. Strengthen core.(Improve strength tip)
6. Improve mobility of the hips.(Improve mobility tip)
7. Improve mobility of ankles.(Improve mobility tip)
8. Strengthen the glutes.(Improve strength tip)
9. Specifically improve the strength of the legs with weight training.(Improve strength tip)
10. Eat more vegetables and less process foods.(Eat better tip)
The base of our training programs is rooted in having good posture. Your daily routine can destroy your posture, working out can have a negative effect on your posture also. Bad posture is the very beginning of pain issues in your neck, shoulder, back, hip , knee, and ankle. When clients first come to us we look at their posture. We are looking for the basic posture distortions.
1. First lesson we learn was to correct these posture issues first. (Do not build strength upon bad posture)
2. Mobility must be regain and all basic movement patterns must be clean and without restrictions.
3.Use functional movements to improve mobility as a warm-up instead of cardio,( walking on treadmill)
4. Bad form creates bad posture.
5. Good form supports good posture.
Good form is the base of building sound posture. One of the areas where we see bad posture is in people who are fit, because some of them do not use good form. Its very easy to overlook the importance of having good technique. Most of us are driven by the desire to workout hard and burn calories until we just throw having good form out of the window.
When you use good form it supports good posture. Good posture will reduce your chances of injuries and improve your overall performance. Everyday we have bad sitting habits and work habits which destroys your posture then you come to the gym and make it worse. We apply a concept call mobility before strength. If your posture is bad, why would you build strength upon it. The better way is to improve your posture first by improving your mobility first and making sure you can go through the basic functional patterns such as squatting, lunging, hip flexion, and that your T-spine is mobile and can rotate freely along with extending and flexing. Then you build strength upon a functional system which has a chance to reap you maximum results from your training. Train smart. Please!
The most important daily stretch you can do, is a kneeling hip flexor stretch. We spend hours everyday sitting at work, driving, or watching TV or similar inactive activities. After hours and days of doing this week after week and month after month and even years our hip flexors become short, tight, and weak. This shows up as back pain, knee pain, hip pain, and with some even shoulder pain. Doing this stretch each day for a minute each side will drastically reduce your chances of getting these type of pain issues. If you already have some of these type of pain start stretching your hip flexors.
Bonus tip: If you have tight hamstrings you should seriously start stretching your hip flexors. You will see a change in your hamstring flexibility in 4 - 6 weeks.
The above picture shows the stretch in its maximum range. When you start out stretching you will not have this range of motion in your stretch. But be consistent and it will slowly improve. You can get more information on the exact way to execute this stretch if you have pain. Just email or text us. Thanks
In todays marketing of fitness you see the main stream media focus on the tougher workouts. Of course they get results and you would think they are more fun for you but they are not for everyone. AFC is dedicated to those who want and need fitness in their life. The question we ask you is how and why?
Let me tell you what we believe. We believe every one wants to be fit even if they are not. We believe exercise should provide a level of fitness in your life which improves the way you live. We are inspired to create ways which allow you easier ways to enjoy fitness. We are dedicated to teaching ideas that motivate you to live a fit life with comfort and excitement. There is a way you can have fitness in your life that effects how you share time with your family and friends. Which gives you a sense of contentment and satisfaction without you having to compete with anyone or trying to break your records every time you workout.
Training smart is understanding the basics and applying them in very simple steps to attain very high levels of fitness. AFC is unique in this process because we want to teach everyone who wants to be fit how to reach these goals with the least amount of effort. We understand your lives are very busy and keeping up with a fitness program which takes a lot of time isn't smart. Brushing your teeth in morning can be challenging but we do it, because we understand the end result, and its really simple to do. Training smart has these same traits. Easy, quick, simple, and highly effective. Our blog is about supporting you so you can live your best life. A life you deserve. Start your journey today. Join our email list and keep up with all the great articles.
Find the problem, make the problem better, make the client better.
Find their weakness, make the weakness better, make the client better.
Find the mobility issue, make the mobility issue better, make the client better.
Find the posture issue, make the posture better, make the client better.
This is the purpose of AFC's training program
AFC blog is about supporting you so you can live your best life. We strive to inspire everyone to live each day better than the last. Our blog is dedicated to teaching ideas that motivate you to live a fit life.