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.
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