Hamstring Stretches | Stretch Hamstrings For More Flexibility
For many athletes the legs are a prime factor in the success of their athletic endeavors. Athletes who play football, basketball, baseball, football, or track will need to learn how to perform general leg stretches as well as more specific quad and hamstring stretches.
Since many of the larger muscles responsible for moving the thigh in different directions are located in the hips and upper thigh this area should be a large focus for athletes when they are performing warm ups and leg stretches. The advantage of using a Ballistic Band versus a strap with no give is the gradual stretch that can be received due to the stretching of the Ballistic Band. During normal leg stretches athletes will be able to bring the leg to a certain position, hold the leg there, and gradually create a greater range of motion with the leg stretches. When performing leg stretches with the Ballistic Bands athletes can use the elasticity of the Ballistic Bands to reach the same great range of motion in smaller increments. This allows for better leg exercises and reduced chance of injury.
When Should Athletes Perform Leg Stretches?
Flexibility is important for athletes. Athletes who are stiff and inflexible have a higher chance of getting injured and will limit the amount of muscle mass used during training or competition due to a shortened range of motion. Pre and post workout flexibility leg stretches will help athletes achieve greater range of motion while being active.
However, since the goal of flexibility leg stretches is to actively lengthen the targeted muscle the duration of time the athlete holds these leg stretches will vary based on where they are in their workout or competition. Flexibility leg stretches pre workout should be held for a maximum of 20-30 seconds while flexibility leg stretches performed after being active can be held for up to one minute. Athletes should base these times based off the level of tightness or soreness felt in the targeted area.
In addition to flexibility leg stretches athletes also should perform myofascial release rolling with the Recovery Foam Roller before and after being active and active stretches before physical activities begin.
Athletes Need To Stretch Hamstrings
Without the hamstring muscles athletes would not be able to jump, run, tackle, or shoot a jump shot. The hamstring muscles control explosive hip extension, flexion at the knee, as well as rotating the heel. Since these muscles attach at both the hip and knee it is extremely important to perform hamstring stretches to keep these two areas of the body healthy.
Since the hamstring muscles control all of these different movements different leg positions will be required to complete the Stretch Hamstrings For More Flexibility Sequence. To begin the hamstring stretches athletes will need a Ballistic Band with a medium to heavy level of resistance. Athletes will lie on their back and wrap the Ballistic Band around the middle of their foot. Lying flat, keeping their leg straight, and softening the knee athletes will point their toe at their knee and begin to bring the foot and leg toward the head. When athletes feel a significant pull, or can no longer keep their hips on the ground, they will maintain this positioning applying a very light pull, think about pulling 2 pounds. This slight pull will allow the muscles to further lengthen and increase in flexibility. If athletes feel as though their hip is excessively rising off the ground during the hamstring stretches they should think about rolling their thigh toward the ground and keeping the hips relaxed. Athletes should perform this stretch on both legs for 20-40 seconds. Athletes can perform the hamstring stretches longer but should not exceed one minute.
After completing the first stretch athletes will progress to the next portion of the Stretch Hamstrings For More Flexibility Sequence. Athletes will keep the Ballistic Band wrapped around their foot and bring their leg across their body, keeping the leg straight. While the leg is across the body athletes should keep their foot in a good neutral position and not allow the Ballistic Band to pull the ankle down toward the ground. Athletes should hold the hamstring stretches on both sides for 20-40 seconds increasing the hold time to 60 seconds if necessary.
The last of these Hamstring Stretches For More Flexibility athletes will keep the Ballistic Band wrapped around the foot. Starting with both legs straight and fully extended athletes will attempt to keep their hips and shoulders squared up to the ceiling as they rotate their toe away from their body and begin to pull the straight leg to a 90 degree angle, keeping the leg close to the ground during the entire hamstring stretches. As athletes pull the leg up the body make sure the toe stays rotated to the outside and hips and shoulders are kept in good position. Hold this stretch for 20-40 seconds on each side, increasing the hamstring stretches to 60 seconds if necessary.
How Hips Affect Hamstring Stretches And Leg Stretches
Athletes’ hips and low back positioning is essential for the successful completion of these hamstring stretches. Excessive rotation at the hips and low back will cause rotation in the torso changing the angle of the hamstring stretches at the athletes’ hips and limiting the effectiveness of the Stretch Hamstrings For More Flexibility Sequence.
Allow athletes to let their bodies ease into these hamstring stretches. Athletes who are less familiar with these stretches, perform a large amount of strength training, or have been having hip, or knee pain can greatly benefit from taking it slow on these hamstring stretches and really allowing the leg muscles to get a good efficient stretch.
Outside of stretching hamstrings athletes also need to ensure their quads, lower legs, and upper body are all kept healthy with a lots of static stretching with the Ballistic Bands and with lots of foam rolling with the Recovery Foam Roller. Athletes can go to the Recovery Section to learn more about stretching and recovery exercises.