12 Hamstring Stretches for Greater Flexibility


By: , SparkPeople Blogger
  :  17 comments   :  104,080 Views

Tight hamstrings are a common complaint not only amongst runners, cyclists and rowers, but for those who tend to sit most of the day, whether at a desk at work or school, spend a lot of time on the couch watching TV, sitting at the computer, even for those individuals who spend hours in the car every day.

The hamstrings are the group of muscles that make up the back of the thigh and include: the biceps femoris, semimembranosus, and semitendinosus. These muscles are responsible for flexing the knee and extending the hip. For many of us, tight hamstrings can lead to bigger issues down the road such as lower back pain as well as knee and hip problems. This is why keeping our hamstrings limber should be an important part of our exercise routine so that we can hopefully prevent injury and make our physical activities easier.

So what can you do to avoid developing tight hamstrings or begin the process of making them more flexible?

Below are links to hamstring stretches. Please note that you do not want to do all of them. Select a few and then work your way through. If you have extremely tight hamstrings, your range of motion may be very limited for now, but do what you can. The more we do the stretches the more limber our bodies will become. Just be certain that you never stretch to the point of pain.

Some of the exercises listed may be a little more advanced, so feel free to wait until you gain a little more flexibility before trying them. And always make sure you do a nice cardio warm-up before beginning your stretching routine so that you fully prepare the muscles for the challenges ahead.

Seated Hamstring Stretch

Standing Modified Hamstring Stretch

Standing Hamstring Stretch

Bent Leg Hamstring Stretch

Hamstring Door-Frame Stretch

Hamstring Stretch in a Doorway

Wide-Leg Modified Hamstring Stretch

Wide-Leg Advanced Hamstring Stretch

Hamstring Stretch Series

Lying Hamstring Stretch

Modified Hurdler's Stretch

Myofascial Hamstring Release

Have you suffered from tight hamstrings? Do you stretch your hamstrings on a consistent basis? Which is your favorite hamstring stretch?

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  • 17
    Needs to be updated. Some of these links just show "File not found".

    Wish there were more modified options too! - 6/29/2016   12:30:57 PM
  • 16
    I've suffered from tight hamstrings all my adult life, I guess because I have put in lots of running mileage. But all the stretching I did never helped until I started to focus on strengthening other muscles like quads, calves, etc. In my mind (it could be psychological) having the load distributed helps keep my hamstrings from doing more of the work than they should. - 6/29/2016   8:39:09 AM
  • 15


    Jeff - 7/15/2013   8:03:06 PM
    Thank you so much for the variety of hamstring exercises you gave us. Excellent blog. - 7/17/2011   1:37:19 AM
    I was super flexible as a child but my hamstrings were always my "problem" muscle. Great timing on this article. I need to get more serious about stretching and the hamstrings are a great place to start! - 7/14/2011   9:11:30 PM
  • SAJ430
    Definitely going to be trying some of these! - 7/14/2011   12:40:10 PM
  • 11
    ♦ Thank you so much for this great article (another one of your marvels! ☺) Nancy! ☺ Thight hamstring has always been an issue to me... I am going to try those stretches and see if it helps me. {{{HUGS}}} - 7/13/2011   7:54:18 PM
  • 10
    Great to see a list of hamstring stretches. These 47 year old hammies need all the help they can get!
    - 7/13/2011   12:07:12 PM
  • 9
    Awesome Blog I sure need some of these for my hamstrings - 7/13/2011   11:52:35 AM
  • 8
    When I read the headline, I saw hamster stretches....
    That's what comes of living with rats. - 7/13/2011   8:57:04 AM
  • 7
    Thank you! I just tried the seated hamstring stretch at my desk, and it really felt good. I have to be careful with my hammies due to sciatica problems on one side, and when I had a flare-up after starting yoga, I found in Yoga Journal that forward bends are not my friend. So thanks for some gentle, doable stretches. - 7/13/2011   7:30:15 AM
  • 6
    12 hamstring stretches and not a single one shows the SEATED (on a chair as opposed to sitting on the floor) stretch? - 7/13/2011   4:17:04 AM
    Great blog! thank you - 7/12/2011   10:57:25 PM
  • 4
    Definitely needed, and much appreciated. - 7/12/2011   10:17:01 PM
  • 3
    Tai Chi exercises are good for this. Terry Dunn has great videos for Long and Short Form. - 7/12/2011   7:31:46 PM
  • 2
    This is exactly what I need. Thanks! - 7/12/2011   5:24:26 PM
    I am sssooo glad to see this blog! Thank you. - 7/12/2011   3:32:07 PM

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