In my previous post, “Why Stretching Isn’t Working: Hamstring Edition”, I used the hamstrings as an example and discussed the importance of checking pelvis position to determine if hamstrings are actually tight and shortened, or is it perceived that way because of pelvis position.
Today, I’m going to give you 3 Exercises to do, that can improve your hamstring mobility, and none of them involve stretching! No more pushing yourself into painful positions, where you’re clenching your teeth and fists in agony the whole time.
If not by stretching how will my hamstring flexibility improve?
To answer that question, we need to understand the WHY.
Why are my hamstrings tight and why can’t I straighten my leg up or touch my toes?
Again, it’s not so much about muscle length, but more about STABILITY and CONTROL.
While,the Active Straight Leg Raise (ASLR) and Toe Touch, two common tests used to measure hamstring flexibility, seem kind of simple, they actually require a lot of stability and control.
Your leg is an appendage off of your trunk. Your trunk is the base and foundation of your body. If you don’t have good trunk stability and control, or a strong base, what makes you think your body can lift up your big and heavy leg?
The Toe Touch:
Bending down to touch your toes requires a lot of different muscles to be firing correctly and in a coordinated/ synchronized fashion. As you go through the motion, different muscles are creating stability for you to perform the task. At any point, if you lack the right amount of stability or the timing of the muscles are off, your body will stop.
In both these cases, it’s not that your hamstrings don’t have the ability to lengthen, but your body won’t allow it.
It’s hitting the brakes! And the brakes are your hamstrings!
The hamstrings are tensing up, and being perceived as tightness, in order to protect your body from going into positions it doesn’t really have control over!
So what to do? Try out these 3 exercises .
The goal and purpose of them is to help give your body the appropriate stability it needs and to help resynchronize and coordinate the timing of your muscles when performing these tasks.
1) Band Assisted ASLR
2) Toe Touch Progression
3) 90/09 Alternating Cross Over With IO/TA
Like anything in life, there’s no quick fix and just because it works for one person doesn’t mean it works for everyone. That’s not what I’m promising here. It usually requires a proper assessment and then guided exercise program to get the long lasting changes you want. However, these are a common way I’ve found success with people who have already tried the traditional stretching, rolling, lacrosse ball, etc.
If you have any questions or comments, please reach out and let us know!