Tight hamstrings be gone! Exercises to help cyclists, office workers, drivers…

Tight hamstrings afflict many sports people, as well as people who spend long periods of time sitting, whether at a desk or driving. Why is this a problem?  Well, as the group of hamstring muscles attach into the sit bones and either side of the back of the knee, it can affect the function and health of both the knee joint and the lower back.

Here are a few different ways you can help to stretch your hamstrings to reduce discomfort and risk of injury.  Try to do these stretches every day – they only take a few minutes – or every other day at least.

Legs up the wall

This is if your hamstrings are really tight.  By resting your legs on the wall, it means that your whole body can relax into the stretch too.

  • Lie sideways to the wall TightHamstringStretchYogaCyclists1
  • Bend your knees and swing yourself around so your buttocks are facing the wall and you can rest the back of your legs up the wall. You can start with your buttocks further away from the wall and your legs at an angle to start if they are tight TightHamstringStretchYogaCyclists2
  • As your flexibility improves, you can move closer to the wall until your legs are 90 degrees! then move to using a strap.  TightHamstringStretchYogaCyclists3
  • Breathe in and out slowly and stay there for 30 seconds, building up to a few minutes.

Hamstrings with strap

You will need a yoga strap or something like a dressing gown belt, not stretchy.

• Lie on the floor, you may need a small pillow for comfort for your head
• Put the centre of the belt around the ball of your foot (bend your knees to reach), holding the end of the strap in each hand. TightHamstringStretchYogaCyclists4
• Lie back and slowly raise your leg towards the ceiling, resting the back of your arms on the floor whilst holding the belt.
• Breathe out and see if you can ease into the stretch a little further TightHamstringStretchYogaCyclists5
• Hold for 30 seconds to 2 minutes.

To target the inner and outer hamstring muscles

  • Rotate your whole leg and foot outward to stretch the inner muscle TightHamstringStretchYogaCyclists6
  • Then rotate your leg and foot inward to target the outer muscles TightHamstringStretchYogaCyclists7
  • Hold each position for 30 seconds to 2 minutes.