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Tight Hamstrings Stretching Routine for Posterior Chain
By popular demand, I decided to put up a hamstring stretching routine!
The hamstrings are an extremely important muscle to develope if you’re looking to get better at movements in reality.
I like to describe them as the whip that sets up the glutes to fire concentrically through most functional movement.
Considering the imbalances present in people in our culture, the hamstrings have been situationally thrown off their point of balance and it is fundamentally why people either tear their hamstrings, blow out their knees, or get lower back pain.
Since the primary function (hip extension) of the hamstrings is inhibited from sitting all day, they will fall back on their second and third functions (hip hyperextension and knee flexion) to help you operate in reality.
By instituting these hamstring stretching techniques, we will enable the body to make associations of efficiency to primary muscular functions that will actually transfer to efficiency in reality.
STRETCH intentionally, not habitually,
Hello, this is Naudi Aguilar at Functional Patterns. And for today’s video, I’m gonna to be covering a routine to help improve hamstring flexibility. This is an all too common problem amongst most people in our culture today. Simply because we do find ourselves in a seated position over an extended period of time, coupling that with a stress pattern on a regular basis. So, pretty much if you look at the positioning of the knees here, we’re going to be in knee flexion. And that’s gonna create some tightness right here in the hamstring within time, because we will get good at that range of motion.
However, we’re also going to get very good at another range of motion, which is here. That we would call, hip flexion. Let’s say, if we get very, very good at hip flexion, it’s likely we may not get so good at hip extension. Working from here, on the way back. So if I was to stand up perceivably, I would be going from this position, from here to here, to get myself into that extension phase. So in front of my center line, back to the center line. So, if I get myself very good at being in this context, I’m probably not gonna be so good at coming this way.
So, within time what ends up happening, since the hamstrings do work on extension and they’re not able to work on that first function, we again then see that pattern of hip hyperextension coming forward. And eventually we see that anterior pelvic shift that I’m always talking about. So, we’re gonna really try and create two imbalances that are involved in the hamstrings. One, being that they’re going to be tight on knee flexion. The other one going to be also very tight on hip hyperextension.
For the first technique we’re gonna be covering some myofascial release, specifically for that region. So it really help separate some tissues in there that I know are going to be bound up. The tool used, is going to be a lacrosse ball. I’ll have the camera come over here. If you have a plyo box or, any kind of chair that has a firm surface. You can’t have anything that’s too squishy. Otherwise, we’re gonna find that this lacrosse ball’s gonna kind of just sink into the chair as we’re here. So what I want you guys to focus on right now, is, just bring that lacrosse ball underneath on that hard surface. From there, we’re gonna shorten the angle between our torso and our femur. And we’re just gonna lean forward. You’re gonna slowly let your leg sink into that lacrosse ball until you find yourself a nice little trigger point.
And then slowly, as you maintain that pressure in your upper body coming forward, you’re gonna begin to extend out the leg from there. Slowly, you should begin to feel a mild stretch right there on that hamstring. When you get to that myo point, that’s about as far as you need to go initially. As you get better with this, you should be able to straighten out your leg completely. For those of you who have really tight hamstrings, you may only be able to get about this much range of motion before you’ll actually start to physically see your leg begin to shake. That just means your nervous system’s getting challenged. There’s things changing around.
It’s actually quite a good thing. So again, we just lean forward. We extend the leg out. And again, you can vary where you wanna place the lacrosse ball as well. You can go a little bit higher towards the glutes as you’re sitting here. And even find some spots around there. If you can get close, right to that point, where it inserts right near the knee. And work into that area. So what you’ll do is work into that about two to three minutes. Make sure you get both sides. From there I’ll take you guys to the next station that I’ll have.
I’m gonna be utilizing my pulley system over here. If you do not have a pulley system, what you can use instead, would be, like a resistance band. Tying it onto a post. Or if you have a resistance band with a door anchor, you can get essentially the same result that I’ll get with this cable machine. So you can get pretty much the same effect with the resistance bands. But, since I have this available, that’s what I’m going to use. So really the way I’m going to set myself up is I’m going to face the pulley machine. I’m gonna pull this thing as close as possible to me. Then I’m going to lie down on my back. From there, I’m going to extend my leg out and loop it in, to the strap.
After I do that, I’m gonna try and focus on keeping my spine nice and flat to the floor. So I’m really gonna try to almost tuck my hips under ever so slightly. Once I get that entire area flat, I’m gonna allow this thing to just kind of pull me back. If you’re starting in this for the first time, be sure that you don’t involve too much resistance initially, obviously. Because then you’re gonna put too much strain on that muscle. Slowly, allow your body to acclimate to this environment. If you start with a low weight, we’re gonna secure that, that’s gonna be the main objective to do this. That we’re actually trying to involve some progression through these stretches.
Once you get this thing down, and you feel that your muscles start relaxing a little more because it starts incorporating more of a PNF stretch, where we start involving an inhalation. Where we kick the leg out, exhalation. As we bring the leg back. You can start going back and forth there. And slowly, you should begin to see that, that leg should come back further and further, out of every couple repetitions. You practice that for about another, two, three minutes on each side. And you should be good to go for that. Then I’m gonna take you guys into the next station.
Over here I have myself a PVC pipe. What this is gonna do is set … What I’m gonna use this for, is to set myself into dorsiflexion. What you’ll also find with the hamstrings that, a lot of times the hamstrings don’t just get tight by themselves. The gastrocnemius, which crosses at the same point where the biceps-femoris is, also gets very, very tight. Directly as a result of that anterior shift coming forward, and placing most of your pressure on your toes. Furthermore stimulating those calf muscles. So a lot of times what you’ll find is the hamstrings are not necessarily tight just by themselves. The gastroc get a lot of the tightness.
So if we position ourselves into that dorsiflexion while we’re stretching the hamstrings, we’re gonna essentially kill two birds with one stone, with this technique right here. So what I’m just gonna do, is have my butt to where it’s barely grazing the back of the wall. I’m gonna reach down for my weights here. I’m gonna bend my knees to set myself in place. And these weights are really just gonna act as the resistance, to set it up to where this stretch is almost going to be effortless. Let’s get it into a side view from over here.
So from here what I want you guys to try and focus on as you’re hanging here, is not necessarily letting your upper body round and letting your hips kind of tuck under. And you just coming all the way down to the floor. You’ll see if I do that, I’ll get down pretty low. What I want you guys to do instead, is focus on trying to really get that thoracic extension. Retracting the naval so we have a nice stable spine. And once you get those two systems integrated together, you slowly begin to anteriorly tilt. Until you feel that nice stretch in those hamstrings, and even on that upper calf.
What I really like about this one, is that I’m just hanging out here and there’s a whole lot of things happening. This is actually still a painful stretch, like most other hamstring stretches. But it’s a little easier to maintain because I’m not really doing much. I’m kind of just holding these weights here, letting gravity do the work for me as I just anteriorly tilt my pelvis. So don’t fight yourself here. Get that anterior tilt of position and you’ll be good to go.
All right. There is a hamstring stretching routine that you can do. I had all my people on Facebook say that, that’s what they wanted to do, the most. I set up a vote. And that’s the one that you guys wanted. I’ll be putting up videos here in regards to the other options that I have available here very soon. If you’re wondering how frequent you should do this, I would say you could practice that just about every day. At the end of the day, really what you should focus on is that you correct your posture by correcting these anterior pelvic shifting issues. And a lot of times that can be rooted at the lumbo pelvic hip complex. Specially within that hip flexor region.
So, if you never get into the hip flexor region and your glutes never work correctly, it’s likely your hamstrings are gonna tend to get very tight. So, take these techniques with a grain of sand. They will help you, but you also have to realize that they’re not gonna be at the root of what’s going on with the rest of your body. So be sure that you cover the foundations of all of it. Really try and focusing on … Again, core activation, thoracic extension. They all really go hand in hand with this program here. Especially if you’re trying to find that hamstring flexibility.
Until next time, this is Naudi Aguilar, reminding you to stretch intentionally, and not habitually. Ill see you guys next time.