Monday, January 31, 2011

Tight Hamstrings?

Then you need more yoga! Or at least more stretching (and stretches should be held 60-90 seconds - not for a measley 10).
Flexible hamstrings can change your workouts - actually it can change your life! Be pain free, stronger and more pliable. Open hamstrings allow for strong glutes and a flexible spine.

Tight hamstrings on the other hand can produce a pull on the sitting bones. This draws the pelvis into retroversion, tilting it back.  When the pelvis tilts back, the lumbar vertebrae flex forward. What this means is that if the hamstrings are tight and we bend forward, more of the flexion comes from the lumbar spine (ouch). This is not optimal, as it can strain the ligaments that surround the vertebral bodies and also exacerbate bulging of the intervertebral disks. Instead, lengthening the hamstrings can be key to safely forward bending.

There are a couple of great hamstrings stretches that you can incorporate with your workouts.

The first is rag doll, and the second is a single legged seated forward bend:

Rag doll - over time start to straighten the legs and keep your torso as close to your legs as possible -

single legged seated forward bend - again, over time start to straighten the leg and keep your torso as close to your legs as possible -

Relaxed hamstrings allow the pelvis to tilt forward. The lumbar spine then couples with this movement by moving in the direction of extension. This aids to take the strain off of the ligaments and disks. So do yourself a favor and STRETCH!

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