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Hamstring stretching is something that almost everyone is either told to do or we instinctively do when the hamstrings are tight. In this video, I’m going to show you why you don’t always want to stretch when you feel tightness in the hamstrings and why you may want to do the exact opposite of this in order to fix the problem long term.
To start, you will have to determine whether you should be stretching your hamstrings or not and that begins by assessing the position of your pelvis. Most of us are either too far anterior or posterior. If you have an anterior pelvic tilt you will not be stretching your hamstrings out. If you have a posterior pelvic tilt you will want to do hamstring stretches (especially the one I show you here).
The easiest way to determine whether you have an anterior pelvic tilt or a posterior pelvic tilt is to look at your pelvis in the mirror from a side angle. The angle of your waistline should be ever so slightly downward. With APT, you will notice that your butt sticks out, you have a big arch in your back and the waistline is pointing downward quite a bit. On the other hand, if you have a posterior tilt you will notice that you have a very caved in butt, your upper back will likely round and your waistline will either be level or pointed downward in the back a bit.
In the case of the posterior pelvic tilt you will need to recognize that the tightness that you feel in the hamstrings is actually the cause of your pelvic malpositioning. So in order to counteract this you need to stretch your hamstrings. The most effective way to do this is by performing the stretch that I show. Place your foot in front of you and up onto an elevated surface (to put your ankle in slight dorsiflexion). Drop your other leg behind you and lock out the knee on the leg in front of you. From here, lean forward while making sure to tilt your pelvis into an anterior tilt.
Hold this stretch for 30 seconds and then intensify it by leaning forward a bit while reaching your arms above your body in front of you. This secondary move will help to keep your thoracic spine in extension which is something that you lose when you get a significant posterior tilt of the pelvis. Slowly lean into the stretch and see if you can hold it on each leg for at least 30-45 seconds without letting go of the anterior position of the pelvis.
Again, if you are feeling tightness in the hamstrings but notice that you have an anterior pelvic tilt, understand that the tilt is not caused by the hamstrings but that the tightness in the hammies is a consequence of the pulling of the pelvis by the hip flexors on the opposite side of the joint.
I hope you find this small but hugely important distinction to be a key to you finally getting rid of your tight hamstrings once and for all. For a complete program that puts the science back in strength and trains you to correct muscle imbalance, be sure to head to http://athleanx.com and get the ATHLEAN-X Training System.
For more videos on how to stretch tight hamstrings and the best stretches for your lower body and upper body, be sure to subscribe to our channel here on youtube at http://youtube.com/user/jdcav24