Phila Massages

Hamstrings: Stretching and Strengthening

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The Hamstring muscle group is located along the posterior upper leg, between the pelvis and the knee. It is comprised of three separate muscles: the Biceps Femoris, the Semitendinosus and the Semimembranosus muscles. They originate at the Ischial Tuberosity (or “sits bones”) and end at the knee. The Biceps Femoris is the larger lateral muscle which attaches above the knee joint line on the lateral condyle of the Femur, while the other two “semi” muscles are more medial and attach below the knee joint line on the medial condyle of the Tibia.

The primary functions of this muscle group are flexion of the knee (raising the lower leg behind you) and hip extension (extending the leg forward and downward).

Self-care of the hamstrings is paramount in order to prevent injuries. Below are examples of stretching, strengthening and self-massage techniques that you can add in your routine to keep your hamstrings healthy.

Hurdler’s Stretch

Lay seated on the ground with the left leg extended and the other leg bent at the knee. Lean forward, head downward toward the extended knee and stretch the Hamstrings gently; this will focus on the belly of the muscle. Repeat several times and switch legs.

Bent Leg Stretch

Place your leg on a chair (or bench), with knee bent and attempt to straighten the leg; you should feel this stretch in the lower portion of the muscle group, closer to the knee. Repeat several times and switch legs.

Supine Hamstring Stretch

Lay on the ground, legs extended; bending at the hips, bring one straightened leg toward your chest. You can use your hands to control your leg or use a band wrapped on the heel of your foot (not the ball of your foot). Repeat several times and switch legs.

Hamstring Catches

Lay face down on the floor (or a bench) with dumbbells or ankle wraps on the ankles to increase resistance on the Hamstrings. Bend the knee and lower the leg slowly, noting the contraction in your Hamstrings. Stop before the lower leg is fully extended and repeat. Begin with a set of 10 reps and increase the workload over several sessions if comfortable.

Standing Knee Flexion

Add ankle weights to both legs. Standing on one leg in front of a chair or table, slowly lift the opposite foot by bending at the knee behind you, then slowly release down. Begin with a set of 10 reps and increase the workload over several sessions if comfortable.

Self-Massage/Foam Rolling

Place the foam roller under the Hamstrings of one leg at a time and roll the length of the muscle from Glutes to knee. Roll for 20-30 seconds, stay a bit longer over any noticeable tight areas. Rotating slightly laterally will focus the massage on the lateral muscle while rotating slightly medially will focus the massage on the medial muscles.

In these times of social distancing, self-care of muscle groups becomes more essential to stay healthy. Incorporating Hamstrings stretching and strengthening exercises in your routine can help prevent strains or other Hamstrings-related injuries.


This article/video is for educational purposes only; do not attempt without your physician’s clearance. If you are in pain or injured, see your physician.
Copyright © Vidal Sports LLC 2020

Copyright © Vidal Sports LLC 2020

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