Your Hamstrings May Not Actually Be Tight, At Least Not In The Traditional Sense…
As human beings, we are constantly moving forward through space. We walk forward, run forward, jump forward, and pretty much do everything going forward. When’s the last time you took a nice walk backwards?
Enter The Pelvis
Our hamstrings attach to our pelvis aka the hips, specifically the lower bottom portion of the pelvis. When we are constantly moving forward all the time and dealing with life’s stressor our pelvis can get tipped forward.
Simply put it’s the path of least resistance to help us keep moving forward.
This is known as an anterior pelvic tilt.
What’s This Do?
When our pelvis tips forward it’s going to lengthen out the muscles on the back of our legs and shorten up the front side.
Here’s a post that I made breaking down what anterior pelvic tilt is in little more detail:
So If My Hamstrings Are Already Lengthened What Am I Feeling Then?
In an anterior pelvic tilt, the hamstrings are basically like a rubber band that is already being stretched out. So when you bend over and stretch them even more that rubber band’s getting pulled apart even more.
Basically, you’re stretching a muscle that is already being stretched.
Shortening Those Hamstrings
You’re gonna need to lie down for this one….literally. The exercise listed below is a great one for engaging those hamstrings and some side abs. It’s called the Hooklying Bridge with a Low Reach.
Before Trying To This Exercise
Let’s measure your hip flexion. This will help give you an objective measurement of where you are before and after performing this exercise.
Here’s a video on how you measure hip flexion:
Hooklying Bridge With A Low Reach
Perform 1-3 sets of 5 breaths
Start by laying flat on the ground with your legs in an A frame position.
Gently pull your feet back toward your butt without moving them and tuck your belt buckle toward your belly button. Your low back should be flat against the floor at this point.
Reach your finger tips toward the middle of your calves with a 4/10 effort (you should feel a light stretch in your upper shoulders)
Exhaling slowly through your mouth like you’re fogging up a window (think 8-10 seconds). Hold onto those side abs as you close your mouth and inhale through your nose.
How’d It Go
Now that you’ve tested and retested, does your hip flexion feel any different?
If you bend down to touch your toes and you feel your hamstrings are really tight, it could be the fact that your hamstrings are being overstretched. This is probably due to the position of your pelvis which is being tipped forward (anterior pelvic tilt).
A great starting place to improve that anterior pelvic tilt is by recruiting the hamstrings and obliques. They’ll help pull our hips back and restore those tight hamstrings to a better resting length.
We’d love to know if this helped you. Feel free to leave a comment below!