If you’ve noticed regular lower back pain during or after leg day (or training in general) you may well find that your hamstrings are tight and limiting your athletic performance. In fact, limited movement anywhere in your posterior chain (back of your body), can result in lower back pain such as.
- Tight calves
- Tight glute muscles
- Limited pelvis movement
- Tight hamstrings
When these muscles are tight, it increases the risk of injury or lower back pain and can contribute to poor technique and poor posture.
How to test if your hamstrings are tight
While lying down on your back with both legs straight on the ground, lift one leg up towards the ceiling without bending your knees. You should be able to get to at least 70° of hip flexion with both legs completely straight.
Even if your hamstrings aren’t tight, you will benefit from performing these stretches regularly.
My top stretches for improving ROM of the hamstrings and hips.
The Hurdle Hamstring stretch
Sit on the floor with one leg in front of you, with the other knee bent and the sole of your foot against your inner thigh. Keeping your back straight, stretch over your straight leg. Hold for one minute and then switch legs.
Hamstring stretch with band
Lay on your back with one leg on the floor and the other foot in a resistance band. Raise the leg in the band and pull it towards you within a comfortable range. Contract the leg and apply as much pressure as you can, against the band for around 10 seconds. Take a deep breath in and as you exhale pull your leg towards you further. Repeat 2-3 times on each leg.
Dynamic Pigeon stretch
Lay on your stomach with one leg bent under your stomach (ideally at a right angle but you may not have this flexibility initially) and the other stretched out behind you. To increase the stretch place your head forward and lean towards the side of your straightened leg. Hold for one minute and then switch legs.
Kneeling Hip stretch
Place your back leg against a wall with the opposite leg out in front of you, almost like a lunge position. Try to straighten your torso as much as possible, drawing it back towards to the wall. You should feel this stretch down the quad against the wall. Hold for one minute and then switch legs.
Standing Box stretch
Find a high box. Put one leg, bent, onto the box and lean over your leg. Hold for one minute and then switch legs.