Triathlon Training Tips: Hamstring Stretches And Exercises

Tight hamstrings are a typical difficulty which can be sourced from tense hip flexors or gluteal muscles, the consequence of excessive use during competitive activities like soccer, or indeed only sitting for lengthy periods.

If you experience stiffness, soreness, or a burning sensation in the rear of your thigh, it may be a sign of tight hamstrings. These particular stretches may prove beneficial in increasing the flexibility of the hamstrings and alleviating the strain of tight hamstring muscles.

Benefits of Hamstring Stretches

The hamstrings are the set of muscles which are situated at the rear of the leg and are accountable for causing the knee to bend or flex. The hamstring muscles, situated in the back of the thigh, cross the hip joint, providing assistance to the gluteal (butt) muscles to extend the leg during movements like walking and running.

The advantages of stretching one’s hamstrings, such as increased flexibility, decreased risk of injury, and reductions in lower back pain, are regularly discussed in relation to their effectiveness.

Stretching can be beneficial in terms of improving one’s versatility, aiding in physical activities both for sport and everyday life, and can lessen any delayed muscle pain resulting from strenuous exercise.

It is essential to be aware that chronically tense hamstrings can put pressure on the pelvic area and lessen the curve of the lower back.

When this transpires, the muscles in the lower back become too extended and feeble, causing pain. Studies have revealed that stretching the hamstring muscles correctly can alleviate and stop the occurrence of back soreness.

An overall stretching regimen for the hamstrings may enhance the capability of the hamstrings to move. Before beginning any activity plan, get the green light from a medical expert or consult a physical therapist to make sure the exercise is secure and suitable for your health.

Hamstrings Strain

Hamstrings get hurt when they experience too much strain. However, tension is not only linked to the amount of power that muscles must produce. It could be due to a lack of hip flexibility or strength. Here’s how:

Strain is defined as length under load. You won’t alter the amount you are carrying very much when running, since your weight is a constant factor and you’re trying to run faster. Consequently, it’s best to keep the amount of material within a specific range. Tendons and muscles become strained and more prone to damage when they remain in one position for extended periods.

Three things cause hamstrings to get over-lengthened and over-strained:

You lack the necessary length in your hamstrings for what you need to accomplish. A few people do need to lengthen their hamstrings. It is not a necessity to be an exceptional yogi to take up running. While lying on your back, lifting your leg does not require it to go as far as 90 degrees; you don’t need to go that far at all.

Your objective when running long distances should be to maintain a temperature of 65 to 70 degrees, as your leg will always be bent. If you aren’t able to obtain a temperature of around 65 degrees, you must perform stretches. Most people over-emphasize stretching, however. You need enough range of motion, not too much.

You lack hip mobility. Generally, individuals don’t have limited flexibility in their hamstrings, however, they do tend to have restricted hip activity. Having tense hip flexors is more detrimental than having tense hamstrings. When the muscles that connect the hip and thigh bones (hip flexors) are tense, it has an effect of causing the pelvis to tilt forward in the front and upwards in the back.

When the angle of the pelvis is more pronounced, the hamstrings will be in an extended position at any stage of the walking movement. You notice this,s, especially on the contralateral side.

If your right hamstring is giving you difficulties, then it stands to reason that your left hip flexor will be taut because when you stretch out your right hamstring your left hip remains behind you and that pulls the pelvis.

You have poor rotational stability. The hip and foot muscles are responsible for controlling the rotational movement, not the hamstring muscles. Hamstrings bend your knee and extend your hip.

When rotation is not well managed, it can place additional strain on the hamstring due to increased torque. The hamstring is getting overloaded and it can’t help. Having a stronger hamstring in that situation doesn’t help. You have to fix your rotational balance.


Static vs. Dynamic Stretches

When you are doing your stretching exercises, the point in time at which you do them decides whether you should do static stretches or dynamic stretches. Holding static stretches for a few seconds is most effective following exercise when the muscles are already warm.

Utilize controlled motions for dynamic stretching to warm up the body and ready the muscles for activity. These are best performed before a workout.

The instructions below are for static stretches. Do each posture for between 1 minute and 1 and a half minutes, pushing further and further in each, but in a systematic, slow fashion. If you experience any discomfort or unusual sensations in your hip joint, upper leg, or calf, cease and seek medical advice.


Simple Hamstring Stretch

Start with this simple hamstring stretch. In case you are suffering from backache or sciatica, use extra precaution when performing this exercise as it can result in a strain on your back.

  1. Sit on the floor with both legs out straight.
  2. Extend your arms and reach forward by bending at the waist as far as possible while keeping your knees straight.
  3. Hold this position for 15 to 30 seconds.
  4. Relax back into the starting position.
  5. Repeat three times.

Extend your legs until you sense a pleasant tug in the back of your legs. If the pain you feel is too severe, it is best to discontinue the exercise.


Hurdler Hamstring Stretch

This exercise can be done by laying on the floor and stretching the hamstrings of a hurdler.

  1. Sit on the floor with one leg out straight.
  2. Bend the other leg at the knee and position the sole of that foot against your opposite inner thigh.
  3. Extend your arms and reach forward over the straight leg by bending at the waist as far as possible.
  4. Hold this position for 10 seconds.
  5. Relax.
  6. Repeat with the other leg.


Standing Hamstring Stretch (Both Legs)

This hamstring stretch involves both legs and is done while standing.

  1. Stand and cross your right foot in front of your left.
  2. Slowly lower your forehead to your right knee by bending at the waist.
  3. Keep both knees straight.
  4. Hold this position for 15 to 30 seconds.
  5. Relax.
  6. Repeat on the other side by crossing your left foot in front of your right.


Standing Hamstring Stretch (One Leg)

One of the simplest stretches to do is the one-legged standing hamstring stretch. Do it anywhere—home, office, or outdoors.

  1. Stand up straight with one heel resting on a small stack of books, a yoga block, or a stool. If you are outside, you can use the curb, but be sure to watch for cars.
  2. Keep your knee straight.
  3. Reach both arms up so your arms are about even with your ears. Reaching your arms up, as opposed to reaching down toward your foot, will keep your back straight.
  4. Bend forward slightly from your hips. Feel the stretch in your hamstring behind your thigh.
  5. Hold the stretch for 15 to 30 seconds, and repeat it three times.
  6. Repeat with the other leg.


Towel Hamstring Stretch

Many people possess a towel they can utilize to do towel stretching exercises, but a strap or belt is a valid substitute.

  1. Lie on the floor on your back.
  2. Loop a long bath towel around your toes and hold the ends of the towel in both hands.
  3. Slowly pull on the towel to lift your straight leg up. Be sure to keep your knee straight. The leg without the towel should remain flat on the ground.
  4. Bring your leg up until a stretch is felt behind your thigh. You may also feel a stretch in your calf. This is normal.
  5. Hold for 15 to 30 seconds, and then relax.
  6. Repeat three to five times on each leg.

Make sure the towel hamstring stretch feels nice when you’re performing it; discontinue immediately if it’s painful and try another stretch.


Standing Forward Bend

The standing forward bend is a simple hamstring stretching exercise that takes advantage of the force of gravity to increase the level of the stretch. If your lower back is hurting, be careful or select a different stretching exercise.

  1. Stand up straight with your arms overhead.
  2. Fold forward from the hips, reaching your hands toward the floor. Your hips should be stacked over your ankles. Touching your toes is not the goal of this stretch. Only go as far as you can without overly bending your knees (they can be ever-so-slightly bent, but don’t bend them to try to go lower, because your hamstrings will not get the stretch).
  3. Notice your quadriceps, the muscles at the front of your thighs. Engage your quads to deepen the stretch of the hamstring.
  4. Hold for 15 to 30 seconds.
  5. Bring your upper body back to a standing position.

Posture Test for Triathletes

In some cases, a runner might have acceptable hamstring flexibility and an appropriate range of motion in the hip flexors, yet have a lack of knowledge of the proper positioning of their pelvis—which can lead to the same problem. Activities that tilt the pelvis forward will always put additional strain on the muscles in the back of the thigh.

For this test, position your feet slightly wider than your shoulders while standing, then adopt your typical stance. Go on and give it a try. Where is your weight?

  • If your weight is at midfoot: Great! This is the best position for doing anything active. This is your neutral spine position.
  • If your weight is at rearfoot: Place one hand on your belly button, and one hand on your breastbone. Keeping the lower hand and the belly still, slightly drop the ribs down and forward until you feel the balance point shift away from your heels and to your midfoot. Make sure you are moving from the rib cage—not from the neck! Now maintain this trunk position and let your arms hang down by your sides. Rotate your hands so your palms point forward, which will help screw your shoulder blades down and along your back. Now, keep the shoulder blades back and relax your arms.
  • If your weight is at the concerning forefoot: You are likely leaning too far forward from the ankles, or leaning forward from the low back. Pull your hips back slightly can your feet and see how you feel. If this brings your weight over your midfoot, great. If you are now on your heels, run through the rearfoot sequence above.

Once you locate the correct posture for your spine, alternate lifting each foot off the ground, balancing on one foot before switching to the other. Create a mental image of how the stance should be held, and keep returning to it on all of your jogs until it is programmed into your muscles.

Rotational Stability Exercises

All runners can benefit from improving rotational control. Focusing on rotation will guarantee that your torso is aligned with the other parts of your body, instead of working in a solitary way.

You can perform a variety of workouts to enhance your rotational stability. Start with the Twisted Warrior, above. Proceed to do the Banded Hip Twist and Rotisserie Chicken move.

Banded Hip Twist

Secure a TheraBand to waist level, stand squarely in front of it, and wrap the band around your midsection in a way that it fits beneath your waist. Place your hands on your hips and keep the band tight.

Place your weight on the leg away from where the strap wraps around (so if it comes from the right, stand on your left foot) and move your hips back and forth while keeping your upper hips even.

Do 40 reps on each side.

Advice: Move nearer to the fastening to reduce the weight and further away to boost the weight.

Rotisserie Chicken

Lay on the floor with your back and rest one leg in the suspension device, the band ought to be slightly underneath your knee. Extend your free leg next to the sling leg. Raise your hips into a bridge position and stretch your arms out upwards with your hands facing one another.

On the sling side, make sure that your knee is kept up towards the roof and move your hips in a circular movement on an imaginary circular track, similar to how you would rotate a barbeque skewer.

Rotate back inward past the start position. On each repetition, the hips should rotate completely inwards and outwards; the back should stay stationary, and the hands remain raised above the head.

Do 2 sets of 8 reps on each side.

Be aware of whether you are rotating or turning in the same way to both the right and the left sides. If you experience any kind of tension in your lower back, lower your chest slightly until the sensation has gone away.

Sore Hamstrings Cure and Prevention

Although you have a sore hamstring, there is no need to give up jogging. Occasionally you must stop, but frequently you are able to keep going. If you are going through a sub-acute strain, and jogging still pains you a bit, you don’t have to completely cease physical activity.

Decrease your running pace and take shorter strides, concentrating on making contact closer to your body. Or run uphill, which also creates a shorter stride.

The ache is caused not by exertion, but by the extended positioning, so most individuals who are suffering from minor hamstring injuries can go uphill without difficulty. Be careful to come downhill slowly, with short steps.

It is beneficial to keep the tendons active and subject them to strain. You can make your muscles stronger by carrying out isometric activities such as holding a 10-degree incline in a Nordic Curl, or doing an isometric hamstring curl; while reclining, lift a foot weight to 45 degrees and hold steady.

Proceed forward to a shifting weight on both the hip and knee segment of the hamstring’s attachments.

It is crucial to ensure that your pelvis is not tilted forward. Anything that increases at the top is more influential than what occurs at the bottom. If you have a large tilt forward, you make your hamstrings weak even when walking or jogging at a slow speed with short strides.


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