Hamstrings are only a part of this all inclusive AMAZING set of leg stretches!
This stretch series is a client favorite! Stretching your hamstrings after working out (or just after working) is super important. However, the lateral and medial leg muscles also need some stretching. This stretch gets the entire back and both sides of the legs as well as up in to the hip and low back! Create a more well rounded leg stretching routine by adding these variations after a leg day or a cardio workout.
A few things to remember:
- Keep your knee straight and foot flexed, even if you have to lower your leg closer to the ground. This allows you to stretch all the muscles in the back of your leg, from the bottom of your toes even up into your glutes, hips and maybe low back, depending on where you are tight. If you feel pain inside your knee take pressure off by not pulling so hard, if that doesn’t help, then try bending your knee slightly.
- Keep your hip flexors reaching through your quad, down your calf and out the bottom of your toes. This is a mental image meant to help you keep length in your hips and stop you from compressing your hip joint or gripping your leg muscles to keep your leg up. It can also help to think about reaching the back of the heel away.
- Keep the outer hip reaching down and out through the outer ankle. This is a mental image meant to help you keep length in your hips and stop you from gripping your outer leg and hip muscles to keep your leg up.
- The longer you hold any stretch, check in on muscles you like to grip (quads, shoulders, neck, back, etc.) and remind them to stay relaxed. Tension reduces the benefits of any stretch and once it creeps in one place it will start to creep in others so just keep checking in to keep things relaxed.
- Listen to your body! Don’t push past what your body is willing to do in how far you go or how long you stay.
- If you aren’t supposed to twist, skip the very last one.
So grab your stretchy band, yoga strap, belt or towel, pull up a bit of floor and get stretching!
And don’t forget to hold your abs!
Do you have something else that is tight or sore? We have stretches for every body and every aching muscle! Want to know more? Schedule your free 90 minute consultation.
This blog was contributed by our Pilates guru, Kaethe Birkner. Kaethe is a certified Pilates instructor through Balanced Body and dances ballet professionally at Continental Ballet Company. She has been teaching Pilates since 2012 and has been taking Pilates since 2004.