Stop Stretching Tight Hamstrings!
CHECK POSTURE BEFORE STRETCHING
Over the last seven years, I have completed close to 10,000 hours of training. I have come to realize that the majority of people are out of alignment and lack the ability to maintain good posture. They are stuck with a pelvis and a torso that tilts too far forward (see below).
The anterior pelvic tilt is natural, but it can become problematic when it becomes excessive. The hamstrings are attached to the backside of the pelvis. Think of the pelvis like a pulley. When the pelvis tilts too far forward, the hamstrings have to lengthen to compensate for that imbalance (see above). The brain senses this stretched state and contracts the hamstrings to prevent tearing. Granted, the hamstrings aren’t alone in this job. The glutes, obliques, and deep abdominal muscles also play a key role in pelvic stability. Therefore, we can’t just stretch every tight muscle in our body.
What Is Ideal Posture?
Before stretching the hamstrings, we need to assess the situation and see if our body is in proper alignment. There should be a natural arch in the lower back and slight rounding of the upper back. The ear, shoulder, rib cage, hip, knee, and ankle should be stacked on top of each other. When the body is stacked and in alignment, the core musculature can do its job and stabilize the trunk.
Take a look at the picture above. How do you compare to the photo? Does your pelvis tilt too far forward? If so, then you need to fix the alignment first before stretching the hamstrings. Remember, just because something feels tight doesn't mean you need to stretch it; you might just need a stronger core.