The hamstrings are a muscle group that tightens up quickly and, depending on your posture, can be overworked. You don't often realise you have tight hamstrings until movement patterns are affected, or knee or back pain appears. Hamstring stretching exercises are a necessary part of training in any sport and are useful in the maintenance of good posture. Stretching tight hamstrings sometimes seems like a full time job and recurring hamstring injuries are a common source of frustration for many athletes. There are numerous ways to stretch the hamstring muscles.
Static stretch seated
Sit with on the floor with one leg out straight and the other bent out of the way. Rotate your straight leg inwards and lean forward at the hips to feel a stretch under the thigh. Hold stretch for 30 seconds. Repeat the stretch throughout the day at least 5 times. This stretch can also be repeated with the foot turned outwards.
Standing hamstring stretch
Stand with one leg just in front of the other. Bend the back knee and lean forward from the hips. Place your hands on the bent leg's thigh, to balance yourself. If you can't feel a stretch, lean further forwards or tilt your pelvis forward. Hold for 30 seconds. Repeat regularly throughout the day.
Hamstring stretch on the back
Stretching the hamstring muscles by lying on your back and straightening your leg upwards targets the muscle fibres nearer to the knee, whereas the sitting hamstring stretch stretches the muscle fibre higher up the muscle nearer the buttocks.