Running Tip – Try This Hamstring Stretch
Get more out of your next stretch session with this slight tweak to a super popular stretch move. Remember to always relax in to a stretch, breathe and stop if there’s any pain. And if you’re more of a visual learner – I made a 9 second Instagram Reels video you can check out here – @RunEatRepeat.
Hamstring Stretch Hack
First, what NOT to do = Don’t lock out your knee and flex your foot. This may feel like it’s stretching your calves or the back of your leg because it’s tight. But that may just be tension from your straight leg and not actually hit the right spot you’re trying to stretch.
If you usually lock out your leg and then fold over… try it your usual way and pay attention to how that feels. Then, try this way and note the difference.
1. Place your leg on a low bench or step where you can safely maintain your balance to stretch. It should be lower than knee height. A curb works for this stretch.
2. Slightly bend your knee and slightly point your toes away from your body. How much to bend depends on your flexibility. You can adjust this in the next step as you relax into the stretch.
3. Carefully hinge forward until you feel the stretch. You should feel it in your hamstring, but may also feel a stretch in the back of your calves (especially if they’re tight). Pause where you feel the stretch and let your body relax into it. Breathe. Hold it for 15 to 30 seconds and then switch legs. (Hold it longer if your body is enjoying the stretch or shorter if you are uncomfortable.)
Don’t push yourself to a point of discomfort or pain. That will just make you tense up! Stop if you feel any pain.
Focus on relaxing into the stretch. Pay attention to how it feels and if there’s a difference between your right leg and left leg (note it in your Running Log).
How far you can reach or bend is not important right now. The goal is to prioritize stretching tight areas properly and check-in with your body. Incorporate this move into your usual stretching routine.
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