The hamstrings have been blamed for lots of problems. Typically people need or want to develop improved hamstring extensibility. In this video series we are showing a few variations of hamstring mobility exercises, from passive stretching to active stretching to motor control drills. There is not one exercise that fixes everyone’s problems: different people with similar problems may need a different approach. A good therapist should be able to assess your problem and identify what type of approach is best for your particular problem and adapt your exercise routine as needed along the path to full recovery. This is not the best 4 exercises out there, this is an example of 4 different exercises, aimed at the same goal, that I have used a lot over the past 30 years
1.Tried and true: passive stretching
If it feels good, do it. Passive stretching can help calm down some mechano-receptors which can modulate pain and guarding and reducing neural tone. Less tone will result in more mobility.
Typically 10 seconds is enough to get the perception of less tightness, so perform 10x, holding about 10 seconds each.
2. Add some movement: Active stretching
Sometimes active stretching is better than passive stretching.Sometimes you need to do both. Active stretching is quite helpful when you have hamstring pain and also some sciatica symptoms. Lie down, grab your leg behind your knee and actively extend your knee. Repeat for 1 minute for each leg. If this causes pain in your leg, point your toes up while extending your knee and relax your foot as you bend your knee
3. Unloaded eccentrics
Eccentrics can be very helpful reducing hamstring pain. If you are not ready for exercises in standing, this is a great way to get started. Lie down on your back and use a resistive band around your foot. Bring you leg up with the knee bend till you feel a good stretch and then push the leg straight down, while resisting your foot with the band. Then let your leg stretch up again with help of the band, Repeat for 1 minutes and do on both sides.
4. Motor Control
Hamstring mobility and core stability work in tandem. This exercises lets you work on both. Lie down and bring both your legs up. Support one leg with a strap, while slowly lowering the opposite leg. Then bring leg up while keeping the knee straight and repeat 10 times. Then repeat with other leg.
5. Load it
Recent research has shown eccentrics to be most valuable at gaining mobility. I like to load the hamstrings after doing some stretching type exercises with some eccentric loading like deadlifts. If you do not load tissues after gaining some ROM, it’s unlikely that these gains will be sustained.