Whether you're a runner, a yogi, or a HIIT enthusiast like I am, you probably already know the importance of keeping your hamstrings flexible. After all, too-tight hamstrings can not only impair your athletic performance, it can also lead to injuries, and nobody wants that!
Below are my four favorite stretches you can do to increase your hamstring flexibility. Try to do the stretches at least three or four times a week for best results, cycling through each two to three times per stretching session.
And as with all static stretches, make sure you’re not starting your stretching session while completely cold —you should always do a very short warmup beforehand to avoid injury. Think a few push ups, jumping jacks, or air squats — just enough to make sure your body starts feeling a little bit warmer (hence the term "warm up").
1. Forward bend
Many of you already probably do forward stretches fairly often already, especially if, like me, you grew up playing organized sports (it was one of the regulars). But don't discount it — it’s still one of the most effective hamstring stretches you can do.
To do a forward bend, stand up straight then lean over as far as you can while keeping your legs as straight as possible and avoiding bending your knees. If putting your palms on the floor isn’t quite enough for you, you can always stand on a higher surface or hug your legs to get a deeper stretch. Hold for about 30 seconds.
You can also do this stretch while seated, although for more flexible people standing will usually be more effective.