The hamstrings are responsible for propelling legs forward, pulling them back, and flexing knees. And what do they get in return? Often painful pulls and tears. Doesn't seem fair, does it?
: If you have been inactive for a length of time, or if you've had any recent surgery or physical problems, particularly of the muscles and joints, please consult your doctor before you start a stretching or exercise program.
Step 1: Lie on back Lie on your back with your legs stretched out in front of you.
Step 2: Grab knee & pull Slowly bend your right knee up. Grab the back of your thigh just above that knee with both hands and pull it slowly toward your chest.
Step 3: Relax arms Relax your arms a bit so that your right knee is pointing straight up and your thigh is perpendicular to your torso and the floor.
Step 4: Straighten leg & hold Straighten your right leg so it's pointing toward the ceiling, and hold for 10-15 seconds.
TIP: If you can't fully straighten your leg, just go as far as you can. With time and repetition you will become more flexible.
Step 5: Bend right knee Bend your right knee for 5 seconds and then straighten again. Repeat this cycle 3 times.
TIP: If you're able to straighten your knee fully without lifting your hip or contorting your back, pull your thigh toward your chest an inch or two, so that it is a little beyond the perpendicular.
Step 6: Release stretch Release the stretch slowly by bending your right knee and extending your right leg straight out in front of you.
Step 7: Repeat on left leg Bend your left knee up and repeat the stretch on your left leg, holding it for the same duration and the same number of repetitions as the right leg.
Step 8: Release stretch Release the stretch slowly by bending your left knee and extending your left leg straight out in front of you. You've never even thought about sending your hamstrings a thank you note, have you?
FACT: British soccer great Ryan Giggs has been so plagued by hamstring injuries that he switched from driving a stick shift to an automatic.