“I have tight hamstrings.” I hear it ALL the time.
The thing you have to understand is that chronically tense muscles are very often weak muscles. So if you feel like you’ve stretched and stretched but can’t shake that nagging tightness back there, it’s time to consider a different approach.
For me, my problem actually wasn’t tightness, it was that I – like many yoga practitioners – stretched my hammies ALL THE TIME. Deep forward bends always felt soooooo good to me. So I’d do them constantly (and perhaps obsessively) and I’d stay there and push for more and more range of motion.
Over time, my hammies became so overstretched they lost their ability to hold sufficient tension to stabilize my hips, low back, and knees as well as the ability to contract powerfully while running.
As my hamstrings got less and less able to do their job, my quads got tighter and tighter from both sitting a desk and having to pick up the slack from my relatively inactive and overstretched hamstrings.
It wasn’t until I started lifting heavier weights that I realized what I had done — stretched myself into weakness and imbalance. The opposite of how the body is designed to work.
Reawakening my hamstrings has been life-changing. Not only did my lifts improve but they suddenly felt powerful and comfortable in my low back. My running also benefited massively. Suddenly, there was a huge improvement in the power and speed output of my stride. Paces that used to feel hard had now become easy to maintain.
It’s not rocket science, it’s physiology. Each muscle has a specific job to do – one that no other muscle in the body can do nearly as well. When your muscles are strong, they are capable and mobile, able to move your body with power and ease.
Needless to say, hamstrings are now my new favorite body part to work on. But no matter which camp you’re in here, strengthening these muscles is something we all need to do more of.
So for this week’s #favethingsfriday, I’m releasing my latest Yoga for Durability online video to help you unlock the power of your own hamstrings without a gym membership or even having to leave your own home. Rent it or buy it HERE.
FAIR WARNING ⚠️: Doing this practice correctly, as cued, had me feeling my hamstrings for a few days after filming … and it was delightful. Enjoy!