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Old 10-13-2006, 11:55 AM   #1
Dan McDougald
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Default Help with hamstring flexibility

Allright Greg, you've convinced me that I need to stretch my hamstrings. I can't wait until the next PM issue, so give me some help now on what to do.
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Old 10-13-2006, 11:57 AM   #2
Greg Everett
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Just a few more days... Until then, here's one of my favorites: Lie on your back, preferably with some kind of lumbar support to maintain your lordotic arch. Pull one knee to your chest without allowing your hips to rotate AT ALL. Hang out with the knee to your chest for a little while, fighting that pelvic rotation. Once you've loosened up a bit in that position, begin trying to straighten that leg without changing your knee and pelvis positions -- you may not be able to straighten it very much at all, but that's fine. Hold that, making sure that pelvis is static, for 20-60 seconds.

I've found this to be one of the best ways to make sure my clients are not absorbing some of the stretch with their lower backs and actually stretching the hamstrings. It also seems to hit the lateral part of the leg a little better, which tends to not receive as much of a stretch in other positions. Thanks to Kelly Starrett of San Francisco CrossFit, the best PT EVER, for introducing me to that one.
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Old 10-15-2006, 07:34 PM   #3
Chris Forbis
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My PT introduced to a very slight variation on that stretch.

It is basically the same, but instead of pulling your knee to your chest, keep your femur at a 90 degree angle to the floor. Keep it there with a towel wrapped around it that you can pull on to keep it upright. Now do leg extensions while in that position. On a good day I can get my knee angle open to about 135 degrees... yeah, I'm inflexible.

I have also found that I prefer doing it without any lordotic support. That way it forces me to consciously think about maintaining it myself. When I was using my Abmat, I was relaxing too much and end up letting my pelvis rotate.
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Old 10-18-2006, 01:09 PM   #4
Duncan Swain
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Chris - I was wondering if your inflexibility hampered your training in any way? My hamstrings are incredibly tight (see the next thread in this forum for the reason), With legs straight I can bend at the hips to about only 45 degrees on a bad day!

I find that this stops me in OL from really going all out. It's always in the back of my mind that the inflexibility in my hamstrings is going to make me lose my lordotic arch and something's going to go.

Just wondered what your experience was with OL and flexibility?
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Old 10-18-2006, 01:14 PM   #5
Robb Wolf
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Tight hamstrings can really buggar any pulling efforts (DL, OL). I tweaked my sacrum about 2 weeks ago due to tight hamstrings while DL'ing. I actually rotated the sacrum (ouch) and the only thing that has helped is extensive stretching and foam rolling to get at some scar tissue. My home workstation is much of the culprit as I had been elevating my feet while writing. Putting together a standing workstation with a bar stool. Keeps the hip flexors open and encourages me t keep upright and take breaks.
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Old 10-18-2006, 01:59 PM   #6
Duncan Swain
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Robb - do you know what caused your tight hamstrings? And what have you done to stretch them?

Also, I've been trying all sorts of stretching for many years to lengthen/stretch my hamstrings (PNF, frequent visits to an experienced osteopath used to dealing with sports-related injuries) and nothing seems to have much effect. So, in terms of OL, how do I deal with that? Do I avoid max efforts? Do I avoid certain lifts (DLs, squats etc)? Stop OL altogether and pursue other metcon/bodyweight exercise?

Advice appreciated. And of course I'll sttill keep trying to stretch the buggers...
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Old 11-21-2006, 10:27 PM   #7
-Ross Hunt
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Greg Everett View Post
Just a few more days... Until then, here's one of my favorites: Lie on your back, preferably with some kind of lumbar support to maintain your lordotic arch. Pull one knee to your chest without allowing your hips to rotate AT ALL. Hang out with the knee to your chest for a little while, fighting that pelvic rotation. Once you've loosened up a bit in that position, begin trying to straighten that leg without changing your knee and pelvis positions -- you may not be able to straighten it very much at all, but that's fine. Hold that, making sure that pelvis is static, for 20-60 seconds.
Do you guys ever work this or any of your other stretching with Jumpstretch/Ironwoody Bands?

A guy I knew in college, who got me into most of this crazy fringe fitness stuff, would have us do this stretch with a band looped around the ankle, tractioning the hamstring fuller into stretch, doing PNF stuff. The band makes it easier to work flexibility in-between a straight ham stretch and a way-out-to-the-side groin stretch: Full 360 degrees.
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Old 11-22-2006, 11:50 AM   #8
Ken Urakawa
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Article on band-assisted stretching:

http://www.t-nation.com/readTopic.do?id=1105903
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Old 11-22-2006, 02:37 PM   #9
Greg Everett
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with self stretching, bands can be helpful in cases when present flexibility doesn't allow you to reach whatever part of your body you need to grab--but a piece of 1" nylon webbing tied in a loop is a lot cheaper and will transfer whatever force you place on it to whatever it's attached to instead of stretching.
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Old 11-22-2006, 09:29 PM   #10
-Ross Hunt
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Greg,

Cool. Thanks.
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