Best Hamstring Stretch For Runners – The Ultimate Guide
Because our hamstrings are needed for daily physical activities, such as walking, squatting, and climbing stairs, it is important to keep them strong and healthy. That is where hamstring stretches come into play, not just for runners but for all types of people that do daily physical activity.
For runners, performing specific hamstring stretches is a great way to keep good mobility and the hamstring muscles strong, healthy, and injury free.
With many runners focusing on strengthening their quadriceps, it is important to spend some time focusing on the hamstrings. That’s why in today’s article, we focus on hamstring stretches for runners and why you should perform them after each workout.
So, if you are wanting to know the best static hamstring stretches for runners, keep reading. Performing these stretches will not only improve your technique and keep your muscles healthy, but they will also help prevent injuries in the future.
What Are The Hamstring Muscles
There are three main muscles located in the hamstrings. These are called the bicep femoris, semimembranosus, and semitendinosus. These muscles are primarily used to bend the knees and extend and rotate the hips daily.
The bicep femoris is located in the outer part of the thigh. This muscle helps flexion of the knee, the extension of the hip, and rotation f the tibia.
The semimembranosus is located at the back of the thigh. This muscle helps flexion of the knee, the extension of the hip, and rotation of the tibia when bending the knee.
Why Should You Stretch Your Hamstrings
There are many reasons why you should stretch your hamstring muscles. Stretching is good for overall health, improves overall flexibility, and helps prevent injuries. For runners, regular stretching can also reduce DOMS and keep the muscles loose and flexible, which can also help improve your running efficiency.
Having loose and flexible hamstrings can also help prevent runners from experiencing lower back pain and glute issues.
If you don’t do regular stretching, tight hamstrings can often lead to lower back pain, bad posture and technique, imbalances of the muscles, and even knee pain. It also means if your hamstring muscles aren’t flexible enough, other muscle groups will become tighter, leading to stiff joints, posture problems, and more.
Benefits Of Hamstring Stretches
There are many benefits to stretching the hamstring muscles. These include increased flexibility and improved range of motion in the hip. Both of these benefits can help people perform daily tasks, such as squatting, walking up stairs, and even bending over.
Other benefits include strengthening the connective tissue of your hamstrings, which will ultimately increase the strength of the hamstrings and prevent injuries.
Exercises For The Hamstring Muscles
As runners, it is important to not only keep the muscles supple and flexible. We also need to keep them strong. Doing so helps us run faster and more efficiently while preventing injuries.
Below are some exercises you can include in your training plan to improve the strength of your hamstrings.
– Single-Leg Romanian Deadlifts
– Nordic Hamstring Curls
– Stability Ball Hamstring Curls (single and double leg)
– Eccentric Bridges
– Hip Thursts
– Bulgarian Split Squats
– Kettlebell Swings
In addition to strengthening your hamstrings, warming them up before a run is also super important. Below are 5 hamstring exercises you should do if you are a runner.
5 Hamstring Stretches For Runners
If you are an avid runner, these 5 hamstring stretches will help keep your hamstrings functioning healthy and help you keep good form during your workouts.
Hamstring Scoop Stretch
1. To do the hamstring scoop stretch, start with your feet hip-width apart.
2. Place your right foot slightly in front of you, and place your heel on the ground while flexing your toes back.
3. Bend your need slightly and bend forward at the waist.
4. Move your arms towards your right foot
5. Hold for a few seconds and bring the arms back to the starting position.
6. Repeat for 20 seconds on each side, then move to the other.
Frankenstein Hamstring Stretch
1. To do the Frankenstein hamstring stretch, stand tall with your back straight.
2. Tighten your core, and extend your arms out in front of you.
3. Lift your left leg up as far as you can to your right arm while keeping your back straight.
4. Try to touch your toes with your hand without bending your knee or leaning forward.
5. Let the leg return to the starting position and repeat with the other leg.
Standing Toe Touch
The standing toe touch is one of the most well-known hamstring stretches. To do the standing toe touch start by:
1. Standing tall with your feet hip-width apart
2. Bend at the hips and touch your toes while keeping your back and legs straight.
3. Hold for 30-60 seconds, then return to the starting position and repeat.
Cross Over Hamstring Stretch
The cross-over hamstring stretch is just as common as the standing toe touch. To do this stretch:
1. Stand tall and cross your left foot over your right food.
2. Lower your body from your hips and bend your knees slightly.
3. Aim to touch your toes, or if you have good flexibility in your hamstrings, place your hands flat on the floor.
4. Hold for 30-60 seconds
5. Repeat after you have placed your feet in opposite positions.
Single Leg Forward Fold Hamstring Stretch
The single-leg forward hamstring stretch is another common hamstring stretch for runners. To do this stretch:
1. Start by placing your feet hip-width apart.
2. Step forward with your left leg and place your left heel on the ground.
3. Bend your right knee slightly
4. Bend forward at your waist towards your heel until you feel a stretch while keeping your back straight.
5. Hold for 30-60 seconds
6. Repeat on the other side.