Yesterday, you decided to finally tackle that workout video you’ve had saved on Instagram for weeks. You did deadlifts, glute bridges, plank jacks, the works. You felt amazing afterward, posting a sweaty selfie while sipping on your favorite protein shake. But this morning you woke up feeling a weird pain in the backs of your thighs. What gives? Your hammies, that’s what.
Your hamstrings are made up of three posterior muscles that connect your hips to your knees. These muscles work in tandem to help extend the hip, flex the knee and rotate your lower leg––actions we all do on the reg. From running to sitting to walking up the stairs, the hamstrings are involved in almost every move we make. Unfortunately, this means they’re also extremely susceptible to injury. Caring for your hamstrings involves both strengthening and lengthening achieved through exercise and stretching. But you can’t master a deadlift if your hamstrings are tighter than a rubber band. What’s worse, you could strain or tear them in the process (but more about that later). Lucky for you, we’ve rounded up the best hamstring stretches you can do just about anywhere. When maintained consistently, these stretches will help relieve pain, decrease tightness, increase mobility and even boost strength.
Before diving in, we chatted with Daniela Malkowski, STOTT certified Pilates instructor and personal trainer, to take a closer look at some of the symptoms, causes and prevention methods associated with tight hamstrings.