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Tight Hamstrings? Let's loosen em up...

Stretching isn't the answer to your tight hamstrings.

It may help, but passive tactics like static stretching will only take you so far in terms of improving the resilience and function of your hamstrings.

What are the hamstrings?

The hamstrings are a group of muscles that reside on the backside of the upper leg and they are responsible for knee flexion (bending your knee) as well as assisting hip extension.

They can often be a fairly weak muscle, for many reasons, one of them being that there aren't as many exercises that make them a primary mover.

For example, with squats, even though your knee is going through a full range of motion, your hamstrings aren't pulling you downwards into knee flexion. Gravity is pulling you down, and your quadriceps (on the front side of your legs) are eccentrically contracting to control the movement downwards and then proceeding to contract and push you upwards.

Your hamstrings will contribute somewhat to the movement, but they simply aren't a primary mover.

So, that begs that question...

Are your tight hamstrings actually tight... Or are they just weak?

In all likelihood, it's a combination of both.

In order to improve the function of our hamstrings, solving many issues with both tightness and weakness, we need to train them as the primary mover.

We need to place our body into a position that requires the activation and usage of the hamstrings muscle group - strengthening them!

We need to give them the opportunity to contribute to our motor out