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Hamstring Stretches: 3 Wrong & 3 Right Ways

By Kymberly Williams-Evans, MA and Alexandra Williams, MA

Want more benefit from your hamstring stretches? (You are devoting some of your workout time to stretching, right?) Avoid the most common form faults. Be uncommon, just like us! Flexible hamstrings reduce tension on the lower back, allow for good alignment and posture, and enhance your physical performance.

Don’t take our word for it. Watch our short video. Then you can take our image and word for what good form requires.

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Most mistakes are related to:

  1. knee joint bent too much
  2. hips and buttocks up in the air
  3. neck and shoulder hunching

Fit-tastic, ham-tacular form involves:

  1. holding away from joints
  2. relaxing the head and neck
  3. lengthening the leg, even if it means moving the leg away from your body

The best stretch of all is the one your fingers make when you subscribe to our YouTube channel and this blog. Follow us on Twitter: AlexandraFunFit and KymberlyFunFit. Please also follow us on Instagram: KymberlyFunFit and AlexandraFunFit, especially if you like shots of Santa Barbara and nature. The icons in the right sidebar are a quick way to link to us as well. We link and follow right back.

Readers: What stretches do you see commonly done ouch, wrench, twist and shout, the WRONG way?

Photo credit: Us. Yeah, we took a screen shot from our video. Bet you could tell. Real credit goes to Rancho la Puerta fitness resort in Tecate, Mexico for allowing us to shoot this video while visiting as guest instructors.

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About Fun and Fit

Get practical exercise advice, your fitness questions answered, and cutting edge health edu-tainment that is accessible and doable from long time fitness experts, Kymberly Williams-Evans, MA and Alexandra Williams, MA. We have taught on land, sea, and airwaves for 3 decades on 4 continents. From writing to speaking, emceeing to hosting a radio show, reviewing products to teaching classes, we believe that little steps turn into big paths. Move a little more than the day before. FitFluential Ambassadors and award-winners both online and off.

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16 Responses to Hamstring Stretches: 3 Wrong & 3 Right Ways

  1. TriGirl October 14, 2012 at 9:38 pm #

    I have not thought about not grabbing at the joints, but that is so good to know! My favourite hammy stretch is done at a wall corner, putting one leg straight out in front of me and the opposite heel up on the wall. Then I scoot forward as much as I can to get my leg as straight as possible. It keeps me from overstretching and I LOVE it.
    TriGirl recently posted..Masters of the Swim UniverseMy Profile

  2. Christine @ Love, Life, Surf October 14, 2012 at 10:04 pm #

    I like your stretch suggestion for subscribing to your YT channel and blog :-)
    The other mistake that I used to make and see other doing is trying to get your head to touch your knee as you do a hamstring stretch. Now I try to focus more on bringing my chest forward and closer to my leg versus my head.
    Christine @ Love, Life, Surf recently posted..The Two of YouMy Profile

    • AlexandraFunFit October 16, 2012 at 9:17 pm #

      You’re so right – your head moving about doesn’t do much for your hamstring flexibility, although it would make your neck tired!
      AlexandraFunFit recently posted..Diet Cheat Days: Yes or No?My Profile

  3. Miz October 15, 2012 at 2:05 am #

    I NEEEED these as I know my low back pain is a result of shortened hammies.

  4. Jill @ Fitness, Health and Happiness October 15, 2012 at 4:15 am #

    Great info! I stretch my hamstrings daily whether I work out or not.
    Jill @ Fitness, Health and Happiness recently posted..Top 5 Health and Fitness AppsMy Profile

    • AlexandraFunFit October 16, 2012 at 9:19 pm #

      What a great practice, Jill! We all seem to be so great at quad stretches, yet so neglectful at hamstring stretches, then wonder why things hurt. Your suggestion is an excellent one for overall flexibility and back comfort.
      AlexandraFunFit recently posted..Challenge Yourself to a Healthier YouMy Profile

  5. Yum Yucky October 15, 2012 at 8:26 am #

    Great vid! I haven’t been doing much hammie stretches while on my back, but any reason to lay on my back is a good one(uh huh), so I’ll add this stretch to my cool downs.
    Yum Yucky recently posted..Oxygen Magazine: 5 Reasons to Add it to Your Fitness ArsenalMy Profile

  6. Jody - Fit at 54 October 15, 2012 at 7:27 pm #

    GREAT VIDEO!!!!!!! PIN!!! :-) You tow look great!
    Jody – Fit at 54 recently posted..Gratitude Monday & Happy 29th Wedding Anniversary!My Profile

  7. Kristen October 15, 2012 at 8:31 pm #

    Hamstring stretches are my favorite muscle to stretch. I like to take a towel and wrap it around my foot. I bring my leg towards me and then also off to the side to get in towards the inner thigh. But if I had it my way, I would have someone (preferably an extremely good looking male) stretch me every day. No matter what the stretch is, I always get more out of it if someone else is doing the stretching for me.
    Kristen recently posted..Monday Morning Inspiration: Don’t Sweat the Small StuffMy Profile

  8. AlexandraFunFit October 16, 2012 at 10:50 pm #

    Aha, you like the partner stretches. So do we. Have you read the two excellent IDEA Fitness Journal posts by Dr. Len Kravitz? He is very fond of partner stretches. I use old ties in my classes for some of the hamstring stretches. Easier to store than towels!
    AlexandraFunFit recently posted..Stumbling Blocks are not Walls: Setting New Fitness Challenges After SurgeryMy Profile

  9. Calla Gold October 17, 2012 at 6:11 am #

    Fun and Fit advice is ham-tastic, I finally got to say that literally. I was doing it wrong. And that shoulder hunch thing could make a person look all quasimodo, right?
    So I’m doing it right in front of a mirror next time.
    Thanks you two for showing me the wrongs and right of how to keep my hammies in good shape and my lower back too!
    Calla Gold

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