If you find yourself saying or thinking the following, we need to chat:
“My hammies are so tight all the time. I’m constantly rolling/triggering/stretching them, but they never seem to get any better”.
This is a case of not recognizing that you are doing the OPPOSITE of what you should be doing.
But I feel “tight” – won’t stretching help?
This can happen anywhere in the body, but I’m going to use hamstrings as the example, as it seems to be one of the most common areas that people complain about. Overstretched hamstrings are typically found in individuals who tend to have an anterior tilt of the pelvis – meaning that the pelvis is tilted forwards, increasing lordosis of the lumbar spine.
If you imagine your pelvis like a bowl of water, an ANTERIOR tilt would have the water spilling over the FRONT of the bowl (facing away from you). A POSTERIOR tilt would have the water spilling over the BACK of the bowl (facing towards you). Keep in mind that the hamstrings originate at the bottom of the pelvis – on the ischium or “sitting bones”. When the pelvis tips forward, it increases the tension on the hamstrings, particularly if the pelvis remains in anterior rotation – due to tight structures anteriorly – namely the hip flexors (iliopsoas, iliacus and rectus femoris).
What should I do to fix the issue?
By constantly stretching or attempting to lengthen the hamstrings – you are actually making the problem worse.
You should be working on lengthening the muscles OPPOSITE the hamstrings – the hip flexors (iliopsoas, iliacus, rectus femoris, TFL) and knee extensors (quads). The MobilizeMe App has you covered for all your mobility exercises – download for FREE here.
STRENGTHENING the hip extensors (hamstrings and gluteus maximus) is your next port of call. Download our Free Glute Activation e-book here to start off on the right foot. When the pelvis is anteriorly rotated the glute max is also in a lengthened position and will tend to be weaker than normal also. Try this to get the full idea of what I’m talking about:
Bend forward at the waist and grab the skin at the front of the thighs, like a handful of it. Hang onto it. Now try squeezing your butt – what happens? Probably nothing. Now try standing up without letting go of that handful (maybe less than a handful if you’re a lean, mean WOD machine…) it’s not easy or fun is it? This is basically the effect of tight hip flexors has on your posterior chain – you can’t utilize it properly!
So the next time you’re thinking about stretching the S*%T out of your hammies, think about this post and take a different path. Strengthen those bad boys instead of lengthening them and you will find they will no longer feel “tight”.
Still not sure what you should be stretching or strengthening? MobilizeMe Physiotherapy Gold Coast offers FREE INITIAL ASSESSMENTS* so you can stop Googling and guessing. What are you waiting for? BOOK TODAY!
*For New Clients with Private Health. Please contact us if you don’t have Private Health but are interested in taking up the offer.