Lie Down for a Good Hamstring Stretch
Lying-Down Hamstring Stretch Offers Some Advantages Over the Standing Version
Jan. 31, 2005 - Looking for the best hamstring stretch? You may want to try
a lying-down version. If you don't have a trainer to watch your form, here's a
Lie down on your back on the floor. Leave one leg flat on the floor while
placing the stretching leg on a wall. Position yourself close enough to the
wall, so that as you bend at the hip to stretch the hamstrings, you feel a
stretch along the back of the raised leg. Hold the stretch for 30 seconds, and
repeat three times.
The lying-down hamstring stretch is less tricky but just as good as the more
popular hamstring stretch done while standing. The news was reported recently
in the Journal of Athletic Training.
Stretching helps build flexibility, so you may want to use the lying-down
hamstring stretch in your workouts. You are sticking to that get-in-shape
resolution, right? If not, no worries. It's never too late to make a fresh
Improving flexibility might make daily life easier on your body. For
athletes, poor hamstring flexibility has often been linked to injuries of the
low back and lower extremities, say the researchers, who included Laura
Decoster, ATC, of the New Hampshire Musculoskeletal Institute.
The two types of stretches faced off in an experiment by Decoster and
colleagues. Participants were 29 healthy men and women in their mid-20s. They
were assigned to practice one or the other hamstring stretch.
Participants got one-on-one instruction. They did a total of nine stretching
sessions in a group setting (three sessions per week for three weeks). In each
session, they held their hamstring stretch three times for 30 seconds each.
Stretching Technique Matters
For the standing stretch, participants stood facing a table. They stood on
one leg while propping their other leg on a table. With their hips square,
looking straight ahead, and back straight, they bent at their hips to stretch
For the lying-down stretch, a doorway frame came in handy. By lying in a
doorway, the door frame helped support and stretch the hamstring. Moving the
body closer to the door frame increased the stretch.
Participants' hamstring flexibility was measured before and after the study.
Both groups showed similar improvement.
The lying-down stretch might be easier to do on your own, say the
researchers. With your back on the floor, hip alignment is more likely to be
correct than with the standing stretch and may require less supervision. It may
be more effective for independent programs.