We wish a super start of the month with a superfunctional exercise. Here is how to perform a Superfunctional hamstring stretch for increased mobility and flexibility.
The Superfunctional hamstring stretch is an excellent alternative to the classic flexibility exercise.
You can perform it as a warm-up or a cool-down exercise.
Set the bar to just below hip height and stand behind it. Place one foot on the bar and bend the knee. Hold the straps either side for balance. In this position, you should be standing on one leg relatively upright. This is the Superfunctional hamstring stretch start position.
Slowly straighten your leg and hinge at the hips until you feel a moderate stretch in your hamstring muscles. Hold for a few seconds before slowly returning. This whole movement should take about 8-10 seconds.
Perform 5-10 times – do it slowly.
This variation on the classic hamstring stretch has several distinct differences and benefits.
Firstly, the standing position requires more balance. For this reason, it may not be the preferred option for beginners; it does, however, allow for better isolation of the hamstring muscles without excessive loss of posture.
Secondly, the standing position allows for better hip hinging – a movement that is essential to stretching the hamstrings. In traditional seated hamstring stretches, the spine is often stretched at the expense of the hamstrings, because it’s hard to ‘feel’ the hip hinge. When hip motion is unrestricted in standing, it can be used as an effective way to stretch the hamstrings.
Lastly, the straightening and bending of the leg increases circulation to the stretching muscles, which can increase flexibility and speed up recovery. It also prevents tendons and ligaments from over-stretching.
As a final note, it’s worth noting that short/tight hamstring muscles can have a significant impact on posture. If tight, they can cause the pelvis to rotate backwards flattening the natural arch of the low back. This may contribute to pain during sitting and standing. Regular stretching of the hamstrings and hip mobilisation can not only help overall posture but also decrease the stiffness and pain in the low back experienced during and after exercise.