- The foam roll hamstrings is an essential part of any workout warm up or cool down, as well as a useful corrective exercise for those with tight hamstrings.
- When performed correctly and regularly, you will feel a noticeable and often immediate increase in hamstring length.
- Sit on the floor and place the roller under the thigh at the top of the hamstrings.
- Place your hands on the floor behind you for support, and maintain an upright posture.
- The leg that you are not using to roll should be bent at the knee, with foot flat on the floor – for added stability.
- Keep the shoulder set and lift your butt off the floor a few inches.
- Begin by slowly moving your body backward as you roll down the hamstrings towards the back of the knee. Stop just before you get to the end of the knee, and then slowly return.
- Continue rolling slowly up and down for a total of 45 seconds.
- Switch legs and repeat.
- The hamstrings are prone to tightness, and for many people, it is a constant source of frustration as they stretch the hamstrings with little or no improvement. With this in mind, it’s essential to understand the difference between muscle shortness and muscle tightness – as this will guide the best strategy to use.
- Muscle shortness is usually the result of adaptive shortening – where the muscles slowly shorten over time. This happens due to prolonged postural positions as well as lack of mobility/movement. In those who exercise regularly, muscle tightness is often the problem. This is where the body increases muscle tone usually as a result of muscle imbalance.
- In the case of the hamstrings, increased tightness is usually the result of an anterior pelvic tilt (pelvis tilted forward). This position ‘pulls’ on the hamstring – much like an elastic band stretching. Over time, this tightness can also result in ‘knots’ within the muscles – sometimes referred to as trigger points. The solution is to deactivate the trigger points and relax the muscle through foam rolling – rather than stretching. Once you reduce the muscles tone, specific corrective exercises can be used to address any muscle imbalances.