Knowing how to stretch your hamstrings will help prevent muscle tear and other serious muscle related injuries. Several pieces of simple equipment and devices found in the gym help with providing thorough stretches for the back of the legs, though achieving a great hamstring stretch requires no equipment and little space.
Equipment Free Stretches
Bending the body in both standing and sitting positions provides different stretches, all targeting the hamstrings. Instead of using a machine that targets a specific muscle group, these stretches act as great alternatives when gym access or equipment is not available.
Stiff Legged Toe Touches
- Stand with ankles touching and with both legs locked at the knees. Spreading the legs further apart toward a shoulder width stance will decrease the intensity of the stretch, but increase stability. With both arms extended, bend at the waist and reach for the ground a few inches in front of the toes. Hold the stretch, and then slowly stand upright after 20 or more seconds.
- Cross one leg over the other so that the outer ankle of each foot is touching. Repeat the same bend and reach stretch for an individual hamstring stretch.
- For an added stretch in the same position, increase the width of the stance and hold on to each ankle area, pulling the upper body through the legs.
- While sitting with both feet extended straight forward, touch your feet at the ankles. Reach forward with fully extended arms and hold the position. Try to hold the position with hands at the top of the toes, and both the inside and outside of the feet.