Why Many Feel Their Hamstrings Are Tight?

Most have probably been misinformed on the their hamstrings by the general public expressing when something feels “tight” in the body, stretch!  So that someone keep stretching, in this case the hamstrings, and the problem usually never goes away.  Why?  In most cases, stretching the hamstrings, which are usually in a lengthened and facilitated position, is trying to solve an issue that is not one of stretching but more of restoring the pattern to be able to posterior weight shift.  Check out the toe touch picture below.

     How many have you heard explain that their hamstrings are tight but can touch their toes (if it has a posterior weight shift) or active straight leg raise to at least 70 degrees?  I know I have seen and heard the same many times.  They do not have tight hamstrings.  There is at least one explanation for the feeling of tightness. An anterior weight shift.  When many have an anterior pelvic tilt (forward tipped pelvis) this puts the body into a forward weight shift which constantly “kicks on” the backside (glutes, calves, hamstrings).  Because of the chronic contraction, these posterior muscles are constantly trying to counteract the body from falling forward.  The result:  Now these muscles cannot allow the body to hinge backwards.  The ability to hinge is important so that when we lift we are able to properly load the hips or use the hips in our daily lifting activities.  Any hinging movement is important for power, strength, and injury prevention.  Low back pain and knee pain are common problems with many because of the inability to load the hips.

What can help?   Soft-tissue work for the glutes, hip rotators, hamstrings, and calves. Follow that up with mobilizations for similar areas, teaching the deadlift pattern, or if needed, the FMS corrections for the active straight leg raise. The posterior weight is more than just hamstrings, it’s the entire posterior chain.  A good process is what I heard from Gray Cook..”of course resetting the muscle tissue with foam rolling is not going to be magic like dry needling, it can still help).

Reset (soft tissue work)–>Reinforce(pattern)–> Reload (using some weight with it)

Cheers,

Matt



Categories: Strength Training, Stretching/Soft Tissue Work

Tags: , , , ,

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