Our warmups sometimes include a hamstring stretch, one that is very much needed by the majority of us.
By LeighAnn Clark
It’s a fantastic stretch, but are we doing it right?
When we use this stretch, we need to use something called Reciprocal Inhibition. This essentially means that if one muscle is active, the opposite muscle is relaxed. When we want to stretch out the hamstring, we need to activate the quad by thinking about pulling the kneecap toward our hip. This will activate the quad, effectively relaxing the opposite muscle, the hamstring, and allowing it to stretch. If the hamstring is active when we go to stretch it, we won’t get anything out of it. It’s like making a muscle with your bicep and then someone trying to pull your hand down while you’re holding it; can’t be done because you cannot lengthen an active muscle.
As long as we are keeping our quad tight, we’ll feel the wonderful effects of the stretch very quickly.