Being physically strong and fit is about more than just being able to lift heavy weights, run fast or run long distances. Physical fitness is a combination of various physical abilities all working in synchronicity. It includes muscle power or strength, cardiovascular fitness and endurance, muscle endurance, and flexibility especially in muscles such as your hamstring group and gluteal muscles. And while many people focus mainly on one area of physical fitness, it is essential to incorporate exercises and activities that improve and promote each area.
One area of fitness that many people neglect is flexibility
Not enough emphasis is placed on the importance of muscle flexibility for athletes. Bodybuilders and competitive athletes, for instance, focus on aesthetics by doing mostly resistance and weight training. Endurance athletes focus more on endurance training.
If both of these athletes also incorporate flexibility training, and endurance or strength training , they would enhance other areas of their fitness and increase their performance in their sporting fields . Flexibility not only improves an athlete’s overall performance but more importantly decreases the risk of injury by allowing the joints to move freely. It also increases blood flow to the muscle and helps the muscle work more effectively.
One of the muscles that is often overlooked is the hamstring muscles
For athletes, powerful, strong hamstring muscles increase explosive power, which helps runners to run faster. For bodybuilders and competitive athletes, prominent hamstring muscles are an important aesthetic addition to the physique. Your hamstring flexibility has a direct effect on your overall fitness and stretching your hamstring muscles often increases your range of motion, which prevents injury from taking place.
Not only athletes can benefit from flexible hamstring muscles
Tight hamstrings may have a direct impact on your everyday life as it affects posture and normal movement, and may even cause back pain. Stretching lengthens the muscle, which decreases the stress on the lower back.
Bad posture can be caused by imbalances in muscles owing to a sedentary lifestyle
Tight hamstrings that have become shortened owing to limited stretching and range of motion can have a direct effect on your glutes, lower back, and hip flexors. It is extremely important to keep your muscles active and flexible as if they are tight this could lead to untold problems in your body.
Luckily, with a good stretching program and some consistency, you can reverse the effects of stiff or shortened hamstrings and increase your hamstring range of motion, hamstring strength and prevent injury at the same time. Here are a few tips to help you release tight hamstrings and increase your hamstring flexibility:
- Dedicate 10 – 20 minutes at the end of your training sessions to work on your hamstring flexibility.
- Never force a stretch.
- Keep stretching movements slow and controlled.
- Stretching shouldn’t be painful. Don’t overstretch – this could lead to injury.
- Mix your stretches up with static and dynamic stretches and movements.
A few hamstring stretches that you can try are:
- Scissor hamstrings stretches,
- Standing hamstring stretch,
- Hurdler stretches,
- Forward bends, and
- Reclined hamstring stretches.
So, as you can see, tight and shortened hamstrings can cause a variety of issues not just for athletes but for everyday movers as well. Dedicate time to stretch your hamstrings every day and keep it consistent. You have to keep stretching. As soon as you stop, the muscle will adapt and shorten. On Trifocus Fitness Academy India’s Personal Training Certification, you’ll learn all there is to know about hamstring stretches – and everything else you need to know to become a world-class personal trainer. Follow this link for more information.
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