When You Shouldn't Stretch Your Hamstrings

by - 10:33 AM

Before one of my PT/coaching friends freak out, let me preface this by saying I believe hip mobility is very important. Decreased hip mobility can lead to compensations in the lower back, leading to pain, as well as decreased strength, speed, and power. But know that 

when a muscle is "tight" it is tight for a reason.  

I had someone stop by the training facility about a month ago with complaints of chronic back pain.  I asked her what she thought it was and what she had been doing to try and help.  "I know I have tight hamstrings she said. And I've been doing a lot of these stretches," as she sits, leans over,  and puts her nose to her knee.  Upon further assessment, she had tons of mobility (almost too much) and had a hard time controlling that mobility.  She also stands locked in an anterior pelvic tilt and has a crazy weak core. 

Remember when I said a muscle is tight it is tight for a reason.  In this lady's case her hamstrings  were protectively tensing, to control her anterior tilt and to add stability.  Stretching her hamstrings without adding stability in her core was increasing her instability.  I educated her on posture and instructed her in some anterior core exercises and sent her on her way. Several weeks later, she comes back and reports her pain is gone.

Moral of the story... if something is tight Always ask why

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