TYPES OF HAMSTRING PAIN & TIGHTNESS...
Because the hamstrings are relatively long it is possible to experience different types of tightness or tenderness in various parts of the muscle. Knowing what kind of tightness or tenderness you have is crucial as sometimes what you think is tightness might actually be a sign of injury and needs a different approach (rest and strengthening vs stretching).
If your hamstrings are tight in the belly of the muscle, or lower down the leg and it eases off as you breathe and hold the stretch, this usually indicates general tightness.
Beginners, those new to yoga, those who train a lot, and those who have week abdominals will usually experience this kind of hamstring tightness.
YOGA BUTT + HAMSTRING STRAIN
If you have any of the following symptoms - it is possible you have a strain
- There is acute pain up and underneath your butt cheek at the sitting bone (ischial tuberosity)
- Stretching feels more painful as you deepen the stretch and when you lift your tailbone
- You can pinpoint a small area up under the butt cheek where there is pain
- Your butt or upper inner thigh continues to hurt or ache AFTER the stretch
- The pain is getting progressively worse when you stretch
- There is pain when you sit for long periods of time
This type of injury can be common in those who have been practicing yoga for a while, or started rigorously after a long break and is indicative of an injury at the origin of the hamstring where it joins the pelvis.
This type of injury most commonly happens when there is a focus on a lot of forward bends without sufficient strengthening or warm up (eg: ashtanga yoga students often suffer from this type of injury). This is known as ‘yoga butt’ and definitely not a fun injury to deal with. It can also sometimes feel like you need to stretch it out - but you’ll notice that after stretching it continues to ache and eventually gets more and more painful.
If you suspect you have a strain, it is crucial to ease off all forward bends and seek a diagnosis and treatment which will usually involve rest and strength work.
7 SIMPLE STRETCHES TO TAME TIGHT HAMSTRINGS
- Warm up first with a few sun salutations or if you are completely new to yoga - you can even do these stretches after a 5-10min walk.
- Hold each pose for 5-15 breaths focusing on deepening the posture as you exhale.
- Try to drag the heel of your front leg back as you stretch - this will help activate the muscle.
- Remember to work within your body's comfortable limits - never straining.
- The first pose is a strengthening pose for the upper hamstrings. The subsequent postures are designed to help improve hamstring flexibility.
1. Bridge Preparation (Setu Bandhasana)
2. Standing Forward Bend with Blocks (Uttanasana)
3. Kneeling Hamstring Lunge
4. Triangle Pose (Trikonasana)
5. Head to Knee Pose (Janu Sirsasana)
6. Sitting Forward Bend (Paschimottanasana)
7. Supine Leg Extension (Supta Uttita Hasta Padangustasana)
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NOW IT'S YOUR TURN - LEAVE US A COMMENT!
Now over to you....
We'd love you to leave us a comment below and let us know what your tight spots are? Hamstrings? Shoulders? Neck? Somewhere different?
What poses are you working on this year to overcome those tight spots?