Although basic hamstring stretches may seem like the obvious solution for your tight hamstrings, they seldom create lasting change. That is because for many of us, our range of motion is often hampered by imbalance in the connected muscles and joints, rather than actual tightness of the hamstring muscle group.
Unlike static stretches, Pilates training incorporates a variety of movements that can improve strength, flexibility and body awareness in all of the muscles around the hamstrings. This integrated support to the surrounding muscles and tissues has been shown to increase hamstring flexibility in people who practice Pilates. There are also other reasons you should try Pilates if you’re dealing with hamstring tightness (or any other muscle tightness!).
One of the reasons Pilates is so beneficial for hamstring flexibility is because it stretches and strengthens the body in a variety of positions, including lying down, standing up, kneeling and sitting. These functional movements address all of the muscles that work when we perform everyday actions like walking, squatting, and sitting. With well-balanced muscles, we can move more freely and avoid pain or injury.
Another benefit to using Pilates for your hamstrings is that the increased mobility in your legs will take stress off your back. When your hamstrings are moving well, it improves your hip posture and decreases stress to your lumbar spine, alleviating low back pain and stiffness.
Another part of your body that benefits from Pilates is your hips. Pilates exercises focus on mobilizing the hip joints and stretching the hamstrings while keeping the spine in a strong, neutral position. Allowing your pelvis to maintain a more neutral alignment improves your posture and can prevent both acute and chronic injuries to your knees and back.
If you’re suffering from tight, achy hamstrings, Pilates could be an effective path to relief. Through functional exercises, you can develop stronger and more mobile hamstrings that will allow your pelvis to maintain a more neutral alignment, improve your posture, and heal stiffness and pain throughout your legs and back.
Want personalized help for your ti“My hamstrings are so tight.”
This is one of the most common complaints we hear from clients. Why is it such a problem? It is estimated that Americans spend an average of 12 hours per day sitting. With the amount of time most people remain sedentary rising every year, it is no wonder more and more people are suffering from stiff and achy leg muscles.
Luckily, Pilates can help. Our clients at Pilates in the Grove have had great results with using targeted exercises to relieve the discomfort of tight hamstrings.
The hamstring muscle group consists of three long muscles that run from your pelvis behind your leg and attach to your shin bone below your knee. Their primary action is to bend the knee, but they also extend the hip as well.
Because of their attachment to the pelvis, hamstring tightness is commonly linked to low back pain. If they pull at their insertion site at the knee they can also cause knee pain or create dysfunctional movement that can lead to injury like an ACL tear.