“My hamstrings are so tight” is one of the most common complaints we hear from clients. 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. We have had great results with clients practicing Pilates for tight hamstrings.
The Problem with Tight Hamstrings:
The hamstring muscle group is comprised 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.
How Pilates Can Help Tight Hamstrings:
While basic hamstring stretches often do little to create lasting change in the overall flexibility of your hamstrings, Pilates training can improve your overall mobility. Incorporating Pilates into your fitness routine has been shown to increase hamstring flexibility in the majority of its’ participants.
One of the reasons Pilates is so beneficial for hamstring flexibility is because it stretches the muscles in a variety of positions including lying down, standing up, kneeling and sitting. These functional movements address all of the different position we put our body in on a daily basis and so is more effective in creating lasting results.
The Benefits of Stretching Your Hamstrings with Pilates:
There are many benefits to stretching your hamstrings with Pilates. One benefit is when you improve hamstring flexibility it will decrease added stresses to your lumbar spine alleviating low back pain and stiffness.
Another benefit is that Pilates focuses on mobilizing the hip joints and stretching the hamstrings while keeping the spine in neutral. Improving this body awareness helps mitigate extraneous forces on your spine and prevents both acute and chronic injuries.
Lastly stretching your hamstrings will allow your pelvis to maintain a more neutral alignment improving posture and decreasing stiffness and soreness throughout the legs and back.