How to Fix Tight Hamstrings (HINT: Static Stretching Doesn’t Work)

How to Fix Tight Hamstrings (HINT: Static Stretching Doesn’t Work)

in this video we’re gonna talk about how
to fix your tight hamstrings and a few things that you’ve probably never heard
before that’s gonna give you lasting results yo what’s up its Coach E here from
precision movement and today we’re gonna talk about how to fix tight hamstrings
so the hamstrings are a muscle group that are commonly tight so many athletes
so many regular people have tight hamstrings and they’re trying to do
things they’re trying to stretch the typical static stretch where you stick
your leg up on a chair you kind of bend over and you stretch the hamstrings
there they’re doing that but you’re not getting lasting relief so why is that so
we’re going to talk about three things that you need to know to fix your tight
hamstrings for good okay so before we get into that quick little bit of
anatomy the hamstrings they’re made up of three different heads of the muscle
there’s the biceps femoris we’re just kinda on the lateral side at the outside
and then there’s the semitendinosus and semimembranosus which are more on the
medial aspect here okay so the hamstring it’s a multi joint muscle so it crosses
both the hip joint and the knee joint so at the knee the hamstrings create knee
flexion okay and when the knee is flexed they also rotate the tibia the biceps
femoris rotated laterally or externally and the semitendinosus and semimembranosus
rotate it immediately okay at the hip the hamstrings contribute to hip
extension okay so pushing the hip back so why is that important well that’s
important because why are the hamstrings tight in the first place now one reason
that the hamstrings are tight in the first place is because they’re trying to
pick up the slack for muscles or their muscles that aren’t doing the job and in
this case the muscles that are often not working properly in people are their
glutes and the glute maximus okay the glute maximus contributes to hip
extension that’s its primary rules to extend the hip and it’s a big muscle and
it’s very powerful but when we’re sitting on our asses all day okay those
muscles can go to sleep they get weak and they stop functioning properly
something else has to pick up the slack and that’s something else is
hamstrings but the hamstrings on the other hand they’re a very long muscle
like you can see it goes from the knee right up to my hip ischial tuberosity
right on the pelvis here it’s a long muscle they’re very skinny they’re not
designed to do the same work from a structural perspective as the glute
maximus which is a short really thick strong muscle okay it’s built for power
so the hamstrings try to pick up the slack there they can’t do the job they
get overworked they get damaged they get sore you can get tendinopathy going on
tendonosis high hamstring problems right at the ischial tuberosity at the sit
bones yeah those are all symptoms that the hamstrings are doing too much and
doing work that they’re not suited for so to fix that you got to get the glutes
working properly okay so glute maximus exercises you
start off very simple with hip bridges you know just firing up the glutes
making sure they’re active squeeze the glutes and one trick you can apply to
this to get the hamstrings out of this movement is think about kicking the
floor that way your feet aren’t going to move but I’m sliding my feet that way to
fire up the quads in the extension and that’ll shut the hamstrings off a little
bit so you can focus more of this hip extension movement on the glutes okay so
before you do any exercises squats deadlifts lunges any of that stuff get
the glutes firing up shut off the hamstrings and that will help to
reprogram your neuromuscular system so that the glutes start to do what they’re
supposed to do and the hamstrings do less of that hip extension movement okay
so that’s part one the glutes aren’t working properly part two is this is for
people and athletes generally younger athletes or more natural athletes who
are very powerful and explosive they can run really fast it could sprint super
fast but they haven’t developed their hamstring strength sufficient to handle
all the forces that go on when you’re sprinting so the hamstrings when you’re
running they decelerate the foot or the lower leg from going forward
and then they help to pull yourself forward when you’re sprinting
okay if you’re really powerful you’re running really fast maybe you don’t have
the speed to or the hamstring strength and the speed in the reaction time to
control that movement to the deceleration movement okay the other
part of this running and sprinting sports you see a lot of hamstring
problems there the other time that the hamstrings contribute to that is in
cutting and rotation because remember I said when the knees are flexed the
hamstrings contribute to the lower leg rotation okay so if you’re running and
cutting you need that type of movement if you’re a boxer and you’re throwing
and you’re rotating you need that type of movement that type of control at the
knee joint from the hamstrings so if they’re not working properly and they’re
not strong enough they can end up getting strained okay so those are some
contributors contributing factors to hamstring problems in the ultimately
hamstring tightness so if the hamstrings if they’ve been tired or if they’re
getting strained over and over and damaged then you need to restore proper
muscle tissue quality okay so one way to do that
double across ball here you sit on something and this technique I call
active self myofascial release so if you’ve ever heard of Active Release
techniques from a physiotherapist or chiropractors this is along those same
lines the same philosophy and theories behind it okay so what you want to do is
stick the lacrosse ball somewhere under your hamstring the hamstrings start with
your knee flexed and then I’m gonna put my pressure put the weight on it and
then I’m gonna slide my butt forward as I extend the knee okay we’re off the
edge there a little bit and then you hit another area and you do the same thing
slide forward as you extend the knee what this is doing is it’s basically
with the ball you’re locking down the tissue and then as you slide you’re
ripping the tissue you’re releasing the tissue and then as you extend the knee
you’re further releasing that tissue because you’re contracting the quads
through reciprocal inhibition the hamstrings relax a little bit so you
get deeper into that tissue and release it even better than if you’re just to do
like a passive massage okay so that’s why it’s a little more effective to put
the pressure on and actively lengthen the muscle as you release the tissue
okay so that’s the active self myofascial release so far we’ve
covered two things that you need to do you need to get the glutes working
properly so the hamstrings don’t compensate and overwork because you’ll
never get out of tight hamstrings if they’re always constantly working and
tightening up because they’re getting damaged just like if you’re training
your biceps and you rip them so hard they get really sore they kind of
tighten up you walk like this same thing happens with the hamstrings okay part
two is to use some kind of tool go to a therapist if you want but you can do
this to release the tissue okay release the muscles the adhesions scar tissue
anything like that that might be there okay once you’ve done that stuff then
it’s time to increase the length of the hamstring now that’s where static
stretching comes into play but static stretching research has shown not as effective as mobility exercises and definitely not active
mobility exercises I should say and definitely not as effective as the
technique I’m going to show you here today so here you might have heard of
PNF stretching before it involves contracting muscles on both sides of the
joint so here I’m stretching the hamstrings so what I want to do is I
want to contract both my hamstrings and my quads to deepen the stretch and to
also reprogram the neuromuscular system to say hey I’ve got strength at this
range of motion let me keep it that’s one of the problems with static
stretching is you stretch out you get loose you gain range but you haven’t
built up the strength there it’s your neuromuscular system your
brain is like okay you’re not strong at this range I’m just going to tighten you
back up because that’s unstable that’s dangerous to be to have range of motion
without any strength or control at that range okay so it’s very simple
all you do is get into your whatever hamstring stretch you’re doing okay
is the single leg up on a chair or a box so here I’ve got a little bit of a
stretch going so my first move is to push down and to think of flexing my
knee to fire up those hamstrings so hip extension knee flexion make sure the
hammies are fired up okay do that for about five seconds a good strong
contraction maybe 80% and then relax and then deepen myself into the stretch
breathe then part two because I’m here actively flex the hip and extend the
knee so fire up those quads fire up the hip flexors hold it for five seconds and
then relax and go deeper into the stretch again okay breathing the whole
time relaxed and then you repeat that cycle for two to three times per leg
yeah so there you’re going to build some strength in both the muscles that bring
you into the range of motion which are the hip flexors and the quads and the
muscles that will get you out of that range of motion which are the hamstrings
and the glutes and that’s how you quickly reprogram the neuromuscular
system to accept this new range of motion okay so that’s a technique that
you can use to build what I call range of control
and that’s what’s most important to active people athletes people are using
their bodies and indeed not just the flexibility but the mobility the
strength to get into stabilize and out of that range of motion all right so
there you have three things you need to do to fix your tight hamstrings
hopefully that’s open your eyes a little bit to some things that you may have
been missing if you’ve been trying to stretch your hamstrings but you haven’t
had any success and if you found this beneficial useful and you put it to work
for you and it’s you’re like oh hey this is working awesome
I suggest you check out the hip flexibility solution at I’ll throw a link
at the end of this video but check that out because we’re going to hit up all
the muscles of the hamstrings quads hip flexors adductors
all that stuff loosen them up but also build that range of control build that
strength and stability so you can use it in your everyday movements in everyday
life all right so thanks for watching my name is Eric, you were watching precision
movement at work and hope to see you soon

About the author


  1. I had tumors on my spine when u was 12 and 14 on my sciatic nerve. My hamstrings are so tight I get micro tears and rips in them throughout the day just walking at a least according to my doctors. My IT band is insanely tight too. Hopefully some of these things will help.

  2. Thanks for the video. Running and Cutting…So, I see why Messi is so insanely quick and strongest with dribbling. Hamstrings!!

  3. A great video on strengthening and stretching hamstrings. Like others, I have wanted and struggled with increasing my flexibility. Eric Wong is better than most atexplaining the workings and maintenance of healthy hamstings.

  4. Thanks a ton for this! Very helpful.

    A question – how frequently does one do this? Daily? A few times a week? Post a long run?

  5. The first exercise hurts a lot and after a try I have more pain then before… I have the pain since years and no doctor knows an answer. Do you have any other exercise ?

  6. I have in addition to tight hamstrings; tight quads and hip ext. Should I apply the same method to the quads?

  7. My lower back has been tied up in knots since shoveling some heavy snow a couple weeks ago. I am certainly aware that I have tight hamstrings (my lonely toes have never been touched) so gave this a try. Was a little spastic with the middle bit with the ball, I think my ball was too small, but otherwise this loosened up my back straight away. I also discovered if I sit at my desk to work a while and my back tightens up, I can get moving easily with just a quick application of the static stretch. Awesome!

  8. This was very informative, I didn't realise that I also need to build up my glutes to effectively loosen my hamstrings! Thank you

  9. Thank you so much for posting this video. I have had tight hamstrings because of Ankylosing spondylitis all my life. After trying this, I touched my toes for the first time in years. 😊😊😊

  10. Body proportions and bone structure determines these type of problems. I have really long femurs compared to my tibia, torso and arms since I turned 18. Before that they were proportionate to my body and didn't have tight hamstrings or back problems. Now even doung normal things like walking sitting, it hurts

  11. When I do raise my leg like that it tightens up my quad so bad it's like a charlie horse. So maybe I have quad and hamstring issues?

  12. Static stretching DOES work! It has done wonders for me and my training partners and we believe it is better than AIS, PNF and dynamic stretching to gain long standing flexibility and myofascial release.

  13. Thank you so much! it makes it easy to help the body when one understands what is happening inside and "the reasons why "

  14. Thank you! I still can't touch my toes, but doing that move at the end certainly got me closer! Going to do it every day until I can touch these darn toes!

  15. Great video! I have a couple of questions. First, I have pretty severe pain up high in BOTH of my hamstrings (where everything seems to connect) and it hurts pretty bad whenever I try to touch my toes or simply bend over. Will these exercises fix that? Next, I have pain in my "sit bones" when I sit down should I also use the ball in these areas too while extending my legs? Should I do these exercises before I walk or run? I know you said do the glute exercise first before activity but what about the other 2 exercises?. How often should I do these in my case, 1 or 2 times per day or just do once every other day and for how long? I got a lacrosse ball and tried the exercises real quick. Hurt but felt good at the same time. Do you think there is anything else I should be doing, should I still do static stretching Thank you in advance for you time and help

  16. Good tips! However, at age 64, I can put my bar on my squat rack above waist height, toss my leg up straight & locked, and can put my head down to my knee. I use the cage for doing ballerina type stretches. That plus stiff leg deadlifts. (knees locked ). That combo works fantastic!
    Having done some martial arts, I've seen absolute train wrecks loosen up after several months of stretching. ( and kicking, of course)

    You can loosen up the hamstrings via stretches, but seems people don't have the patience to stick it out. You have to overcome the stretch reflex, and that takes some time.
    Another good thing to do for tight hams, is prior to any activity, do dymamic stretches…. i.e. kick your leg straight up in front of you. Do sets of ten, one leg at a time. Start low, one leg behind, hands on hips. Try to work up to getting your quads to touch your chest. Very effective, especially when done first thing in the morning, as soon as you wake up.
    Always static stretch after a workout, and never before. The science is clear on that one. Dynamic stretches for warm ups….static stretches for cooling down.
    Stretching does work….. it just takes time & patience. Not many people my age (other than my black belt friends), have the flexibility I have. I swear by stiff leg deadlifts.
    They are safe to do, IF you have done the homework prior to executing them. This is prolly the best site around explaining the subtleties of this:

  17. The way I have done the PNF stretching with soccer players is to pair them up with one kneeling while the other puts one leg over the shoulder of the kneeling player. In a sequence the ‘stretching’ player presses down on the shoulder while the kneeler actively resists – this contracts the hams.
    Then after 5-8 seconds, the kneeler tries to stand up slowly while the stretcher resists – this contracts the quads.
    This sequence is repeated 2-3 times on each leg. It’s important that all players do things properly
    The question I’m asking is, in light of this brilliant explanation, have I been doing this wrong?
    I’d appreciate feedback

  18. I had this burning sentient from my bottom of my left feet all the way up to my bute,I've been seeing doctors and chiropractic with no results ,help me.

  19. Such great, informative, and factual info in this video. great for me while i'm researching corrective exercises for clients. thanks for the quality content, Dr. E.

  20. If static stretching didn't work then it wouldn't be so common. Every athlete before the mid 2000s when the internet allowed idiots to voice their opinion did static stretches. The studies "cite" here are bullshit and you only accept it because science is your be all.

  21. I just had acl surgery last year and now my knee is fine just that my left hamstring feels like it can tear anytime does it mean that its tight? I nvr had any hamstring injury before so idk whats the diff between hamstring strain, tight hamstring etc so idk which exercise i shld do

  22. You propose a question, and then explain concept before answering question. Terrible formula: loss of attention span, delayed gratification, and lengthy response.

    Try reverse, propose question, answer it, then explain afterwards.

  23. I like your explanation. I also like to combine your exercises with some of the other exercises that you mentioned that do not work well. I am sure just be themselves they do not do a good job. Like a lot of things in life, they need a compliment. Overall I like your approach. It makes a lot of sense.

  24. My 14 yrs young kid was unable to touch his toes while bending down. After doing this exercise he can reach and touch them easily. Great Video Eric. Keep it up!
    – Cheers⚾👍

  25. WOW!!!!!!!!!! This Changes EVERYTHING!!!! NOW I know how to FINALLY Fix my Hamstrings! i watched Dozens of Videos on this Topic … ONLY Eric gave me the Right Info! 🙂 THANKS!!!

  26. Hi! I love your vídeos, thanks for the great info. Can you tell me what to do to aliviate my runners knee pain??

  27. Thank you for this video very helpful. Can you please tell me how to relaxe or lose behind knee because I have tight behind knee due to surgery

  28. So what is safer, to stretch before workout? Or workout then finish with stretching? Or warm up, stretch, then workout?

  29. Just found this so good thanks so much I have really tight hamstrings will do these everyday new sub here.

  30. This was very informative, thank you. I've been doing static stretching for a long time but still can't touch my toes without difficulty. This answered why. Time to get more dynamic!

  31. Thank you Eric! Very informative! I have very thigh hamstrings, I will surely follow your recommendations and see if I get some extra mobility with my hamstrings. I have very limited mobility when I bend forward.

  32. I have been struggling with tight hamstrings and week quads.I have been out of work because of an ongoing knee problem. I have done this exercise with the leg raise from that position…I am seeing immediately release and I am excited about doing this on a daily basis…I look forward to sharing my results in a few weeks and see if I can get back to work…love the possibilities!!!!!!

  33. Thank you. Just learning the principle of "range of control" as opposed to "range of motion" was worth the price of admission. The rest bonus time. Excellent stuff.

  34. Great video. Love the amount of detail you put into the background information, very accessible. One trick I learned from a climbing trainer and loved ever since to fire up the glutes is to do the glute bridge while pulling one leg to your breast (try to hold a tennis ball between pecs and knee for example) and only push with the other. Totally takes the lower back out of the equation and activates the glutes.

  35. just pulled my hamstring two days ago was going hard in the gym, but now I am resting and been at home icing it, but I want to get back to hitting it hard, but I know that I got to strengthen my hamstrings they been giving me trouble for years since I pulled it playing rugby about 11 years ago.

  36. Hello there, I like your video, I am an athlete, and learned sports injury exercices in UK, I am qualified but unfortunately in France my degree in not valid. I am going to send your videos to my fellow athletes in Paris so that they know what to do with their tight hamstrings. thanks

  37. Tks Eric, my hamstrings started killing me this last year. Realize I am sitting to long at work,  Going to strengthen the butt muscles. I will watch your videos now.

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