Hamstring and Calf Flexibility and Mobility : Simple Exercises to do at Home

Updated: 
Apr 26 2020
Hamstring Exercises for Moblity and Flexibility
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Hamstring and Calves Mobility Exercises Home Workout

Video Transcript

OK, this is the hamstring and calf restore program. You need a little step for this to grab a chair, something that's a little raised up, not too high let's say kind of knee height. First of all without the step we're push the hips backwards and lean forwards as far as you can without losing the curve in your back. So keep coming. Once you reach the end range we're going to come back and forward from the end range 10 times. So come up and down one, two, should be able to go a little bit further each time, three, four, five six, seven, eight, nine, one more, ten.

Change legs, so feet shoulders apart, with a little step forward, so just like a walking stride. Legs locked out, chest up, hips nice and straight, come down as far as you can. Okay down and up to there ten times, one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, one more, Ten. Okay moving on to the step, we're going to put our heel on the step, feet still shoulders apart, you feel yourself off-balance, just take a little bit of a wider step. Knee is bent, just very slightly bent, toe is pointing down.

Okay, with the knees bent we're going to get the muscle belly of the hamstring rather than the fascia, we're going to get to the fascia afterwards. So let's go, chest up get the arch in your back again. Keep the arch to your back and lean forward as far as you can and hold. We're going to hold for 30 seconds. Remember to breathe, keep the back toe turned in or straight, don't let it creep outwards. Keep holding the stretch. Fifteen more seconds. Okay, change sides.

So left leg up, feet shoulder-width apart and knees slightly bent, toe pointing downwards. Arch your back. Hips are square, facing forwards and lean, keeping the arch in your back. So try not to fold here. If you can only go a little bit, that's fine. Just keep the arch in your back and hold and feel for the hamstring stretch. If you go a little
bit further whilst keeping the arch in, great. Hold. 30 seconds. Keep breathing. Keep increasing the stretch on the hamstring. Ten more seconds. Okay, down.

This time the leg is straight, So back to the right leg on. The legs locked out, so squeeze your quad. That allows your hamstring to relax. Bring your toe towards your shin, and hold. Now try and find the stretch from the back. So chest up, arching your back, lean forward far as you can until you find the stretch and hold it in the back of the knee, the back of hamstring, keeping the toe up towards the shin the whole time. 30-second hold. Nice and long back, arched not rounded. I'm a bit tight here. I can feel it, so I'm going to really going to work on keeping this arch Keep breathing. Okay, change sides.

So, left leg up, knee locked out, squeeze in the quad, toe up towards the shin. Back they locked out, lean forward until you find the stretch, and hold. Remember, the back toe has to stay straight or tucked inwards don't let it turn out. Hips nice and straight, arching the back Okay, shake them off.

We're going to go back to the first stretch we did. So right leg forward, feet shoulder-width apart, arch back, legs locked, out I'm going to come down to a full stretch but this time I'm going to hold for 30 seconds instead of the reps. So as far as you can, whilst keeping the arch to you back, and hold. Last five seconds, four, three, two, one, good.

Change, left foot forward, legs locked out, come down, find the stretch and hold. Ten seconds. Come up, good job and we'll shake off. Back to the step now. We're going to go right foot on, feet shoulder-width apart, back to in, toe up to the shin, leg locked out. Okay. Posture, find the stretch, Okay, now push the toe down, find even more stretch, now fix this position. Now what you're going to do is bring the toe to your shin five times. One, two , three, feel a big pull for five.

Change, left leg up, toe pointed down, leg locked out, leaning forward until you find the stretch in the hamstring. This front leg here. Then pull the toe up for one and down. So up and down two, three, four, five, we're done. Back to the right leg. Toe up to the shin now. Leg locked out. Find the stretch.

Now rotate the whole leg all the way out so the toes staying up towards the shin and poking outwards and then inwards, one , two, rotate your leg as much as you can, three, keeping the stretch, four, five. Change legs Okay, left leg up. Toe up towards the shin. Find the stretch. Turn it all the way outwards, and all the way inwards one, out, toe up towards the shin, two, keep the stretch, three, the back leg locked out, four and five.

Okay last one. Feet shoulder-width apart you're going to go down and grab your ankles, keeping your chest on to the quads. Okay so can squat your legs, chest touching the quads the whole time, grab your ankles. Now you're going to push up with your hips five times. Okay so, one, keep your chest touching your quads, two, head tucked down, three, four and on this well we're gonna hold for ten seconds. Ten, keep pushing your hips up, seven, six , five, four, three, two ,one. Good job.

Okay. Next up. Calves mobility. So we're gonna go into a calf stretch. So from this position, touch the ground, keep your legs locked out, and walk them out with the heels touching the ground until you get a big calf stretch. Okay, and hold. Drive your heels to the ground, keep your legs locked out, push your head down towards your legs. If you can't feel the stretch, either bring them out a little bit further, or go to a single leg crossing the other leg over the back of the calf. And then change sides.

And again, don't let the toe point outwards, nice and straight or even tucked in a little bit. Okay, next up. On to your knees. Put your left leg forwards, okay so you're left leg is up we're going to put the middle of your chest on the middle of this leg. So it's carrying all my weight now. Come up onto your toe a little bit so the heel is off the ground slightly. Chest over, all the way onto the leg. Now bring this knee round to the side just for a bit balance. It's very lightly touching the floor.

Okay and I'll be able to start to now push my heel into the ground and stretch to the back of my Achilles. Let's hold this position. For more pressure, you can put it on here, you can lift weight off of this leg, shift all the weight down, driving the heel down and hold. The longer you hold this, you feel your calf start to release, you feel the heel being able to push down a little bit harder and the stretching behind the ankle.

Change. Right leg forwards, chest over the middle of the knee. Bring this knee round. Hold here, drive the heel down, and hold. Okay one more time. So standing up, come down , touch the ground, walk back until
you find the calf stretch. Legs locked out and hold. Good job.

Okay, and back to ankle stretch. Left leg forward chest over the middle of the knee, bring this right leg around so all the pressure is on here. Okay, it should almost feel like I could squat up from this leg alone. Pressing the heel down, press the knee forward, use the ground for support if you need it. With the knee, let it go in the line with the toes, we're pushing out slightly, don't let it drop in too much. Change. Okay, and relax.

Hamstring Mobility and Flexibility

The group of muscles belonging to the posterior upper part of the thigh are called Hamstrings. There are four muscles that lie in this category namely Biceps Femoris, Semimembranosus, Semitendinosus and also effecting that area the hamstring part of Adductor Magnus. 

Three of the muscles have their origin at the hip bone while the semitendinosus has it on the femur. They are long slender muscles that extend to the entire length of the posterior thigh inserting themselves on different parts of the bones underlying them. These seemingly diaphanous muscles are of paramount importance when it comes to maintaining a proper body posture.

Joint Mobility Caused By Hamstrings

Mobility is fundamentally the inherently determined ability of the muscles to move in certain directions based on their point of origin and insertions.

As the origins and insertions of the Hamstrings are on the hip and knee bones respectively, therefore it is evident that these muscles are involved in the mobility of the Hip Joint and Knee Joint; both of which are the Synovial type of joints. Synovial joints are classed as a joint filled with synovial fluid.

At the Hip Joint (ball and socket joint), these muscles act, when the command from the nervous system comes, to extend the thigh.

At the Knee Joint (hinge joint), these muscles have the function of flexion of the knee along with the medial (inward) rotation of the leg.

Muscles are that organ of the body which when underused for a long period of time undergo a process known as atrophy or wastage.

So, in order to maintain proper muscle and joint mobility, it is imperative to keep using muscles through exercise or proper movement. Hip and Knee mobility in people who have jobs with prolonged sitting time is seriously affected because of insufficient use of these muscles.

15 Minute Hamstring Flexibility Routine (FOLLOW ALONG)

How To Maintain Your Hamstring Mobility?

As Hamstring Muscles are one of the most prominent components of a proper body movement, it is integral to impress upon the importance of exercises that ensure unmitigated health, strength and mobility of the hamstrings.

Exercises as simple as walking (briskly), running, jogging and even climbing up the stairs can help you maintain your Hamstring Mobility.

Hamstring Muscles work antagonistically to the Quadricep Muscles (the anterior thigh muscles); therefore, exercises like Cycling, which strengthen your Quadriceps, should be combined with exercises that particularly aim to build-up Hamstrings in order to have balanced front and back thigh power.

Due to poor hamstring mobility, the Hamstring Muscles can feel really tight resulting in the lower back, hip, and knee soreness, further diminishing your power to move. The pelvis (hip) is crucial in maintaining almost the entire body movement. It is literally the center of the Human Body, so maintaining proper conditioning of the muscles involved in pelvic movements is vital.

Hamstring Stretch Exercises to Improve Hamstring Flexiility and Mobility

Here are some of the essential exercises to maintain and even build your Hamstring Power and Mobility:

Stretch Exercises to Improve Hamstring Mobility

  1. By Sitting Down

  • Sit down on the floor and with you back straight and legs completely extended

  • Bring your arms forward by bending as much as possible; don’t forget to keep your legs straight

  • Hold this for some seconds and repeat, at least, thrice.

  1. By Standing Up

  • Keep your legs entirely straight and then bring your upper body downwards to as much extent as possible without bending your legs at the knee joint

  • Keep your legs crossed with one another for stability

  • Maintain this posture for 15-30 seconds for 3-5 times.  

  1. By using a Towel

  • Sit straight on the floor with totally extended legs

  • Then pull one of your legs upward to the extent of your heart with the help of a towel by making a loop of it and holding its sides from each hand

  • You will feel a stretch at the hamstring part of your thigh

  • Keep it like this for some seconds for 3  to 4 times

  • Repeat with the other leg as well.

What is Hamstring Flexibility & How is it different from Hamstring Mobility?

Mobility and Flexibility are two completely different characteristics of a muscle. Mobility, as described above, is the extent of movement of a muscle; Flexibility,on the other hand, is the maximum capacity of the muscle to which it can stretch when moved.

Hamstring Flexibility is the ultimate degree to which we can extend our leg at the hip joint and flex at the knee joint.

For people who are active in sports, love to build Muscle Flexibility and athletes should try to enhance the Hamstring Flexibility to the maximum extent because Hamstring Muscles are especially disposed to tearing and injuries in these people. When Hamstring Muscles have attained proper flexibility, there are less likely to be injured with diverse movement.

The fact that Hamstring flexibility is so important to maintain is because by enhancing the flexibility of the hamstring muscles we are actually strengthening the synovial joints at the hip and knee which require a rich blood supply. It is through the full range of movement that proper nourishment is received by these joints.

Because of a predilection to sedentary life-styles, the prevalence of Hamstring Tightness, even in young people, is quite high these days, so exercises to reinforce muscle Mobility and Flexibility are of utmost importance.

Below-mentioned are some of the exercises that will help you boost your Hamstring flexibility to its fullest:

Primarily, you need to warm-up your Hamstrings by the already explained stretch exercises. The exercises involved in increasing Hamstring Flexibility will include the kind of movements that will extend your hips, flex your knee or even both actions simultaneously.

7 Exercises to Improve Hip + Hamstring Mobility

Exercises to Improve Hamstring Mobility

  1. Dead Lifts (Romanian)

  • Stand firm on the ground and bend downwards to pick up the barbell from the ground from its steel rod

  • Make sure to keep your back straight and pulled forward from the chest

  • Keep the barbell closely adherent to your legs

  • Keep knees slightly bent to keep them safe from dangerous stretches.

  1. Kettlebell swings

  • Place your kettlebell approximately 0.5 meters away from you and then bend downward with a bent knee and legs shoulder-width apart

  • Keep your chest protruded, pick up the kettlebell and wing it through the distance between your legs

  • Slide-out the kettlebell from within your legs and gradually move up both your body and the kettlebell while forcefully contracting your hamstrings and hip muscles

  • Bring forward the kettlebell to the level of your chest and repeat after a 5-10 seconds break.

  1. Sliding Leg Curls

  • Lie down straight on the floor with a pair of sliders to put underneath your feet

  • Bring your lower-legs towards your hips with the help of the sliders along with raising your hip

  • Lower back on the floor and slide your feet back to make your legs come to the ground level.

There are innumerable exercises and workouts that you can perform to increase your flexibility, but it is necessary to gradually increase the intensity of your exercises so that muscles get ample amount of time to produce more muscle fibers to sustain heavy exercises.

Remember that when your muscles are continuously being used, but their mobility isn’t in their complete range, then over time, such muscles also start to weaken and cause pain (Myalgias).

Other Advice Maintaining Good Hamstring Health

It is only when you are healthy that you are living life to its fullest and to have a healthy life, it is critical to have Muscles that are strong.  To have healthy muscles, you require an optimum level of protein uptake along with other nutrients and a full range of exercises. Spending at least 30 minutes a day on mobilizing your muscles is something that everyone must do.

Also, if you feel that your hamstrings feel too tight to be true and nothing is helping to ease them, you must visit a physiotherapist so you can get proper treatment. Muscle pain is usually not anything incurable but leaving a muscle that’s sore for a long time needs to be properly looked after with physiotherapy and medication.

Regular massage plus Epsom salt baths can also help with soreness, but the main things you want to emphasize are regular exercise, mobility and stretching.

Exercise can help or hinder your results dependent on how you do it, if you choose to use traditional bodybuilding type exercises you may find an increase in muscle soreness and shortening. For this you have to keep the volume low, stretch in between sets and ensure full range of motion with each exercise.

Opt for exercises that help the balance of your hips and strengthen stabilizer muscles such as the gluteal group, these exercises can also be called ‘glute activiation’ exercises.

The body is a chain reaction of movement that works synergistically with other muscles so your weaknesses in other areas can affect the flexibility of your hamstrings as well as nutrition and stress.

Beginner Hamstring Flexibility Routine

Beginner Hamstring Flexibility Routine

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