Stretching exercises for a pulled hamstring

Written by mike biscoe
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Stretching exercises for a pulled hamstring
Properly stretch your pulled hamstring and you may return to training sooner. (running image by Byron Moore from

A pulled hamstring is a strain of one of three muscles that run along the back of the leg between the knee and buttocks. Hamstring injuries often occur when running downhill or on banked areas where muscles overcompensate to maintain a balanced stride. Flat-footed runners and over-pronators are also susceptible to pulled hamstrings. Though severe hamstring injuries merit a trip to a doctor, those with less serious injuries can start regular exercises to aid in recovery.

Locust pose

This exercise is a good choice when your pulled hamstring is really tight because the mechanics make overexertion unlikely. Begin by lying on your stomach. Position your legs a few inches apart so that the top of your feet are touching the ground. Reach your arms forward and shoulder width apart so they are fully extended. As you inhale, slowly contract your glutes while pressing your pelvis downward. Simultaneously lift your arms and legs off the ground a few inches. Lengthen your body by reaching forward with the arms and backward with the feet. Retain this position for 30 seconds. Do three repetitions.

Seated hamstring stretch

The seated hamstring stretch may alleviate pain from hamstring muscles as well as patellar tendinitis. Sit on the ground and extend your injured leg in front of you so it rests flat on the ground and your toes are pointing upward. Bend your opposite leg and place the sole of the foot against the inside, upper thigh of the injured leg. Gently lean forward by bending at the waist only--don't curve your spine. Use your arms to support yourself. Hold this position for 30 seconds. Do four repetitions.

One-legged supine stretch

You will need a belt for this stretch, which is a good choice for a pulled hamstring because it places no stress on the back, and your hamstrings will relax more. Lie on your back and grab one end of the belt in each hand. Keep your left leg on the ground in an extended but relaxed position. Lift your right leg vertically with the knee bent and loop the belt over the arch of the right foot. As you exhale, slowly extend the right leg until you feel the stretch but not so much that you're straining or uncomfortable. Hold this position for 30 seconds.

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