Tim Hayes Lifestyle Fitness

Tight Hamstrings Complaints And Solutions

I have found tight hamstrings to be a common complaint with a lot of my clients.
The hamstrings are a group of three muscles at the back of the thigh. They go from the pelvis at the top of the leg down to either side of the knee – two to the inside and one to the outside.

tight hamstrings graphic
Image credit – www.gpsmelbourne.org

The main functions that they are involved in are bending the knee and also extending the whole leg backwards. They help you to accelerate when running and often get injured in sprinting activities or sports requiring fast changes of pace and direction e.g. football.

They also have a role in posture as they attach to the pelvis they help to keep the pelvis level by working with other muscles attaching to the front and back of the pelvis from the legs, back and abdominal area.

Compression of the sciatic nerve

The hamstrings receive their nerve supply from the sciatic nerve which originates in the lower back and travels through the gluteal area into the hamstrings, and from there down into the calf and shin. If the sciatic nerve is aggravated it can cause the hamstring to tighten up. For this reason sometimes stretching out the back and the gluteals can free up the hamstrings significantly.

Posture and tight hip flexors

Pain and ache in the hamstrings can also be due to an imbalance in the muscles around the hamstring. Tight hip flexors can tilt the pelvis forward, pulling the sit bones upwards and as a result put the hamstrings on a continuous stretch leading to an aching feeling when it is exercised.

The hip flexors can be very dominant, and tighten up when seated for long periods, during sports requiring high leg lifts such as kick boxing and sprinting, or sports requiring a flexed posture e.g. hockey or cycling.

Tight muscles in the lower back also help to tilt the pelvis forward. This create a deeper than normal curve in the lower back. This posture is also associated with weaker abdominals. Stretching the hip flexors and the lower back is important to help the pelvis to be correctly aligned and to take pressure of the hamstrings.

Weak gluteus maximus

The hamstrings work with the gluteus maximus – the largest of your gluteal muscles – to extend your leg behind you. If your gluteus maximus is weak it can cause the hamstrings to over work.

If somebody says to you my hamstrings are tight we often have to look around the problem, this goes to any muscle as most of the time it is the joint which is not free which causes the muscle to be restricted which can cause aches or pains. There are many more reasons why your hamstrings could be tight however this article underlines the main probabilities.

Some solutions to these problems

If you are looking for some tips to improve your tight Hamstrings, we recommend the articles below:

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