Home HealthTopics Health Centers Reference Library Research
Join us on Facebook Join us on Facebook Share on Facebook

Exercise and Fitness

Hamstring stretch problems...



How do I improve my hamstring flexibility?

Whenever I try to stretch them, I get a large amount of pain from behind my knee, down through my calf, and into my heel. The pain is similar in feeling to what happens if I do the stop hand gesture in front of me, and try to bring my arms out to the side.

It stops me before I can feel any kind of stretch in my hamstrings, and I didn`t notice any change in flexibility after going to the limit every day for a month.


The key to stretching is to not over do it! The goal is to gain flexibility without causing injury. The correct way to stretch is in small increments, and slowly increase your range of motion. Your body will tell you when you have hit a new level of resistance. Be sure your leg muscles are warmed up at least 5 minutes prior to stretching. If you push yourself too far too fast, you risk serious injury.

Here is an example of a hamstring stretch to try:

Lay flat on your back.

Bend one leg up and put your hands behind that thigh. Position your thigh so it is perpendicular with the floor.

Straighten your leg until a stretch is felt in the back of your thigh. If you bend your toes up, you will also feel a stretch into your calf.

To make the stretch greater, pull your thigh to your chest.

Hold 20-30 seconds, repeat this hamstring exercise 3 times twice daily. Repeat on the other side.

Discontinue if pain increases and stays worse longer than 1-2 hours. If your pain increases into your thigh or lower leg, discontinue this stretch and consult your health care professional.

For more information:

Go to the Exercise and Fitness health topic, where you can:

Response by:

Rachael   Dotson, BS Rachael Dotson, BS
Program Manager
Certified Johnny G Spinning Instructor
Fitness Center at CARE\Crawley
University of Cincinnati