Tight Hamstrings? You're Just Weak.
One of the things we often see with new clients is complaints of tight hamstrings.
However, often times what we really end up observing is the hamstrings themselves aren’t tight at all.
Instead, the client is pulled into an extension pattern with overworked hip flexors and back extensors.
The hamstrings aren’t tight, the pelvis is pulled forward which is putting the hamstring in a lengthened position.
It feels tight, but it is in fact actually the opposite! And by further stretching the hamstring you are simply exacerbating the problem.
Instead, these clients need to learn to start using their hamstrings, abs, and glutes to stabilize their body instead of the back and hip flexors.
Long story short, we need to strengthen your hamstrings.
What Position Is A Good Position?
Before we strengthen your hamstrings we need to help you “find them”. This process starts first by understanding a neutral pelvic position, which is properly achieved through contributions from the glutes, hamstrings, and abdominals.
A neutral pelvis position simply means one that is within a neutral range and not excessively oriented into an anterior or posterior position.
When you lose a neutral position, you lose your frontal and transverse plane stability. This is why you see people rotating, or more commonly shifting to one side, under a heavy squat (typically shifting into right hip).
They lack the ability to shift their hip back over the femur which is known as AFIR, or acetabular femoral internal rotation.
To achieve this, we need to first learn to stabilize the pelvis in the frontal plane with our abs and hamstrings.
I like to start people in a supine 90/90 position for this as it provides tactile feedback and is relatively hard to mess up. In this position, we are using the medial hamstrings and abdominals to pull the pelvis back posteriorly. This sets the pelvis in a neutral position which is ideal for creating power and stability, as well as eliminating compensatory patterns such as extension.
From here, we progress the positions while maintaining these fundamental concepts. My typical progression from supine is bear position, then tall kneeling, then half kneeling, then split stance, and then finally standing bilaterally.
This is such an important concept that will be applicable to every fundamental movement pattern that you will encounter in training. Once you master it, you will unlock a whole other level of movement and control over your own body.
If you’re interested in how to apply these concepts and need more in person help, send me an email or book an assessment with me at Arkitect Fitness in Concord New Hampshire.