Anyone battle tight hamstrings?
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  1. #1
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    Anyone battle tight hamstrings?

    I have a 9-5 desk job and other hobbies where I'm sitting to the point I've devloped tight hamstrings.

    I think if I get my saddle high enough to avoid irritating my anterior knee, it irritates my posterior knee and vice versa. I went to PT a few months ago and they suggested holding a hamstring stretch for 3-5 mins (yes MINUTES). When I do this, my hamstrings tingle for hours afterwards and sometimes hurt the next day. Maybe I'm stretching too deeply but wanted to see if anyone on RBR has successfully defeated knee pain inducing tight hamstrings.

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by thisisthebeave View Post
    I have a 9-5 desk job and other hobbies where I'm sitting to the point I've devloped tight hamstrings.

    I think if I get my saddle high enough to avoid irritating my anterior knee, it irritates my posterior knee and vice versa. I went to PT a few months ago and they suggested holding a hamstring stretch for 3-5 mins (yes MINUTES). When I do this, my hamstrings tingle for hours afterwards and sometimes hurt the next day. Maybe I'm stretching too deeply but wanted to see if anyone on RBR has successfully defeated knee pain inducing tight hamstrings.
    You ain't gonna, one day, decide to stretch and hold that stretch for 3 minutes. Make time throughout the day to stretch, in the morning, before a shower, before a ride, before bed. Spend a minute or two each time, holding the stretch as long as you're able and repeat. You'll get more limber and flexible, it'll just take a little effort and time.
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  3. #3
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    That's a long time to hold a stretch, I don't hold any stretches over 30 seconds.
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  4. #4
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    If you havent been stretching, start small, start slow, progress slowly. Doing relaxed stretching multiple times a day is a BLESSING!
    YOU will GET There!
    You're not going to fix anything in a stretch, day, week.... but you will feel better in a month.
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    We've got one of these at the gym I belong to. I've been using it for some time and have increased my hamstring flexibility but still have a long ways to go, I think https://www.technogym.com/us/posterior-flexability.html

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    Do any cyclists not have tight hamstrings?

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    Quote Originally Posted by PoorInRichfield View Post
    Do any cyclists not have tight hamstrings?
    I don't... I am pretty flexible. Sometimes I incorporate a bit of stretching into workouts, but typically I don’t bother... It doesn’t make much difference.
    To date, philosophers have merely interpreted the world in various ways. The point however is to change it.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by PoorInRichfield View Post
    Do any cyclists not have tight hamstrings?
    It's a combination of your natural physiology and your lifestyle. Some people are just more flexible than others, and some peopl have a way of living that keeps them limber. This can be other sports/activities they engage in, how they move when they need to get something off the ground, and whether they incorporate stretching in their daily routine. Think about what a cat does when they wake up - they stretch everything. For sure if you choose to let things tighten up, things will tighten up.

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    I remember a gazillion years ago when we had Presidential fitness tests in school, they'd do a flexibility test by making you reach your toes and measure how fast past your toes you could reach... of which I couldn't even get close to touching them (nor can I now). I'd hard to know if that's genetic or because I've been on a bicycle since forever (BMX as a kid, then road and mountain bikes). I've tried stretching, but I never seem to get any more limber. It doesn't help that I, like the OP, have a desk job and thus one more reason for my ham strings not to be stretched.

  10. #10
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    Tight hamstrings and the difficulty in properly stretching them is one of the most common but highly underrated flexibility problems with cyclist and some other athletes too.

    Between other muscles flexibility and strength that impact the hamstrings the proper way to solve the problem can be elusive.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by duriel View Post
    If you havent been stretching, start small, start slow, progress slowly. Doing relaxed stretching multiple times a day is a BLESSING!
    YOU will GET There!
    You're not going to fix anything in a stretch, day, week.... but you will feel better in a month.
    ^ This.

    Muscle tightness comes with age.

  12. #12
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    I really have to wonder what PT instructed you to start with 3-5 minute hamstring stretches. I have done PT for various issues and they have always started very conservatively.

    Slow and steady. Don't rush things.
    "With bicycles in particular, you need to separate between what's merely true and what's important."-- DCGriz, RBR.

    “Statistics are like bikinis. What they reveal is suggestive, but what they conceal is vital.” -- Aaron Levenstein



  13. #13
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    Definitely take your time and consider this an evolutionary process. Cycling shortens hamstrings, but if you stretch regularly and mix in some running you can stretch this muscle over time.

    And don't forget your calves, which if tight can affect hamstring tension. If I get to a point where everything is tight (sometimes happens from getting lazy about stretching twice a week) I'll wrap a belt around the ball of my foot and pull back -- stretches the calf more than other options, and gets the hamstrings ready for a better stretch.

    Stretching during or after a hot shower is very effective if you're really tight.

  14. #14
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    My last physical therapist said he had never seen such tight hamstrings. I've always had tight hamstrings, even with regular stretching. Usually an injury or significant life event will knock me off the stretching routine, and I'll get a not-so-gentle reminder to get back to it.

    Lots of good habits fall to the wayside like that.

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    Quote Originally Posted by velodog View Post
    You ain't gonna, one day, decide to stretch and hold that stretch for 3 minutes. Make time throughout the day to stretch, in the morning, before a shower, before a ride, before bed. Spend a minute or two each time, holding the stretch as long as you're able and repeat. You'll get more limber and flexible, it'll just take a little effort and time.
    I agree. I stretched my hamstrings when I am in the shower, when I am work, pretty much anytime I feel like it.

    OP, you need to start standing more while at your desk working. Get the job to pay for one of those Versadesk.

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    I've been having a lot of lower back pain for over a year and have been doing research on how to get rid of the pain w/o surgery. In my research, one thing I've found is that Americans (including myself) typically bend-over incorrectly. Instead of bending at the hips, we arch our backs, putting a lot of stress on the spine. One reason why I think I typically bend my back instead of at my hips is that tight hamstrings make it harder to bend at the hips.

    Here's a good article illustrating the problem:

    Lost Art Of Bending Over: How Other Cultures Spare Their Spines

    Here is the interesting part, pertaining to tight hamstrings...

    Bending at the hip takes the pressure off the back muscles," says Liza Shapiro, who studies primate locomotion at the University of Texas, Austin. "Instead, you engage your hamstring muscles."

    And by "engage the hamstrings," she also means stretching them.

    "Oh yes! In order to hip hinge properly, your hamstrings have to lengthen," Shapiro says. "If you have tight hamstrings, they prevent you from bending over easily in that way."
    From the article, the proper way to bend (notice her super-flat back and bending at the hips)...



    I've been doing all sorts of core exercises to strengthen my back, but I find it very hard to bend at the hips due to tight hamstrings.

    Although I'm not really into yoga, I've been trying to do the "downward dog" pose... and when I see myself in the mirror, I look really sad. I can't get anywhere near the 90 degree bend that seems to represent the pose. My lower back is arched and my knees are bent because everything is so tight.



    Soooo... like it or not, my goal is to get more flexible *someday*.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by PoorInRichfield View Post
    I've been having a lot of lower back pain for over a year and have been doing research on how to get rid of the pain w/o surgery. In my research, one thing I've found is that Americans (including myself) typically bend-over incorrectly. Instead of bending at the hips, we arch our backs, putting a lot of stress on the spine. One reason why I think I typically bend my back instead of at my hips is that tight hamstrings make it harder to bend at the hips.

    Here's a good article illustrating the problem:

    Lost Art Of Bending Over: How Other Cultures Spare Their Spines

    Here is the interesting part, pertaining to tight hamstrings...



    From the article, the proper way to bend (notice her super-flat back and bending at the hips)...



    I've been doing all sorts of core exercises to strengthen my back, but I find it very hard to bend at the hips due to tight hamstrings.

    Although I'm not really into yoga, I've been trying to do the "downward dog" pose... and when I see myself in the mirror, I look really sad. I can't get anywhere near the 90 degree bend that seems to represent the pose. My lower back is arched and my knees are bent because everything is so tight.



    Soooo... like it or not, my goal is to get more flexible *someday*.
    I had PT for some back issues last year. They taught me a way to practice proper bending is to rest a straight pole parallel to your spine and practice bending over so your spine remains straight with the pole. You don't want any curviature!
    "With bicycles in particular, you need to separate between what's merely true and what's important."-- DCGriz, RBR.

    “Statistics are like bikinis. What they reveal is suggestive, but what they conceal is vital.” -- Aaron Levenstein



  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lombard View Post
    You don't want any curviature!
    I wish someone would've told me this some 30+ years ago I'd be willing to bet if I did a survey of people on the street as to the proper way to bend, nearly no one would get the answer right (unless they've already been through PT.)

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by PoorInRichfield View Post
    I wish someone would've told me this some 30+ years ago I'd be willing to bet if I did a survey of people on the street as to the proper way to bend, nearly no one would get the answer right (unless they've already been through PT.)
    It's pretty well known to lift with your legs, not your back.

    What sent me to PT was some crack pot advice I got to improve flexibilty by bending over in a chair and putting hands flat on the floor. Back curvature like this is a definite no-no. Kiddies, don't do this!
    "With bicycles in particular, you need to separate between what's merely true and what's important."-- DCGriz, RBR.

    “Statistics are like bikinis. What they reveal is suggestive, but what they conceal is vital.” -- Aaron Levenstein



  20. #20
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    Get a TriggerPoint Grid X Foam Roller. It should help relieve the tightness without the risk of injury from over-stretching.

  21. #21
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    There are dozens of reasons why a person may have hamstrings. Those dozen plus reasons will have dramatically different exercises and significantly diverse targeted areas to "treat" to relieve "tight" hamstrings.

    To put in functional terms the many different suggestions here can ALL be good for targeting some of the areas or reasons causing tightness. The negative side is by definition most of them are wrong unless they are accurately targeting what is YOUR specific problem for tight hamstrings.

    One BIG always right suggestion on stretching: Do your stretching when your entire body is fully warmed up.

    Good luck to you.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by M-theory View Post
    Get a TriggerPoint Grid X Foam Roller. It should help relieve the tightness without the risk of injury from over-stretching.
    I think part of what I had been battling all this time is pain from over stretching.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by thisisthebeave View Post
    I think part of what I had been battling all this time is pain from over stretching.
    Yeah, you might be over doing it...

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lombard View Post
    I had PT for some back issues last year. They taught me a way to practice proper bending is to rest a straight pole parallel to your spine and practice bending over so your spine remains straight with the pole. You don't want any curviature!
    Another good exercise for the lower back and hamstring is the "good morning" exercise. This exercise will definitely strengthen the lower back and stretch the hamstring.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vKPGe8zb2S4

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by thisisthebeave View Post
    Maybe I'm stretching too deeply but wanted to see if anyone on RBR has successfully defeated knee pain inducing tight hamstrings.
    No, no one has. How to plan to induce tight hamstrings?

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