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Tight Hamstrings


Vixen
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More yoga! That is what I had to do. It took a good month of dedicated yoga classes (twice a week) to start to like yoga. I knew I had to because I was getting tighter and tighter, not just in the hamstrings but in the shoulder girdle as well.

I now also do alot of stretching (forward bends and Hero pose) while I am doing my leg workout. At home I also love to do pigeon pose to loosen up the hip joint and stack my shins on top of one another for the firestack pose (since getting into lotus pose is out of the question with my big thigh muscles-but I will keep trying ) to get a good gluteus stretch.

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I think yoga is great for gaining flexability but its a slow process...I just don't think yoga gets your muscles hot enough to really do intense stretching if you wanna get flexible ASAP...you've gotta run or do something else to get flexible first

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Potter, have you tried any of the hot yoga styles? After five sun salutation A, and only three of B, in a 90 degree room has me more than hot enough to stretch. I am one of those that needs a towel on the mat to keep from slipping all over the place from my sweat dripping off my nose and other parts! And when you are that hot, it is true, you can melt into any pose. Vinyasas are sometimes too fast for me, as is ashtanga, but I have fallen love with Anusara Yoga, at level 2. It is fast enough for me, but slow enough so I can get alignment in the execution of the pose.

Running may get you hot, or the blood flowing, but it puts your hamstrings in a contracted state, not a flexible one.

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vixen,

i used to have tight hamstrings as well. i was embarassed that i couldn't touch my toes without feeling a great strain. i got over it by doing a forward bend for 30 seconds at least once a day EVERYDAY. it was real easy to remember because i would stretch after washing my face and actually dry it with a towel while i was bent over.

 

there is a specific science to stretching. don't try and push yourself to the limit. you need to stretch to the point at which the onset of pain begins to surface. it shouldn't hurt. take slow, long breaths. as you exhale, go a little deeper into the stretch. i have done this for over 4 years or so and now i can go almost completely vertical. good luck.

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I agree with wannalift and I would add one thing - we are all constructed very differently. For example, I've always been flexible, while my brother, who's roughly the same size/build as me, is really tight. So while it's certainly possible to change your nature by proper stretching, it might be harder for you with your hammies than it would be for someone like me. But if you use that fact as motivation, then it will make your progress that much more satisfying.

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I've wanted to try hot yoga but haven't had the chance...maybe over my winter break I might...I won't have my bike with me so it'll be nice to switch things up a bit but I don't know if my GF will be able to stand taking one of those classes since she really likes the cold

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Definitely more yoga! Really breathe into those hamstrings and let them go. I also have relatively tight hamstrings. I did a training this past weekend for Thai Yoga Massage and it was AMAZING. If you can afford to have it done, TRY IT! I'm getting a full massage on Sunday and it loosens you up like NOTHING ELSE!!! I can't endorse it enough!

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A hot bath, plain and simple. Epsom salt helps too (adding it to the water).

 

Epsom salt is awesome, I recommend to my massage clients all the time. It's magnesium sulfate, which I've read helps to reduce muscle contractions by inhibiting the neurotransmitter acetylcholine. (I try not to recommend something without being prepared to answer the "Why" questions - search google for lots of neat info about epsom salt.)

 

Use generously - most people don't put nearly enough salt in the tub.

 

I've heard that Thai massage Nicole mentioned is fantastic for flexibility. I haven't learned it yet, but it's definitely on my to-do list. If you don't find a massage therapist that does Thai, then your next best bet is to look for someone who is trained in orthopedic (sometimes called "medical") massage and/or some form of assisted stretching and ask for that.

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  • 4 months later...

have just started bikram yoga which is a hot yoga... finding it amazing... have horrendously tight hamstrings, they are holding me back in getting to full splits... almost there but not quite... am more than willing to put in time and energy in yoga to get them there though as already i am loosening up. you don't get anything without hard work!

 

that said, i am also going to try out some biosync treatments and see how they go.

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Be careful with Bikram yoga! I also teach a hot style of yoga and beginners often don't realize the huge impact that the heat has on your flexibility and overstretch to the point of injury. I've seen this more from the Bikram studio than anywhere else, so it's worth being aware of!

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