A few posts ago, I gave examples of exercises to ease hamstring “tightness”. I mentioned that I would talk about why it feels tight in a later post. Well here it is.
When your hamstrings feel tight, it’s not just about the feeling of tightness that’s annoying. You know you're missing something. You don’t feel like you’re performing as well.
It feels like you could have had a better run.
You also tried stretching for a while and it didn’t help that much. Or it helped for a bit then it went back to what it was before.
Most runners and cyclists I’ve seen don’t have the poor flexibility they feel. I know they aren’t lying about what they feel, but I’m not going to give them stretches when it won’t work. The feeling of tightness is the body communicating that something’s off and there may be an injury in the future.
The feeling of stretched hamstrings means you’re in a stretched position. You’ll see this in a very arched back. Stretched muscles will still want to contribute when it can. Like most muscles, the hamstrings will try to work in this stretched position. While muscles should be able to work in many different lengths, they aren’t constantly trying to work in stretched positions. This means the muscle has to work a bit harder the more stretched it is.
I don’t know about you, but I would be tired faster if I had to work a bit extra for no reason.
The most common hamstring injuries I’ve seen were strains. I have found that if you sprint you’ll have the most sudden strains and will likely stop because it hurts. While if you’re a long distance runner, it can easily be ignored until it becomes a nagging pain that stays for a while.
While the hamstrings feel like they are the problem, they are just the signal to tell you something isn’t right. If you find and work on the real cause, not only have you lowered your chances of getting injured but you’ll also perform better. Awesome right?!
The best place to start releasing the feeling of tension is to start with the exercises from the last hamstring tension post (same one mentioned above). If you’ve mastered the exercises from the blog post and want to progress on your performance you can contact us at Owen Performance to see how we could help you with your next step.