Foam Rolling Hamstrings

foam-rolling1Running has created a monster in my left leg. My hamstrings have taken on a life of their own and are tighter than I ever imagined they could be, causing soreness at the knee. I’ve been stretching and using a foam roller to find the optimal method to keep these tigers under control. Here’s what I found:

The best way to access the attachments of the three hamstrings (the muscles in the back of your thigh which converge and attach to the pelvis just under your butt), is to sit on the floor with one leg bent to the side (as in a hurdle stretch) and the other leg straight out in front of you. Put one end of the roller under the straightened leg where it meets the buttock and sit on it. Make sure you are sitting on the top of your leg and not the buttock. This allows you to sink deeply into the attachment site without interference from the other leg. Just sitting on this point will work wonders — it will loosen things all the way down to the knee.

You can roll slowly down the length of the thigh, adjusting your lean forward and the foam roller as needed. When you get to the belly of the muscle (about half way down) you will likely have to adjust your position and use your other leg to brace you a bit. Make several passes down the leg to get all three hamstrings. Leaning in toward the center will get to the most medial (inside) — and difficult to reach — of the three muscles.

2-foam-rolling1I’ve found that, as long as I’m running, doing this at least once a day, along with stretching, has tamed the tightness, and alleviated the knee discomfort. It’s true, active people have to stretch more than non- active people. Sigh.