You’re not alone. Tight hamstrings are as common as having to wear glasses, but you can do something about it. Stretching regularly actually does make them more flexible, and this sequence is all you need. As a bonus, it’ll target the muscles in the lower back and hips as well. Complete this sequence once with the right leg and then again with the left.
- Begin sitting on the floor with the legs out wide.
- With straight legs and a straight back, slowly hinge at the hips, reaching out with the chest to prevent the spine from rounding.
- Rest your hands on your thighs or on the floor.
- Only fold as far as you can with straight legs and hold here for five breaths (about 30 seconds).
- Take this pose a little deeper by reaching your hands down the legs.
- Make sure to keep the legs straight and rest the hands on the thighs, knees, shins, or if you can, reach for the big toes.
- With shoulders relaxed, breathe deeply for five breaths, using the ab muscles to pull the torso closer to the floor.
1-Legged Seated Straddle
- While in the seated straddle position, walk the hands over to the right leg.
- Try to bring each shoulder on either side of the thigh.
- Rest the hands on the floor or on the leg.
- After five breaths, walk your hands over to the left leg for another five breaths.
- Bend the knees and bring the soles of the feet together.
- Rest your hands on the feet, or to deepen the stretch, bring the hands underneath the calves and use your upper body to pull the torso and head toward the floor.
- Enjoy this hip stretch for five breaths.
Seated Forward Bend Relaxed
- Extend the legs out in front of you.
- With the legs and back straight, hinge at the hips, walking the hands toward the feet either sliding them down the legs or on the floor on either side of the legs.
- Actively draw the shoulders back and down away from the ears.
- Enjoy this stretch for five breaths.