Here are a few exercises to kick your hamstrings into gear!
A great warm-up is Pelvic Bridging. Start lying on you back with bent knees, feet in line with your sits bone. Find a nice, long, connected torso. In one movement, lift your pelvis off of the floor, towards the ceiling. Find the four corners of your feet, length through your back and try to stand with the tops of your hamstrings, right beneath your gluteal fold. To come down, soften your chest and try to sequence down, one vertebra at a time. Repeat 4-10 times!
Need to kick it up a notch? Bridge on the ball! The ball adds a big ol' stability challenge and makes the rest of your body work harder. Here Julia demonstrates turned-out straight-leg bridging on the physio ball! Try parallel and turned out for variety, but also pay attention to what feels best for your hips and back!
Challenge your pelvic stability with Swimming Legs (AKA Leg Pull Front). Lie face down with your legs extended long underneath you. Connect to your breathing, your abdominals, and find supported elongation in your torso. Without shifting your hips, reach long through your right leg until it is all the way straight and you can feel the top of your hamstring working. Lift the leg slightly off of the floor from the top of your hamstring, not allowing your pelvis and spine to respond to the movement. Alternate side to side.
Get a great concentric engagement with Hamstring Curls! Still lying face down with long legs, hold a ball in between your ankles. Maintain the length through your spine and the fronts of your hips as you bend your knees, bringing your heels closer to your sits bones. Bend only as far as you can keep your hips and back long. For an extra challenge, perform the same movement but hover your legs off of the floor the whole time! 4 - 10 repetitions.
You deserve a Hamstring Stretch. Lie on your back with your legs long underneath you. Feel long and even in your back and pelvis. Draw one knee into your chest and loop a strap around your heel pocket. Place your bottom leg in a position that allows you to keep length in your torso and pelvis as you extend your stretching leg. Breathe and allow your hip socket to feel deeper. Try crossing your leg across your center or externally rotating your leg like you are turning a door handle open to the side. 45 sec - 1 min each side!