Ever wonder why your hamstrings feel tight even though you stretch them?
If the answer to tight muscles is stretching, then shouldn’t stretching your hamstrings make them more flexible? If you’re finding your hamstrings stay restricted and tight regardless of how much you stretch them, then perhaps there’s something else going on. In actuality, the feeling or perception of tightness in a muscle is subjective and does not necessarily indicate that the muscle is in fact short and in need of lengthening via stretching.
The site where we experience tightness or pain isn’t necessarily the same spot where it originates. In the case of the hamstrings, tightness across the back of the legs sometimes has little to do with those parts of the body themselves. It’s a very common misconception that feelings of tightness in the hamstrings mean they must be short and in need of stretching.
Hamstrings become shortened when they aren’t experiencing a full range of motion. A restricted range of motion in the hamstrings affects the hip flexors, causing them to tighten, which then in turn affects the calves and hamstrings. Tight hip flexors cause a pelvic tilt that causes tightness in the lower back, which often results in tight hamstrings. Poor pelvic position from weak abdominal muscles can add strain on the hamstrings and cause those feelings of tightness in the hamstrings that just doesn’t seem to let go.
This is especially true if you spend a lot of time sitting, which most of us do.
There is a lot of confusion about the causes of tight hamstrings. People often use stretching routines and expect they will eliminate the issue, without knowing what the true problem is. The hamstring muscles are multifunctional, and specific exercises are needed to keep them healthy and extended.