Stretch Tip #1 – Bent Knee Hamstrings

I started to blog with the idea that in addition to sharing my own triathlon journey, that I would also share tips along the way.

One of my greatest supporters and a huge help to me along my journey to improve my fitness and strength has been Michael Collins. Michael is a sports therapist (although for the sake of convenience I sometimes refer to him as a physio) and his amazing ability to help athletes and those with muscle issues has earned him the name “Magic Hands”.

I found Michael when I went in search of someone who could help me to stretch out and relax my muscles. Michael practices a combination of therapies, including myofascial release, active isolated stretching, neuromuscular therapy, and soft tissue release – therapies and approaches he tailors to his clients needs.

In addition to being a sports therapist, Michael is also a triathlete. He is a multiple Ironman, and a natural sub 2:30 Olympic distance athlete. So, in addition to being able to work out tight muscles and help with optimising function, he approaches things from an athlete’s perspective. His insights and tips have been invaluable for me.

I hope to include a regular Tuesday feature of tips from Michael. They may seem basic but I rely on these tips to keep my mobility and fluidity of movement. I know that these tips are applicable to anyone – regardless of ability, issue, or level of fitness.

And my apologies in advance for my stick figure diagrams. Maybe someday we will upgrade the graphics. Maybe…

Bent Knee Hamstring Stretch

Stretches: Distal Hamstrings, Semitendinousus, Semimembranousus, and Bicep Femorus

Image taken from Grey’s Anatomy (Wikipedia)

Contracts: All quadriceps – Vastas Medialis, Lateralis, Intermedialis, and Rectus Femorus

How to:

1. Lay on your back, with the leg you will stretch at a 90 degree angle (the other leg relaxed, slightly bent ok)
2. From the knee, extend the leg to 180 degrees straight (be careful not to hyperextend, but the knee must extend completely to have a maximum stretch).
3. Release and return to the 90 degree bend at the knee.

Repeat 10 times, doing 2 sets of 10.

Edit:  A slightly more professional photo, compliments of Michael, was added on 23 March 2010

Note 1: The stretch is enhanced by using a stretching belt / yoga belt around the foot.  This helps me to pull my leg straight and control the movement.  When I am at the gym, and can’t find one, I use a towel holding both ends of the towel to help with the stretch.

Note 2: By rotating the Tibia, you can stretch / isolate different hamstring groups. For example, by rotating the Tibia inwards, you isolate the Biceps Femoris, By rotating the Tibia outwards, you isolate the Semimem and Semiten.  You can add 2 sets of 10 for each of these isolating stretches.

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