The hamstrings are very important muscles, and they work with the knee, hips, and back. When they are sore or painful, they can cause many problems. Hamstrings can be strained, sprained, or even completely torn. Many times people will feel pain in the back of their legs, behind the knees, or in the butt area. There are several ways to stretch your hamstrings, and some work better for some people than others. You don’t have to do all these stretches, just pick one or two that work best for you. When you are stretching, make sure to hold the stretches for at least 30 seconds and do them 3 times. This video will show you ways to stretch your hamstrings lying down, sitting, and standing.
First, will be the stretches on your back. This stretch is called an active assisted stretch because you are actively doing the stretch. Grab the back of your thigh, and bring your hip to about 90 degrees. Slowly start to straighten your leg until you feel a good stretch as seen in the video. Not everyone will be able to straighten their knee completely. Do three sets of 30 seconds on each side. If your legs starts to shake and it is too hard to hold up, try using a belt or dog leash to help hold the stretch. This time you want to keep your leg straight the whole time. Try not to bend your knee, and gently pull your leg towards your head until you feel a good stretch.
Next, you will see some stretches sitting up. The most important part of this stretch is to keep your back straight. Many people try to curl their backs to be able to touch their toes. Your hamstrings are attached to what is called the ischial tuberosity, or your butt bone. So if you bend at your back, you are not going to get a good hamstring stretch. Try to bend at your hips. You can also do this stretch sitting on a couch or the side of a bed as shown in the video. Finally, you can stretch your hamstrings standing up. You can prop your leg on a step or chair. It is still important to bend at your hips and not your back.
You may also want to check out the Hamstring Strengthening Exercises.