The basic hamstring stretch, also called a seated toe touch, is a graduated stretch for easing hamstring tightness and pressure on the low back.This video illustrates the three levels of the basic hamstring stretch, as well as a modification for fitness level variation.
Related to this Video:
- Exercise and Back Pain
Let’s come into a basic hamstring stretch—a seated toe touch.
We’ll begin with our legs in front of us, our feet flexed, and our legs engaged to protect our knees.
Sit up tall, lift your ribs away from your hips, and as we exhale we’ll fold forward from our hips. Plant your hands on your knees if that feels comfortable, or on your shins. Be sure that you’re leaning forward with your heart and keeping your shoulders drawn away from your ears to protect your spine.
We’ll inhale to bring ourselves out of this, and try to walk our hands just a little deeper this time.
So, once again, inhale to lengthen your spine, and as you exhale fold forward, leading with your heart. This time, see if you can walk your hands further down your shins or reached toward your ankles.
Now, if that felt good for you and you don’t want to take it any further, you can stay right there. Otherwise, let’s try and go a little bit deeper.
We’ll inhale to lift our ribs away from our hips, and exhale to fold forward. This time, see if you can walk your hands our to your toes, possible your heels, or all the way down to the mat.
Now, these stretches are really intense, but there are modifications available.
So, let’s come out of this, we’ll go into it one more time, and if you’d like to modify, you can follow Carol, who’s going to have her knees bent. Keeping a micro-bend in your knee will protect your low back as you come into this stretch.
So, again, we’re going to sit up straight, drop your shoulders away from your ears, and as you exhale fold forward to a length that feels good for you.
We’ll do this one more time, and you can choose the variation that feels best for you. If you’d like to keep a micro-bend in your knees, you can follow Carol. Otherwise, Quincy will be going into the most full expression of this.
Let’s inhale to lengthen our spines, and exhale. Begin to walk your hands forward. Now, you can see here, Quincy is keeping his shoulders drawn away from his ears and his spine nice and long; he’s not compromising his posture while he’s reaching for his toes. Great job!
Inhale, and slowly come out of this.