Hamstring stretches, like the hurdler hamstring stretch, can be incorporated into a low back pain relief exercise plan to help loosen hamstrings and reduce strain on the back. This video illustrates the proper steps and form for the hurdler, or one leg in one leg out, hamstring stretch.
Related to this Video:
- Exercise and Back Pain
Let’s come into the hurdler stretch with one leg in and one leg out.
We’ll start by bringing our left in with your foot on the inside of your right leg as far up as comfortable, whether that be your shin, your knee, or your inner thigh. Keep your right foot engaged to protect your knee.
We’ll inhale to lift our ribs away from our hips. Draw your shoulders down away from your ears, and when you exhale, fold forward out of your hips, and plant your hands either on your thigh or the tops of your knee if it’s comfortable there.
On our next inhale, we’ll come up out of this, and let’s see if we can take it a little deeper this time. Inhale to lengthen your spine, and when you exhale, this time reach for your knee or your shin if that feels good, planting your hands wherever they land to help with stability. Make sure that you’re only stretching to your comfort level and keeping your right leg engaged to protect your knee. Let’s inhale to bring ourselves out of this.
Now if you’re comfortable with that distance, you don’t need to take it any further. We’ll try this a third time, and you can find a variation that feels good for you.
So we’ll inhale to lengthen our spine, draw your shoulders away from your ears, and with your right leg engaged, we’ll exhale and fold forward. You can bring your hands to your toes, down to your ankles, or see if you can walk your hands out to the end of the mat. Use your inhales to lengthen your spine and your exhales to take you a little bit deeper. We’ll inhale and carefully come out of this and switch our legs out.
Let’s bring ourselves back to a seated position and switch out our legs carefully, bringing the bottom of your right foot to the inside of your left leg. Engage your left leg, flex your foot, and make sure your shoulders and your torso are squared over your left leg. We’ll inhale to lengthen our spine and exhale. Just come forward a little bit, with your hands on the tops of your thigh or on your knee.
Be careful here that you're not putting any pressure on your knee but just using your hands to keep you stable.
We'll inhale and come out of this, and then exhale, and this time, walk your hands forward maybe to your knee or your shin if that's comfortable for you. Now it's important here that you're leading with your heart and not with your shoulders. Sometimes people have a tendency to curl their upper body, so Quincy, why don't you come out of this, and this time when you reach forward, reach with your arms and demonstrate how someone might reach forward curling their shoulders.
So here he's rounding out through his back. He's not really getting much of a stretch through his lower hamstring as much as he is through his upper back here.
So inhale to come out of this, and let's take it a little bit deeper this time, or if you'd like to stay where you are, you can stay at the second level.
This time, exhale and fold forward with your shoulders back and your spine long. You can see that in his deepest expression of this pose, he's not compromising his posture at all he's keeping his foot flexed, and he's getting the full benefit of this stretch. Great job!
Inhale and we'll come out of this.