To get rid of those tight hamstrings try training your core to be more stable. It’s true that the hamstrings often feel tight because of a lack of muscle flexibility; however that’s not always the cause. Interestingly, when there is muscle weakness or a lack of stability around key parts of the body such as the core, comprised of the hips, abs/lower back, and shoulders. The body's response is to increase the tension in the surrounding muscles, like your hamstrings, for example, in an effort to protect itself from injury.
This thought process was put to the test in a 2009 study published in the Scandinavian Journal of Medicine and Science in Sports that evaluated the effects of a four week core stability training program on hamstring stiffness (tightness). The outcome of the study was pretty cool in that after four weeks of core stability training only and no hamstring stretching, participants experienced a significant decrease in the stiffness (improved flexibility) of their hamstrings.
See if you experience less hamstring tightness by incorporating the following core stabilization circuit into your exercise routine (all exercises performed in a row without rest):
1. Prone Iso-Abs (planks)
3. Cable Torso Iso-Rotations
Perform 2-3 sets of 12-20 reps 3x/week
1. Go slow and focus on your form and technique
2. Keep your abs engaged (pull your belly button toward your spine)
3. Modify the exercises to make them less or more challenging depending on your level of ability
- Q How do I perform an all fours alternating arm raise?
- Q When will I be able to stop taking breaks during exercise class?
- Q How can I get rid of the tension in my hips?
- Q How do I perform a front lunge to overhead press with 2 arms?
- Q How do I perform a squat, curl to press with 2-arms?
- Q Is it important to rest muscles between workouts?