What are the hamstrings?
The hamstrings are one group of three muscles: Biceps femoris, semitendinosus and semimembranous. They all originate from ischial tuberosity (your sitting bones) and extend down behind the knee with a tendon. Biceps femoris attaches to the fibula (your calf bone), and the other two hamstrings attach to tibia (your shin bone).
Why your hamstrings are always tight even though you stretch them everyday?
The tightness is most likely originating from somewhere else- lower back and hip flexors, not from your hamstrings directly.
When our hips don't move as much as they are designed for, muscles of the hips (hamstring, hip flexors, glutes) are all shortened. This happens when we sit too much! Sitting creates tight hip flexors, tilts your pelvis, arches the lower back, and weakens the glutes and deep core muscles. As a result of poor pelvic position, the hamstrings are shortened and become tight.
What to do?
Active stretches will help to loosen up the tight muscles and improve the range of motion. Self-myofascial release with foam roller will releasse tight lower back and glutes.
Lie down on the floor, lift your bottom off the floor into bridge position, and place the soft density foam roller under the sacrum. Lift and straigthen your LEFT leg up first, and then lower down as straight as you can. REPEAT moving your leg up and down at least 10 times. SWITCH to RIGHT leg, and repeat the exercises.
When do you use your hamstrings?
You use them when you bend your knees and move your legs backwards.
Running, cycling, swimming, climbing stairs.
Stabilizing your hip while bending over to tie your shoes or pick up the trash from the floor.
FUN FACTS: The name "hamstring" originated in 18th century England. Back then, buthcers would display pig carcasses in their shop windows by hanging them from long tendons at the back of the knee.