How to Stretch Your Hamstrings

by Joshua McCarron

About Joshua McCarron

Joshua McCarron has been writing both online and offline since 1995. He has been employed as a copywriter since 2005 and in that position has written numerous blogs, online articles, websites, sales letters and news releases. McCarron graduated from York University in Toronto with a bachelor's degree in English.


If you’re inactive and spend a lot of time sitting, your hamstrings can tighten up. This can trigger poor posture, which can lead to back and neck pain. Your hamstrings consist of three muscles located at the back of your thighs. By regularly stretching these muscles, you can keep them loose and help prevent future problems.

Stretch in a Doorway

A passive stretch refers to a stretch where you offer no assistance and someone or something else stretches the muscle. For a passive hamstring stretch you can do on your own, lie on your back in a doorway and place your right heel against the wall. Keep your right leg as straight as possible, with your left leg on the floor in the doorway. Slowly inch your way closer to the wall until you feel a stretch in your right hamstring. Hold the stretch for 30 seconds and repeat with the other leg.

Stretch With a Towel

Start an assisted hamstring stretch in the same position as the passive stretch, minus the doorway. Lift one leg up into the air and place a towel around the ball of your foot. Hold on to both ends of the towel, pulling down and back until you feel a stretch in your hamstring. Hold it for 30 seconds and repeat with the other leg.

Stretch on Your Knees

To perform a kneeling hamstring stretch, start on your knees and extend one straight out in front, placing your heel on the floor. Keep your back straight and your toes pointed straight up. Your leg can be straight or slightly bent, depending on your flexibility. Reach toward your toes with one hand, while placing the other on the floor for balance. Hold the stretch for about 30 seconds and do two to three sets on each leg.

Stretch While Standing

Stretching your hamstrings from a standing position is similar to the kneeling stretch. Raise your foot up onto a chair, bench or similar object and keep your leg bent slightly. Place your toes on the edge and allow your heel to slide off the edge. Move your chest toward your leg and hold for 30 seconds, two to three times. Vary the height of the object depending on your flexibility level.

At Your Desk Stretch

If you are unable to get away from your desk, you can still stretch your hamstrings. Sit up straight in the chair and place both hands under one of your thighs. Gently pull your knee up toward your chest until you feel the stretch in your hamstring. Hold the stretch for 30 seconds and repeat on the other side.

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This article reflects the views of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the views of Jillian Michaels or