Say Goodbye to Tight Hamstrings: 7 Essential Stretches for Runners

Published :

Beginner RunnerRunning Injury
Photo of author

Written by :

David Dack

Are your hamstrings feeling as tight as a guitar string?

Ready to learn the secret to keeping them limber and pain-free?

Well, you’re in luck because we’re about to dive into the world of hamstring stretches that will leave you feeling like a limber athlete in no time!

In the hustle and bustle of our busy lives, it’s easy to neglect those essential muscles at the back of our legs.

But here’s the kicker: even if you’re juggling work, family, and a social life that’s busier than a beehive, dedicating just a few minutes each day to hamstring stretches can work wonders for your body.

Whether you’re a dedicated runner, an avid cyclist, or just someone who enjoys the occasional jog in the park, your hamstrings deserve some TLC.

Neglecting them could lead to a cacophony of aches, pains, and injuries that can throw a wrench in your fitness routine.

But don’t fret!

In today’s article, I’m sharing with you a lineup of straightforward, highly effective hamstring stretches that will help you bid farewell to those pesky tight muscles.

Before we get into the nitty-gritty, let’s start by unraveling the mysteries of the hamstrings.

Excited? Then here we go!

What Are the Hamstrings? 

The hamstrings are a group of three muscles located on the back of your thigh.

These muscles play a crucial role in various leg movements and include:

  • Biceps Femoris: This is one of the major muscles in the hamstring group. It has two heads, known as the long head and short head, which originate from different parts of the pelvis and come together to form the hamstring tendon.
  • Semimembranosus: This is one of the deeper muscles in the hamstring group. It originates from the ischial tuberosity (a bony prominence in the pelvis) and extends down to the back of the tibia bone.
  • Semitendinosus: Like the semimembranosus, this muscle also originates from the ischial tuberosity and extends down to the tibia. It’s one of the more superficial muscles in the hamstring group.

Don’t worry.

The stretches I’m going to share with you today are going to cover them all.

For more runner’s specific stretching routines, check out the following posts:

How to Stretch Your Tight Hamstrings

Here are seven easy hamstring stretches for flexibility.

Perform each exercise once or twice, holding each stretch to the edge of discomfort or between a 6 and 8 on a scale of 1-10.

I recommend performing these hamstring stretches when your muscles are well-warmed, preferably after a run or a solid warm-up.

And please never stretch a cold muscle; otherwise, you’ll only hurt yourself.

  1. Lying Hamstring Stretch with Cord

Start by lying on your back with your back straight and legs extended.

Next, while keeping your lower back down on the floor and hips level, bend the right knee towards your chest, then slowly set your knee straight while reaching for the back of your leg with both hands.

Be sure to pull the right leg towards you as gently as possible while keeping both hips firmly on the floor.

Hold the stretch for 30 seconds to one full minute, then switch sides.

  1. The Cross-Over Hamstring Stretch

While standing up straight with legs crossed, your right leg over your left, with the feet close together.

Next, while keeping a soft bend in the knees, slowly roll your upper body and let your hand reach toward the ground.

Keep rolling down until you feel a mild stretch along the back of your left leg.

Don’t fret if you can’t reach your toes.

Just give it time, and you will eventually get there.

Hold the stretch for one full minute, then repeat with the opposite leg.

  1. Half Split Hamstring Strech

This is one of my favorite hamstring stretches of all time.

But be careful here.

It’s also one of the most challenging.

The half split is ideal for stretching the lower back, hips, IT band, hamstrings, and calves.

Here is how to perform them in a safe manner.

Start in a low lunge position with your right leg in front,

Next, slowly straighten your right leg as much as you can, then slide the left leg straight behind you.

Then, while keeping your hips squared and stacked over your left knee, slowly fold over your right leg while lengthening your spine and keeping your back straight the entire time.

Hold the position for one full minute, then switch sides.

  1. Seated Forward Fold

Begin by sitting on the floor with both legs extended straight out in front of you.

Be sure to point both feet straight up toward the ceiling.

Next, while keeping the legs straight and core engaged, stretch your arms up overhead and fold your torso over your thighs.

Hold onto your feet, ankles, or shins. In case you are too tight here, you can always wrap a towel or yoga strap around the soles of your feet.

Hold the position for one to two minutes and then slowly sit up.

  1. Triangle Forward Fold

Stand with your feet together, core engaged, and hands on hips.

Next, to perform the triangle forward fold, step back with your left foot about two to three feet.

Make sure your right foot is facing forward while the left foot is at a slight angle.

Next, while keeping the back and legs as straight as possible, bend forward from your hip joint, extend your body over your right leg, and place your right arm on your tight knee or shin (you can also use a block for assistance).

Make sure to feel the stretch in your hamstrings and lower back and the whole back side of your leg.

Hold the stretch for 30 seconds to one full minute, then switch sides.

  1. Standing Hamstring Stretch

Start by standing up straight with feet shoulder-width apart.

Be sure to keep your chest up and back straight.

Next, slowly bend forward at the hips with arms hanging down and with legs as straight as possible until you start feeling a mild stretch in your lower back and hamstrings.

Try to reach your toes, but do not pull anything to do so.


Please add this simple hamstring stretch routine to your training program ASAP. The above exercises are all you need to keep your hamstrings flexible and supple so you can run your best for the long haul.

Furthermore, please remember to take action on what you have just learned. Learning about the best hamstring exercises to perform after a run is one thing, but actually stretching the muscles of the back thigh on a regular basis is another thing.

For that, you’d need to build the habit of regular stretching in your life. And yet, it’s just a habit, just like anything else in life.

One thing you can do to speed up this whole process is to incorporate at least three to four of the above stretches into your post-run routine. Perform more stretches if you’re suffering from chronic hamstring tightness (just like the rest of us).

And remember to stay within your fitness level and have fun.

For more on post-run stretches, check the following links:

The 7 Hip Flexor Stretches Runners Should Do

8 Standing Post-Run Stretches For Runners

In the meantime, thank you for reading my post. Please feel free to leave your comments and questions below.

David D

Featured Image Credit – Jeremy Hall via Flickr

Recommended :

4 thoughts on “Say Goodbye to Tight Hamstrings: 7 Essential Stretches for Runners”

Leave a Comment