Best Hamstring Stretches: How to Stretch Hamstrings

It’s sad that our hamstrings are among the most overlooked muscle groups. That’s because they play a huge part in our ability to walk, rung and move around. If you find yourself seated for long periods at a time, it’s always a good idea to take advantage of the best hamstring stretches. These will help prevent the muscles from getting tight and improve lower body flexibility.

Best Hamstring Stretches for Flexibility

1. Standing Hamstring Stretch

This simple stretch is perfect for before or after exercise. It helps to loosen your muscles. Plus it cuts your risk of athletic injuries and pain.

How to Perform Standing Hamstring Stretches

  • Stand tall, extend your right leg out in front of you and point your toes to the ceiling.
  • Bend your left knee, keeping abdominals contracted.
  • Slowly lean away from your hips and place both hands on the top of your left knee.
  • You should feel your hamstring muscles pull slightly.
  • Hold the stretch for 15-20 seconds.
  • Repeat on the opposite leg.

2. Lying Hamstring Stretch

This is another easy stretch can be done anywhere. You’ll be lying down, so you can use the floor or do it in bed!

The best part about it is that it also relaxes your lower back.

How to Perform the Lying Hamstring Stretch

  • Lie flat on your back.
  • Lift one leg up in the air. Have the bottom of your foot facing ceiling as if you were holding something on it.
  • Place your hands on the back of the thigh of the lifted leg and pull it towards you.
  • Make sure to keep your knees slightly bent until you feel a pulling/stretching sensation.
  • Hold this stretch for 15-20 seconds.
  • Repeat on the opposite leg.

3. Forward Bend

This hamstring stretch is the perfect move to do when you roll out of bed! It also is great for office workers who have been sitting all day at a desk.

How to Perform the Forward Bend

  • Stand straight with feet together.
  • Lean forward as far as you are able to while keeping legs straight. (The goal is for your palms to touch the floor or your toes).
  • Hold stretch for 15-20 seconds.

4. Hamstring Kickouts

This dynamic stretch is a fun way to extend your hamstring muscles while increasing your heart rate. It also helps with range of motion especially if you’ve been sitting down for long periods of time.

How to Perform Hamstring Kickouts

  • Standing tall with feet slightly apart, bring your right knee up to hip height.
  • Place both hands under your right thigh.
  • Extend your lower right leg out in front of you (like kicking forward).
  • Lower your right leg and do the same procedure with your left leg.
  • The goal is to do this movement in a continuous walking motion, alternating between right and left legs.
  • Make sure to bring knees hip high when performing this exercise. This allows you to get a good stretch.

5. Chair Hamstring Stretch

Take this stretch anywhere – the office, bus, or movie theatre! All you need is a chair to loosen your muscles with this move.

How to Perform Chair Hamstring Stretches

  • Sit tall on the edge of your chair.
  • Bend your right knee while keeping heel close to the chair.
  • Extend your left leg out.
  • Your left heel should be pressed into the floor while your toes point to the ceiling.
  • Maintaining a straight back, slowly lean forward until you feel a stretch in the back of your left thigh.
  • Hold stretch for 30-50 seconds.
  • Repeat with the opposite leg.

6. Crossover Stretch

This simple stretch may look easy. But, it doesn’t waste your time. It targets all three muscles of your hamstring.

Don’t worry if you can’t reach the ground. Just go as far as it feels comfortable. All we want is to feel that stretch.

Over time, your muscles will get more flexible. And, you’ll notice being able to reach farther down towards the floor.

How to Perform the Crossover Stretch

Stand tall with feet crossed.
Slowly bend over. Make sure to keep your back knee straight.
Reach for your feet and elongate your torso.
Hold the stretch for 15-20 seconds.
Repeat on opposite leg.

7. Scissor Hamstring Stretch

This stretch is great for those tight hamstring muscles. The best part about it is that it stretches them both at the same time. This maximizes your stretching time.

How to Perform the Scissor Hamstring Stretch

  • Stand tall with feet together.
  • Step forward with your left leg. Make sure to keep it extended straight.
  • Bend forward at the hips and reach down towards toes of extended leg. Don’t worry if you can’t reach your toes. Just go down as far as it feels comfortable.
  • Hold the stretch for 15-30 seconds.
  • Repeat on the opposite leg.

8. Bent Leg Seated Hamstring Stretch

This stretch is ideal for isolating one of your legs and getting in a nice stretch in. It is also a great hamstring stretch for beginners as you can deepen your stretch the more flexible you become.

How to Perform This Stretch

  • Sit on the ground with a straight back.
  • Extend your left leg out in front of you.
  • Bend your right leg and bring it in, putting your foot against the inner thigh of the extended leg.
  • Bend forward from the hip and reach as far as you can towards your toes.
  • Hold the stretch for 15-20 seconds.
  • Repeat on the opposite leg.