Basic Anatomy of Stretching the Hamstrings


This week I want to talk about the hammies.


The anatomy of the hamstrings is cool because they cross multiple joints. Muscles that cross multiple joints are a little more complicated to think about, so it's important to discuss where the attach, how that matters to lifting, and how it matters to stretching and/or the other things you are trying to do.
There are technically 4 muscles of the hamstrings and arguably 5 (if you want to count part of adductor magnus), but I don't want to bore you with technical names that you can look up later and miss the point of this post.
3 of the 4 hamstring muscles start on your pelvis in the ischial tuberosity aka your sits bones. That means they cross multiple joints (hip and knee and I guess you could say SI joint as well).
They then traverse down your leg and attach across your knee.
All 4 hamstrings cross your knee joint.
The 4th muscle starts on your thigh bone and attaches across the knee, so it is the only one that doesn't cross your hip and knee joint. And if you can fully lock your knee joint out, this muscle isn't restricting any range of motion.
Point is, if you bend your knees, you slack the hamstrings. If you round your back (reverse the lumbar curve) it slacks the hamstrings. If you lock your knees, it tightens the hammies, and if you really arch (extend) your low back, it tightens the hamstrings.
Use those rules and attachment points to guide what you are doing and why. This also explains why the hamstrings do not make the low back round when you squat. They are slacked at the knee as it bends so they aren't under tension.
Ok that is a lot of text, much easier to watch the video. If you made it this far, gold star and thank you for reading. Now watch the video so it all makes sense!
Thanks for reading,

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