How to Roll Out Your Hamstrings
Whether you're a runner, a weightlifter or you simply have tight hamstrings, you can help them by rolling out on a foam roller. This piece of equipment is easy to find online, cheap to buy and can fit in an apartment or small workout space. All you need is a little bit of space, the foam roller and the weight of your body to roll them out.
How Foam Rolling Helps
You can roll out your hamstrings before or after a workout, and it will help a muscle become more flexible. It can even be as effective as stretching, according to a 2015 study in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research.
Aside from making your hamstrings more flexible, you can use a foam roller to help them recover from a workout. A 2014 study published in Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise showed that foam rolling decreased soreness after a workout. If you're feeling a lot of tenderness in your hamstrings after a tough workout, it's time to break out the foam roller.
Read More: Why a Foam Roller Works
Buying a Foam Roller
Due to foam rollers' popularity, there are a lot of different types on the market. Some are soft and forgiving, others are hard as a rock. They come in multiple lengths, but a 1-foot or 3-foot roller will work for your hammies.
If possible, try a foam roller out in person at a store or gym before you buy it. Some of them are so hard that it can be too painful to roll out. Start with a soft or medium-firmness foam roller. It should be smooth and made from foam, not a harder plastic material.
How to Roll Out Your Hamstrings
Rolling Your Hamstrings
Step 1: Find a spot on the floor where you can roll out. There should be at least enough space for you to lie down comfortably.
Step 2: Place the roller on the floor and sit down in front of it. Place the back of one knee on top with the foam roller facing horizontally. Using two legs when you roll out your hamstrings won't give enough pressure to actually dig into the hamstrings because they tend to be such a tight muscle group.
Step 3: Prop yourself up on your hands next to your butt. Straighten out your arms and lift your butt off of the ground.
Read More: The DOs and DON'Ts of Foam Rolling
Step 4: Bend the leg that isn't on the roller and plant that foot on the ground. The only things touching the ground now should be your hands and the foot of the leg that isn't rolling.
Step 5: Walk your hands toward the roller so that it rolls up your hamstrings. Go slowly up the entire back of your leg until you get to the point where your leg meets your hips. Stop there and roll back down to the bottom of your knee. As you roll, turn your leg to the left and right to hit different parts of your hamstring.
If you notice any particularly tender spots as you roll, stop on them and rest for five breaths, then continue. This can help relax away any knots in your muscle. Roll the entire length of the muscle 10 times and then switch legs.
Henry is a Philadelphia-based personal trainer and writer. He has trained a wide range of clients, from professional athletes to working professionals. Feel free to contact Henry with any questions regarding an article that he's written.