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Old 11-16-07, 09:26 AM   #1
cuda2k
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Loosening the ham strings

I've never been that flexible of an individual, but after a recent bike fitting and finding out just how tight my ham strings are and the problems it is starting to have with my riding I'd like to start working on loosening them up and getting more flexibility in that area specifically (and over all as well). Anyone have any recommendations and or places to look for advise on this goal?
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Old 11-16-07, 09:28 AM   #2
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yoga class?
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Old 11-16-07, 09:33 AM   #3
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+1 on yoga - start with a couple of times a week and it will do wonders. Begin with a gentle Hatha yoga class - best to avoid anything called Ashtanga or Vinyasa in the beginning (they much more advanced practices). Alternatively, there are a lot of DVD's available for a home practice. I ind the yoga sequence does a lot more for me than just stretching.

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Old 11-17-07, 01:42 PM   #4
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I just stretch after every ride. Do a search for hamstring stretches. There are four or five good ones, do them all, and eventually you'll loosen up. It won't be a fast process
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Old 11-19-07, 01:59 PM   #5
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There's a great book called "Stretching" by Bob Anderson. Get it.

He illustrates with drawings how to do the stretches. The location of the stretch is illustrated by shading the appropriate area of the body. He also gives illustrations of what it looks like if you are doing the stretch incorrectly. There are also written instructions, and these instructions are very clear.

In the other section of the book there are stretching routines specific sports and time estimates for each routine, as well as stretches for desk work, stretches for people over 50 yrs old, etc.

I have used that book for years. Recently, I have been doing yoga, and I remember very distinctly my first yoga class thinking that his stretches had to come from yoga. Frankly, it took a lot of yoga classes to get the same information I got from this book. For me, the "this is how not to do it" illustrations were just as valuable (if not more) than the "how-to".
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Old 11-20-07, 11:44 AM   #6
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+1 on the gentle Hatha yoga. It is really helping my hip issues. I'm close to touching my toes after never being able to do.
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Old 11-21-07, 12:02 AM   #7
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+1 on the gentle Hatha yoga. It is really helping my hip issues. I'm close to touching my toes after never being able to do.
That would be a nice goal for me too. Thanks for the suggestions everyone!
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Old 11-21-07, 11:21 AM   #8
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I have a PT that showed me a great way to stretch. I too had (have) flexibility issues on the hammies. He has me lye on my back, puts my ankle or calf on top of his shoulder and has me push down as hard as I can. After about 10 seconds of me pushing, he has me relax. At the same time I'm relaxing he'll stretch my hams. In a matter of a few reps of this, I'm almost touching my knee to my nose w/ no discomfort at all.
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Old 11-21-07, 11:28 AM   #9
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I have a PT that showed me a great way to stretch. I too had (have) flexibility issues on the hammies. He has me lye on my back, puts my ankle or calf on top of his shoulder and has me push down as hard as I can. After about 10 seconds of me pushing, he has me relax. At the same time I'm relaxing he'll stretch my hams. In a matter of a few reps of this, I'm almost touching my knee to my nose w/ no discomfort at all.

If you don't have a PT handy, you can do this against a doorway.
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Old 11-21-07, 12:43 PM   #10
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Yes, the doorway is what I do to stretch the hamstrings. It works fine. Start with a low intensity. That means not raising your leg up too high. As your body gets accustomed to it, the stretch will become easier. Then you can hold the stretch position for longer periods of time, like the Yoga thing.

Also the ones who pull hamstrings are the runners like hurdlers and sprinters. Long distance runners like the marathoners don't. My guess is that distance runners have a different stride. Sprinters and hurdlers have an explosive pull when the foot hits the ground. They actually do a pull much like a bike rider's pull on a pedal stroke. The top sprinters have well developed glutes and hamstrings.
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