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Prevent Back Pain - Best Hamstring Stretches

Updated on March 22, 2016

Best Stretches for the Back Muscles

best stretches for the back muscles
best stretches for the back muscles | Source

One of my idols growing up was Spock, an imaginary character who was from a land far away called Vulcan. Spock was stated to be half-Vulcan (Vulcan is a fictional race) and half human. For readers who are perhaps a bit younger than me, the original television series ran from 1966-1969 and was created by Gene Roddenberry. Later on, several other tv series were launched including an animated version and then the many legendary feature films grossing over a billion dollars. Of all the many different characters, why was I enamored with Spock? For one, he was the science officer. But mainly, I could not wait to hear Spock's point of view. For you see, Spock was perhaps best known for his "Spock logic" - everything he did was logical. And throughout the hit television show and feature films, Spock actively chose his Vulcan tendencies over the human side of emotional responses. So what does Spock have to do with fitness? Everything in my humble opinion. For you see if we can understand the human body, understand the connectively, we can be effective champions of our own health. And nowhere else in fitness, I feel is this particularly evident than in preventing back pain by understanding how the hamstring muscles can interact with discs in our back. For me, there is something for all us to learn in "Spock logic" but especially so in regards to learning the importance of stretching hamstring muscles.

The first logical point is to learn that not all hamstring exercises were created equally. I will be blunt to make this painful statement easier to swallow. Hold on to your hat and be prepared for the bad new first. Unless you are an elite athlete, the hamstring stretching exercises you have been taught and perhaps you are using may not be best suited for you. Why? The stretches you were taught in your grade school may be too hard for you. The good news is Easy Exercise is here to help.

Let me share with you some terrific hamstring exercises ideally suited for all fitness levels. Stay tuned and I will share with you three terrific videos to showcase how to intelligently choose between eight different types of hamstring stretches. These three videos include: 1.) the best hamstring ever 2.) the most brutal hamstring stretch ever and 3.) details of why many if not most hamstring stretches may not be appropriate for your fitness level. Included for your reading convenience is a poster of different types of hamstring stretches and a chart detailing the various fitness levels that may be associated with the different types.


Simple Spock Logic On Fitness

black and white photo of Spock - to showcase the logic behind stretching exercises to prevent back pain
black and white photo of Spock - to showcase the logic behind stretching exercises to prevent back pain | Source

Spock Logic and Scooby's Stretching Recommendations

Similar to Spock from the famous Star Trek series, the logic behind Scooby's recommended stretches is impermeable.

Hamstring Stretch

Hamstring Stretch diagram in clip art with a blond girl with her hair in a ponytail and black leggings and blue top demonstrating just one type of hamstring stretch to alleviate back pain
Hamstring Stretch diagram in clip art with a blond girl with her hair in a ponytail and black leggings and blue top demonstrating just one type of hamstring stretch to alleviate back pain

This Scoop About the Best Stretches for Hamstrings is Due to Scooby Wetzel

First and foremost let's give credit where credit is due. I learned about the fine details of appropriate hamstring exercises from a master body builder and world renown blogger named Scooby Wetzel. He is more than must a pretty face with a superb body, he is an outstanding fitness, guru. If you follow deductive logic, what Scooby says is very Spock-like. Similar to Spock from the famous Star Trek series, the logic behind the recommended stretches is impermeable.

To begin with, we will start with a series of hamstring stretches perfectly suited to all of us who are not and will never seek to attain to become an elite athlete.

If you are an elite athlete, if you are training as a bodybuilder, if you are in the gym every day, or if you are a professional ballet dancer, simply skip to the very end for the advanced hamstring stretches. For the 95% of the rest of us, stay tune to learn about six great ways to simply and safely stretch your hamstring muscles.

Six Best Beginner Hamstring Stretches

Six Best Beginner Hamstring Exercise
Six Best Beginner Hamstring Exercise | Source

Did you know that not all hamstring exercises are appropriate for everyone?

See results

A “bad workout” you do is infinitely better than the “best workout” that you skip.

~Scooby Wetzel

Why Some Stretches Better for Certain Individuals

The first thing we must recognize is that all exercises were not created equally. Some stretches are better for beginners.

Why? Because the human body is complex and it will engage the muscles that we call it to engage. Sadly, if the exercise performed is not performed correctly, the wrong muscles will be recruited.

The human body is complex and has over 640 muscles and various joints. Exercise to the human body is a team effort. Often if a task cannot be performed, other muscle groups will come to the rescue.

What is interesting about the human body often is there are no clear signals - there are only signs/symptoms that offer guidance. I know it would be nice to have lines similar to when we drive and we follow the yellow lines and never cross and the white lines when we are encouraged not to cross. Due to the complexity of the human body, exercising simply often is not transparent.

What often occurs, when we try to extend a muscle via a stretching exercise, and that muscle is tight and doesn't have the dexterity to extend that far, an adjoining muscle group often will come help. This team effort offered by the various muscles of our body can serve to help us finish a task but at the sake of not stretching the muscle we were seeking to target.

The How and Why Beyond the Hamstring Stretch

First we will explore the best hamstring stretch ever along with the similar stretch video but labelled brutal. Both are the same exercise but presented in a different light. While the presentation and the packaging are different, the movement is the same.

Later on, we will hear directly from Scooby Wetzel who will demonstrate the best hamstring stretches but more importantly he will showcase why and how these exercises are different.

If you are like me and need to understand the why behind the movements, then you must not miss the video from Scooby Wetzel.

Best Hamstring Stretch Ever

Best Hamstring Stretch Ever

In this video, we learn the best hamstring stretch ever by Bryce Christianson, DC. D.C. is a degree for chiropractors in North America. What is great about this video is the explanation he gives and the example he provides.

Brutal Hip Stretch that Works Like Magic

Brutal Hamstring Stretch

Stated in another manner, here is the same exercise but labelled as "brutal". But don't let the verbiage discourage you - this is the stretch that can help alleviate back pain.

Eight Types of Hamstring Stretches

Name of Stretch
Type of Assistance
Level of Exercise Expertise Needed
Ballerina Stretch
Ballerina Bar
Advanced
Floor Stretch - Wall
Floor & Wall
Beginning & Intermediate
Standing Stretch on Stair
Stair & Floor
Beginning & Intermediate
Chair
Chair
Beginning
Chair with Stretch Band
Chair & Stretch Band
Beginning & Intermediate
Floor Stretch
Floor
Beginning, Intermediate & Advanced
Trainer Assisted
Certified Personal Trainer or Physical Therapist
Beginning & Intermediate & Advanced
Ballerina Stretch
Hand
Advanced
Seven different types of hamstring stretches detailed for preventing back pain

Hamstring Stretch for Preventing Back Pain

Scooby Wetzel's Explanation of the Hamstring Stretches

Our review here would not be complete without some words from the personal trainer who taught me this - Scooby Wetzel. In this video, Scooby details the information I have provided - all Scooby is missing is the poster that I hand crafted of the hamstring stretches he recommends for the beginner.

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Various Ballerina Type Hamstring Stretches Illustrated

ballerina hamstring stretch illustrated using the floor for assistance
ballerina hamstring stretch illustrated using the floor for assistance | Source
ballerina hamstring stretch illustrated using a ballerina bar for assistance
ballerina hamstring stretch illustrated using a ballerina bar for assistance | Source
hamstring stretch using a low wall for assistance illustrated by a beautiful female in fitness/running gear
hamstring stretch using a low wall for assistance illustrated by a beautiful female in fitness/running gear | Source

Advanced Hamstring Stretches

If you are an advanced athlete, a dancer or the rarest of all - simply an individual dedicated to fitness - if you have the flexibility to do the advanced hamstring stretches, please do not let this detour you.

From ballerinas to elite runners to advanced exercise enthusiasts, you know who you are - take this advise to your friends and family but don't stop doing the stretches that you currently know perform for you. The target audience of this article is for those seeking to alleviate pain and sadly the majority of our populace is not in one of the three categories described above.

Check With Your Physician Before Performing Any Stretches

The information provided here is not medical advice. It is recommended to check with your physician before beginning any exercise or stretching programs. If you have a physical therapist for your back pain, discuss these various stretches in detail. If I might recommend taking a copy of the poster with and running through the various stretching options. The poster will help you identify the stretches that are recommended for your pain back.

Advanced Hamstring Stretches

There are several types of advanced hamstring stretches. A few are detailed here - from the ballerina stretch using the ballerina bar for assistance to the runner stretch where we sit on the floor and bend toward our toes. In the photo shown below the young male in running gear has both of his hands readily holding his toes. This is a great example of an elite athlete with low body fat and great flexibility. This should be the goal of everyone, every age. But alas reality sets in and we must do what we can do.

Hamstring Stretching Options

Take a close look at the many hamstring stretching options we have provided. Use this information as a starting point for discussion with your physician or personal trainer. If you experience pain, stop immediately. If you are injured, remember, you must consult with your physician before even attempting these options.

Advanced Hamstring Stretch

hamstring stretch performed by elite runner with hands over toes
hamstring stretch performed by elite runner with hands over toes | Source
Source

First Class Fitness - First Class Foods

“If you want to eat like an average American then you will look like an average American.”

~Scooby Wetzel

Final Thoughts - First Class Fitness - First Class Foods - Be The Very Best!

Scooby says (and so appropriately) if you wish to look like an average person, continue to eat with "average' in mind. For eating, consider taking a look at the foods you consume as either processed foods or first class foods.

If you wish to look like a champion, upgrade your eating habit, upgrade your fitness program and upgrade your stretching program to be the very best your body was designed to be!

Preventing Back Pain May Be One Great Hamstring Stretch Away

In short, preventing back pain may simply be one great stretch away.

© 2015 Kelly A Burnett

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    • Noa Keshet profile image

      Noa Keshet 

      13 months ago from Israel

      A very informative hub. I found the "best hamstring stretch" video very helpful and easy to follow.

    • Easy Exercise profile imageAUTHOR

      Kelly A Burnett 

      2 years ago from United States

      Hi Kristen,

      Thank you very much! My husband and I have started stretching each night together - it makes a big difference. I cannot wait for my basement to be finished so I can hang the hamstring poster.

    • Kristen Howe profile image

      Kristen Howe 

      2 years ago from Northeast Ohio

      Kelly, great hub on hamstring stretches for all levels. Very easy to do and understandable.

    • Easy Exercise profile imageAUTHOR

      Kelly A Burnett 

      3 years ago from United States

      Hi Vellur,

      Thank you so much for stopping by and sharing. I hope you never look at another steep hill in the same manner ever again - know that steep hill will activate and strengthen your hamstrings!

      Best to you and your family.

    • Vellur profile image

      Nithya Venkat 

      3 years ago from Dubai

      Informative and useful hub about hamstring stretches, never knew about so many types of hamstring stretches. Thank you for sharing. Great hub, voted up.

    • Easy Exercise profile imageAUTHOR

      Kelly A Burnett 

      3 years ago from United States

      Hi PeachPurple,

      I am so sorry about your pain. Oh, I feel for you.

      Yes, I do hope the hamstring stretches help and I hope this information was beneficial to you.

      Thank you so much for stopping by and sharing.

    • peachpurple profile image

      peachy 

      3 years ago from Home Sweet Home

      regardless of exercise, I couldn't get rid of the pain, hopefully this hamstring would help

    • Easy Exercise profile imageAUTHOR

      Kelly A Burnett 

      3 years ago from United States

      Hi AliciaC,

      Thank you so much for stopping by and sharing.

    • Easy Exercise profile imageAUTHOR

      Kelly A Burnett 

      3 years ago from United States

      Hi Peggy W,

      I did this poster for a special client. She has been fighting back pain. She is a fellow gardener and I know back pain is always difficult - for gardeners it seems to knock the life out you.

    • Easy Exercise profile imageAUTHOR

      Kelly A Burnett 

      3 years ago from United States

      Hi FlourishAnyway,

      Thank you so much! I am glad you enjoyed this article to help on hamstring stretches. It was a labor of love.Also, glad to find you out on Twitter!

    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 

      3 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      Thank you for such a detailed look at hamstring stretches, Easy Exercise.

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 

      3 years ago from Houston, Texas

      This is important information to know for just about everybody no matter what their fitness level happens to be. Thanks for all of the examples.

    • FlourishAnyway profile image

      FlourishAnyway 

      3 years ago from USA

      Easy Exercise, you are an inspiration. Between the Spock logic and Scoobyisms Hamstrings everywhere are already feeling it. Great work here. Voted up and more and sharing

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