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Ballet Talk for Dancers

hamstring flexibility


safetypin

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I need help with my hamstrings! I think that is the most unflexible part of me! I can touch my toes and when I'm warm I can put my hands flat on the floor but that's it. I'd like some ideas to stretch please, because I don't like to stretch standing up and touching my toes as it makes my head feel weird. When I do the same stretch sitting down, I curve my back so it doesn't actually stretch where it should. I'm not sure if it's relevant but I'm hyperextended, when I sit on the floor with my legs out, my feet are off the floor. I know there is a lot of stuff about stretching here already but I'd really like some help with my difficulties. Thank you!

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safetypin, when you sit on the floor and stretch try keeping your feet flexed and not pointed. This will automatically give you more stretch. Keep the back straight as long as possible, but it will round eventually. You will still get a stretch. The other stretch for hamstrings is cambré forward, but of course that is also with your head down. You do have to do those in class, though, so, might as well get used to it. :green:

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Thank you, I will try keeping my feet flexed. I'm on holiday from school over Easter so I want my teachers to be impressed when I go back! Cambre forward in class is fine as it's just for a second but I meant when I'm stretching I hold it for longer so it makes me feel dizzy. Thanks again.

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i have the same problem. i do an exercise that really helps...... sit on the ground with one foot flexed and pull it off the ground. make sure your back is straight!! as you do that switch between relaxing you back and straightning. then so the other side and so on. good luck with that!!

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I think that a really good hamstring stretch that I do in my gyrotonics class is to have your feet shoulder width apart and touch the floor. It seems easy and you are probably saying that you already can touch the floor. But if you do the same stretch with your sit bones (basically your butt) reaching to the ceiling opposite your feet you really feel the stretch. I am sorry if this is confusing but it is kind of hard to explain.

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Thanks for the ideas everyone. balletdancer4eva I don't like to stand up and touch my toes as it makes me dizzy.

 

Yesterday after class I sat on the floor and put my water bottle under my foot, and flexed my foot, that gave me a better stretch because my leg was straight. (I mean because there was room for my knee to go back) Is it ok to do that?

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Safetypin, I"m not sure why you would need the water bottle. If you flex your foot you should be able to straighten the knee all the way and get a better stretch without that. :o

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I don't know, it just felt better that way. But I won't do it again if that isn't good, thanks for letting me know!

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Two to try: The first one is particularly good for people who can't (yet) sit up straight with legs extended out front. Get a blanket and fold it over. Sit on the very edge of the blanket, and feel that it makes it easier to sit up. Sit up really straight, arms reaching overhead. Now, with flexed feet, hinge forward -- really tip that pelvis, thinking about reaching your belly to your knees. When you have maximum stretch there, then bring your hands to your shins or feet. This stretch, properly done, minimizes the strain to the lower back, which sometimes occurs when someone has tight hamstrings but insists on trying to bring head to knees.

 

The second one is done on your back. Use a yoga strap or a band, or a towel. Start with your knees up and about inner hip width apart. Wrap the strap around one foot, just under the ball, and extend up (with a very flexed foot). The most important part is getting your leg straight, focusing on that area behind the knee. Hold. Next slowly extend the opposite leg along the floor, also with a flexed foot. Keep your face, neck, and entire upper body calm, while your legs are active. You should also have a somewhat active core. hold somemore.

 

And, it bears repeating, though you probably already know this -- be consistant with your efforts, focusing on incremental progress.

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Hi thanks for the suggestions, I don't really understand about the blanket though, how does it help you to sit up? Do you mean you only sit on the edge and the rest of the blanket is behind you, or do you sit on the edge and the rest is under your legs? I can just about sit up straight, if I really concentrate on not letting my hips fall back so I'm slouching, but it is really hard for me. It's so annoying I'm so tight in the hamstrings as I'm loose in other areas! I have a really deep demi plie, for example. :)

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You sit on the edge of the folded blanket -- the rest of it is behind you, not under your legs. This gives you a slight slant, which allows the pelvis to tip forward. This is a trick used in some yoga classes.

 

And -- moderators, I need to report myself!! I am so sorry -- when I saw the hamstring question, I just answered it, without noticing the forum. Tonight I noticed the age restriction, and, well, ... I haven't been 22 for quite some time. Now that I've made this mistake, I will be more careful in the future.

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Thank you for reporting yourself, Arizona Native. :) We are very strict about adults posting on the YD forums, so I'm surprised that we missed that first post on Apr. 6! :thumbsup:

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Ingve, I'm so sorry, as I know you are new and probably did not know that teachers (except for the three teacher/moderators) are not allowed to post on the Young Dancer forums. We have to be strict about this, or it could turn into way too many answers with too many different ideas.

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