Are Your Hamstrings Actually Tight?Jul 04, 2022
Do you ever feel like your hamstrings are just super tight and won’t loosen up no matter how much you stretch?
I have worked with a lot of clients who get frustrated by the lack of progress with hamstring flexibility despite stretching every day and doing yoga. One thing that is always the same is that they are constantly stretching their hamstrings with little to no benefit. There are other structures that run down the back of the leg, and the one that can give you a sensation similar to tight hamstrings is the sciatic nerve.
Nerves need to move well, however they do not “stretch” well. They will feel tight and restricting if you try to stretch them too aggressively. Often, a better approach is to perform nerve glides (aka sliders) to allow them to move within their neural sheaths.
Think of it as “flossing” your nerves through the other tissues in your leg, down to the foot. Flossing is very different from stretching, where you are pulling from both ends at the same time. Flossing incorporates a gliding motion to ease into mobility.
Research has shown that nerve gliding techniques are about 5 times more effective in improving nerve mobility compared to tensioning techniques. Check out this article by Coppieters et al. to learn more.
Here is a simple nerve glide drill that you can add into your hamstring mobility routine to keep your nerves happy and reduce the tension in the back of your leg.
If you are still struggling with mobility and would like a more individualized approach, contact us to get started.
Corey Hall, PT, DPT