Foam Rollers for Your Hamstrings

11 November 2015

Foam Rollers, as have been discussed in previous articles, are excellent tools for relieving aches, pains and stiffness. If you have an active lifestyle then you're likely to experience some of the unfortunate side effects of this. Stiff, sore muscles can reduce your performance and leave you unwilling to train as frequently or as hard, and can make you more susceptible to injury. 

This stiffness is particularly common in the hamstrings, the muscles at the back of your thighs that are responsible for bending your leg at the knee. Due to this, they are therefore extremely important in any kind of activity that involves running, jumping or general movement. Tight hamstrings are unfortunately very common, both among athletes and the general population. This can limit your range of movement, limiting your performance. It can also make you more prone to injury elsewhere in the body, for instance the knee joint or the lower back, as the body tries to overcompensate for your inflexible hamstrings. 

How to Use a Foam Roller on the Hamstrings

One of the best uses of a foam roller is to rehabilitate injured, stiff or sore muscles. To start with you should apply moderate pressure to the muscles, using your bodyweight on top of the roller. Rolling slowly, no more than around an inch a second, find areas that are more sensitive and painful, then relax and hold for several seconds. You should feel the muscle start to release, and slowly the pain and discomfort should lessen. 

If the area you're trying to target is too painful, focus on the surrounding area first before working up to the main site, take it slow and be aware that it is normal to feel a little soreness the next day. In fact beginners may find foam rolling to be uncomfortable or even painful as their muscles adapt to being engaged in this new way, but long term benefits will soon outweigh any discomfort of the adjustment period including a great reduction in pain and stiffness, and an increased performance in athletic activity.

Foam Rolling the Hamstrings - Technique

Looser hamstrings won't just help your legs feel better, they can also help your posture and even reduce lower back pain. Try this exercise to improve flexibility and reduce pain and stiffness:

Sit on a foam roller with your legs outstretched, and support yourself by placing your hands on the floor behind you. Position yourself so the roller is directly under your hamstrings. Slowly roll forwards and back from the base of your glutes to the back of your knee for 30 seconds. Try it with your feet turned out, followed by your feet turned in, to ensure that your hamstrings are getting worked from all angles. For extra pressure and a firmer rolling experience put one leg on top of the other, then repeat with the other leg.

Benefits of Foam Rolling the Hamstrings

By getting rid of the painful 'knots' that form in the muscle through foam rolling, your hamstrings should become more flexible. Tight hamstrings pull back on the pelvic bone and place extra pressure on the lower back, so therefore looser, more flexible hamstrings should alleviate this pressure. Therefore you should be able to carry out sports such as weightlifting with less risk. 

If you want to see which products will help with this, click here to view the full range of foam rollers on Think Sport.