For the final week of November we will learn a hamstring stretch and massage with the foam roller. You may also feel a stretch through the chest muscles.
As with the other stretches featured in November, you will need a foam roller to perform this hamstring stretch. Please skip this week if you have difficulty getting up and down from the floor, or have hamstring or shoulder injuries.
This stretch can be done with both legs at the same time or one leg at a time (instructions are the same for both). It is recommended to complete the stretch using the one leg technique if you find it difficult to support your body weight through just your arms and hands needed for the two leg technique.
How to perform:
1. Both legs: Sit on the foam roller as shown in the photos. Your sit bones will be at the edge of the foam roller, legs will be straight. Place your hands behind you for support. This hand position may provide you with a chest stretch. Press your belly button to your spine to engage the abdominal muscles making sure to keep them engaged the whole time.
Then, simply bring your hips back toward your hands to roll the foam roller slowly along the backside of the hamstrings toward the knee joint. As you keep the legs straight you will most likely feel a stretch in the backside of the hamstrings as you massage them. Keep your feet flexed and toes pointed toward your face the entire time. Roll up and down the hamstrings for 5 to 10 minutes (or start with a shorter duration and progressively increase to the recommended time).
2. One leg: The only difference when doing this one leg at a time is the starting position. Scoot yourself to one of the ends of the foam roller so that just one leg is on the roller. The other leg will be bent as shown in the photos below. The leg being rolled may come off the floor as you move up and down the hamstring, which is okay. Attempt to keep that leg straight as you roll. Complete five minutes on one side and then switch and perform on the other.
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