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How to Do a Standing Hamstring Stretch

5 of 9 in Series: The Essentials of Stretching

The standing hamstring stretch is a great stretch for your hamstrings (rear-thigh muscles) and your lower back. If you have lower-back problems, do the same exercise while lying on your back on the floor and extending your leg upward. This article demonstrates the standing hamstring stretch.

  1. Stand tall with your left foot a few inches in front of your right foot and your left toes lifted.

  2. Bend your right knee slightly and pull your abdominals gently inward.

  3. Lean forward from your hips, and rest both palms on top of your right thigh for balance and support.

    The standing hamstring stretch targets your rear-thigh muscles. [Credit: Photograph by Sunstreak Pr
    Credit: Photograph by Sunstreak Productions, Inc.
    The standing hamstring stretch targets your rear-thigh muscles.
  4. Keep your shoulders down and relaxed; don’t round your lower back.

    You should feel a mild pull gradually spread through the back of your leg.

  5. Repeat the stretch with your right leg forward.

Keep in mind the following tips as you perform the standing hamstring stretch:

  • Keep your back straight and your abs pulled inward to make the stretch more effective and to protect your lower back.

  • Don’t lean so far forward that you lose your balance or feel strain in your lower back.

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