How to Relieve Hamstring Pain in 10 Minutes or Less
By Mariah Heller, CPT, CMT
The hamstrings may be the most problematic muscle group that I’ve seen in my years as a trainer and massage therapist. They (the hamstrings) cross more than one joint, and commonly contribute to pain and injury in the knees and lower back. In our sedentary culture, the hamstrings are often chronically shortened by sitting, which further exacerbates follow-on issues.
The worst part? Hamstring mobility can be REALLY unpleasant, so many of us avoid it. Foam rolling, lacrosse ball release, and stretching the hamstrings all have many benefits including improving circulation and oxygen to that muscle group, mitigating the damage caused by chronic sitting, breaking up adhesions on the muscle, and potentially providing pain relief in the lower back and knees. Not sure where to start? Take a look at the guide below on how to relieve hamstring pain.
Foam roll hamstrings (2:00)
Begin seated on the ground with the foam roller against the backs of your thighs. Use your hands to lift your hips off of the ground, and push yourself forward/pull yourself backward to roll along the length of the upper legs. Avoid the backs of the knees.
Lacrosse ball hamstring release (1:00 per side)
*Only do this after the hamstrings have been sufficiently warmed up and rolled out. This one requires a lacrosse ball (if that wasn’t made obvious by the title), and a surface to sit on that allows you to sit with your knee bent at a 90-degree angle without your foot touching the floor. Begin by placing the lacrosse ball under the upper hamstrings of one leg with your knee fully relaxed.
Slowly extend your knee (lift your foot up so that your leg straightens), and then release the knee back to its starting position. Repeat this movement 4-5 times, and then move the lacrosse ball down the leg (toward the foot) by 2-3 inches.
As mentioned in the beginning of the book – if you feel any tingling down the leg, “pins and needles” sensations, or feel the foot falling asleep – MOVE the lacrosse ball off of the spot that it’s on; usually an inch or so to the left or right will do the trick.
Banded hamstring stretch (with/without range of motion)
Once you are comfortable with the static stretch, you can spice it up by slowly pushing your heel down toward the ground, and slowly releasing the leg back up to the stretched position. Hold for 10-20 seconds in the static stretch, and repeat.
Mariah Heller is a Certified Massage Therapist here at Sacramento Massage Studio.
After spending eight years in the fitness industry and serving many clients with chronic pain, Mariah realized that the industry was failing in a vital way: there were no solutions for the busy professional who simply didn’t have the time or resources to spend on lengthy classes or expensive personal trainers.
She is the Author of the eBook Pain-Free Fitness and Living. You can find more pictures and step-by-step guides from her website 10minutefit.com.
Follow her on Instagram @coachmariahpainfreefitness.
Tag: Relieve Hamstring Pain
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