How to tackle ‘tight’ hamstrings
Static stretches have long been thought to be the solution for short or ‘tight’ feeling muscles – however there is little evidence to support long term benefits of static stretching and most changes in muscle length are usually short lived and only last up to 30 minutes following. Unless performed consistently over long periods of time static stretching may not be the best solution for improving muscle flexibility.
Recent studies have explored the effectiveness of eccentric lengthening exercises to achieve long term changes in muscle length. Eccentric exercises involve a stretching and strengthening component at the same time – the targeted muscle is being used as it is being lengthened.
Eccentric exercises have also been shown to reduce risk of injury and changes can occur in as little as 10 days. For hamstrings – eccentric exercises may include deadlifts or Nordic hamstring exercises. But my favourite hamstring eccentric exercise is the Arabesque – watch this video to try it out.