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Seated Hamstring Stretches

Rest Your Weary Legs! Must-Do Seated Hamstring Stretches

Aching back, sore hips, knee pain — many of these ailments have one culprit: tight hamstrings. Here are four effective stretches you can do on the floor if you're tired after a run or while catching your favorite TV show.

Head to Knee

  • Begin in a seated position with both legs straight out in front of you.
  • Bend your left knee and place the sole of your foot against your inner thigh, pulling your heel as close to your body as you can. Inhale to sit up nice and tall, lengthening through the spine.
  • Exhale to fold your torso over the right leg. Rest your hands on the floor on either side of your leg or on your shin, or, if your hamstrings and hips are more flexible, reach for your foot — the left hand holds the right wrist.
  • Rest your forehead on your leg and stay here for five breaths, being sure to continue lengthening the spine as you relax the shoulders away from your ears.
  • Inhale to release your hands, sit up, and switch sides.

Folded Hurdler

  • Extend both legs out in front of you. Bend the left knee, placing the shin and top of the foot on the floor beside your left thigh.
  • Inhale to sit up tall, lengthening through the spine.
  • Stay here if this is enough of a stretch, or exhale to fold your torso over the right leg. Rest your hands on the floor on either side of your leg or on your shin, or, if your hamstrings and hips are more flexible, reach for your foot — the left hand holds the right wrist.
  • Rest your forehead on your leg and stay here for five breaths, making sure to lengthen the spine as you relax the shoulders away from the ears.
  • Inhale to release your hands, sit up, and switch sides.

One-Legged Seated Wide Straddle

  • Sit on the floor with your legs in a straddle position with about three to four feet between your heels. Make sure your toes and knees are pointing straight up.
  • Turn your torso to face the right leg. Inhale to sit with a tall spine, extending the crown of your head away from your hips. Then exhale to fold over the right leg.
  • After five breaths, rise up, rotate the torso to face the left leg, and exhale to fold for another five breaths.

Seated Wide Straddle

  • Remain in the wide straddle position and exhale to slowly fold forward at your hips, pressing your belly button and chest forward to prevent your back from rounding.
  • Either support the weight of your torso with your hands on your legs or feet, or rest them out in front of you. Fold as far as you can with straight legs.
  • Hold for five breaths and then sit up.
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