It’s not unusual for the trainers here at Framework Personal Training in Reno to have people ask them about tight hamstrings. Here’s the thing – the anatomy of the hamstring means that a short muscle muscle can be mistaken for a tight muscle. And since muscle shortening is a common byproduct of immobilization or even just lack of movement, that’s a common mistake. The good news? You can take the tight hamstring test to determine exactly what you’re dealing with.
Tight or Short? Here’s How to Tell
True hamstring tightness is a neuromusculoskeletal system issue. If your brain detects instability somewhere in your body, it uses the nervous system to send a message, increasing tone in your hamstrings. It’s a natural protective measure, but it can have an unintended effect – making us feel like we need to stretch out that muscle even though the tightness is actually related to a need for stability.
To determine whether you’re dealing with a tight or short hamstring, try this test.
- Begin by lying on your back with one leg extended straight out and on the ground.
- Bend your other knee to a 90 degree angle with the foot relaxed.
- Slowly extend the leg of the knee that is bent. It should extend completely, or reach about 10 degrees shy of extension Normal hamstring flexibility at the knee joint is 170 to 180 degrees.
- If your test is positive, try wrapping a luggage strap, yoga strap or towel around the foot, and then repeating the test steps. Effectively stretching your hamstrings can help with injury prevention.
Questions about the tight hamstring test, or other aspects related to fitness and wellness? We’re happy to help. You can contact us directly or comment below, and we’ll write a blog post answering your question.