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Tight hamstrings

A set of tight hamstrings is all it takes to put a screeching halt to your workout. Here’s the only move you need to iron out the most common running crisis all by yourself.

Anyone who runs is all too familiar with that nasty burning sensation that can shoot up the back of your legs. Tight hamstrings can bring a good run to an abrupt halt.

“Excessive running can cause the muscles within the back of the legs to overtighten from constant use, leaving the legs stiff, tight and sometimes unbearable to exercise with the next day,” says Jeffrey H., master trainer at Washington Sports Clubs in downtown Washington, D.C.

Having a pair of helping hands to massage out the kinks would be nice, but being able to work them out on your own is a lot more practical. The next time your hamstrings stage a private revolt, take action with this easy self-massage trick:

  1. Find a sturdy wall and sit on the floor, pressing your back flat against the wall. Relax the hamstrings of your right leg by bending your knee to place your right foot flat on the floor.
  2. Place your right fist behind your right knee, pressing firmly into your thigh just below the back of your knee. Now slowly but firmly drag your fist down your leg until it reaches your buttocks. Lift your hand back up, place it below the back of your knee once more and repeat three more times. Switch legs and repeat.
  3. Next, lie faceup and hang the heel of your right foot over your left knee. Place both hands behind your right knee, wrapping your fingers behind your thigh just below the knee.
  4. Gently push your fingers into your thigh; then slowly run your hands down your leg until they reach your buttocks. Unwrap your fingers, bring them back into position just below the knee, and repeat the movement three more times. Switch legs and repeat.
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