Deep Stretch the Hamstring
From the www.livestrong.com website, by Beth Rifkin
Tight hamstrings not only interfere with your ability to walk and run effectively, but they can lead to neck and back pain as well. The hamstrings, which are located on the back of your thigh, consist of three muscles that run from the bottom of your pelvis to just below the knee. An imbalance between the hamstrings and the quadriceps, which are located on the front of the thigh, can lead to muscle strains and tears. Strengthening and deep stretching your hamstrings can help you avoid injuries.
Reclining Hamstring Stretch
Lie on your back on an exercise mat. Stretch your legs straight out in front of you.
Raise your right foot toward the ceiling and flex your foot, as if you are standing on the ceiling. Keep your left leg and hip glued to the ground. Place a strap, such as a yoga strap, or towel around the center of your foot and take an end of the strap or towel in each hand.
Pull your right leg toward your head, gently and slowly, using the strap or towel to assist you. Continue pulling to obtain a deeper stretch. Stop at any point if you feel pain in your hamstring or hip.
Hold the stretch for 30 seconds and then slowly release your right leg back to the floor. Repeat on the left leg.
Seated Forward Bend
Sit up tall on an exercise mat and extend your legs straight out in front of you with your feet flexed. Engage your abdominal muscles and maintain a straight back as much as possible during the stretch.
Hold your strap or towel in your hand and bend at the hips to lower your torso toward your knees.
Wrap the strap or towel around both of your feet and hold an end in each hand. Gently pull on the strap or towel to bring your torso closer toward your thighs to obtain a deeper stretch in your hamstrings.
Hold the stretch for 30 seconds and gently release.
Standing Hamstring Stretch
Stand approximately 3 feet in front of a bar or bench that is at hip height.
Lift your right foot and place the back of your heel onto the bar, so that your leg is straight and your foot is flexed.
Bend at the waist and drape your upper body over your right thigh, while clasping your hands around your right foot, which will help you deepen the hamstring stretch.
Hold for 30 seconds and then gently release. Repeat on the left leg.