In Ask the Trail Sisters


My hamstrings always seem to get tight after long runs.

Do you have any key stretches or tips focused around hamstrings?

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Deserae Clarke

Deserae: You can try different stretches for your hamstring, however you also want to make sure you’re hitting your quads and hips as everything is connected.  Strengthening exercises and rolling will help.  You also want to consider your form, as imbalances can cause issues, and of course the longer you run the more you’ll feel the impact.  It might be worth it to either videotape yourself or get feedback from friends on your form to get an idea of where you’re struggling.



Krissy: In addition to stretching and foam rolling, I’d offer some strengthening exercises for your hammies and glutes.

Dead lifts -Olympic lift, form is super important.

Jane Fondas – lying on your side, hips aligned, lift your top leg using your glute to lift the leg. Do set that lift the leg directly up, then drop the top leg behind (put the top leg toe to the bottom leg heel) to change the angle, then bend hips and knees to 90 degrees and do clam shell lifts – lift knee, then lift toe, return toe, then return knee.

Lateral jumps – like a skate skier side to side, land on the leg strong with you hips and body aligned. “Stick it” if you will…

These are all MUCH easier to demonstrate than write about. I hope this gives you some ideas to start.

Tara Warren Head Square HeadshotTaraHammies are the trickiest. When they bark, they bark loudly.  Make sure you’re staying well hydrated. Maybe an odd response to the question, but whenever I begin to get little tweaks here and there it almost always is a hydration issue.  I would also agree with the other ideas for stretching and overall leg flexibility. Stretch conservatively and don’t bounce or add too much push, even if you’re feeling flexy.  I invested in a pair of compression boots last summer (toe to hip). These boots have become such an important part of my training puzzle.  The relief that these boots provide gets deep into the muscle tissue and flushes out any lactic acid build-up or added stress from runs.  A lot of PTs carry these now as an alternative to deep tissue massage and can be used more on a regular basis.  Good luck!

Sophie Speidel

Sophie: Having just come off a 6-month hamstring injury, I am now a convert to pre- and post-run dynamic stretches, warm-ups and cool-downs to keep my hamstrings strong and happy. Before every run I try to get my hamstrings and glutes firing with a 5-minute lunge routine and a set of single leg Romanian deadlifts without the weight. After my run I swear by a set of leg swings (front to back and side to side), long, slow bodyweight sumo squats to open my hips, and I pull out the handy foam roller right there in the parking lot and work my hamstrings, glutes and IT Bands for about 5 minutes. I also strength train 2x weekly and always include hip and glute strengtheners (bridges, clamshells, single leg deadlifts with weight, and deadlifts) as well as use a stretch band (lying on my back, I do the hamstring stretch routine found in Hit Reset: Revolutionary Yoga For Athletes by Erin Taylor (nfi).

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  • Pam

    Thank you for this! I’ve been ignoring a sore/tight hammy/glute situation for a while and this post is going to be super helpful. Love Jasyoga too, there is a great warmup video I’ve just started using in addition to some other pre-run dynamic work.

  • Sandi Nypaver

    A lot of times tight hamstrings are caused by not engaging your glutes enough while running. Long runs would certainly bring this out the most. Exercises that engage your glutes will help, but many people still have to think about engaging their glutes (and then lower abs when the leg comes forward) while running and/or do glute engaging drills right before the run.
    (I forgot to answer this question in the email. Sorry Gina!)

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