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Hamstrings are tightening up

LaurenFromTX
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02/28/2011 - 8:52pm
Hamstrings are tightening up

I completed the intensive course two weeks ago, and while I am seeing change in my posture and am able to antevert my pelvis, my hamstrings and glutes have gotten super tight from the stretch sitting, stack sitting, and glidewalking I've been doing.  I have had tight hamstrings for a very long time, but they have gotten much tighter since the course.  This is pulling on and causing pain in my lower back and knees.  While the sitting postures and glidewalking are helpful for the spine and pelvis position, I now can't seem to get the hamstrings to calm down and lengthen.  I self-massage with roller, balls, do stretches, and get deep tissue massage, and while it's immediately helpful, it doesn't last, and the hamstring tightness returns the next day.  I don't see that I'm making progress with it.  I am hip hinging also, and I can feel a pull on the back of the legs when doing that, but I don't want to overdo that, and find it is difficult to do it when the hamstrings are so tight.

Any advice?  Thank you.

ohredwood
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10/01/2011 - 8:40pm

I'm a new member here, and not sure how often the moderators get involved with their forum but I'll give you what information I know. Being a male, seems I tend to have tighter hamstrings than many women do. Mine are better that a lot of guys though as far as hamstring flexibility but not as good as others.

Before I came to this forum, I have worked with a Therapist on trigger point therapy for about two years now. You mentioned the balls above so I'm assuming you have some experience with this too? Have you come across any TP's in your hamstrings? I get em all the time if I just stretch the hamstrings without doing a roll through first.

But what else I wanted to tell you is, are you also treating and stretching your calves, and hips, flexors, psoas, piriformis, low back QL's? If you have tightness in these or TP's they are going to limit your hamstring flexibility as well since they could be tight. It's like dominos or a chain of events when it comes to the body, because one bone will have two or more attach muscles, which are connected to another bone, connected to more muscles, you get my point I'm sure.

charlenehannibal
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Hip hinging and stretching the hamstrings when you can (look at the Appendix 1 from 8 Steps) will lenghten your hamstrings as you go forward with the Gokhale Method.  If you were used to tucking your pelvis, then, now as you begin to antevert and use the gluteus medius to power your walking, then the hamstrings are going to need to find a new default length.  What is likely, is that your hamstrings have not gotten tighter or shorter, but they feel that way, since they connect your sitz bones (ischial tuberosities) and the back of your knee (there are various points depending on the particular muscle, but generally the muscle group inserts to the fibula or tibia).  So, when the pelvis is anteverted then the hamstrings must have a longer resting length.  In fact, many people are pulled into a tuck when their hamstrings are short.

In stacksitting, you may want to make sure your knees are angled slightly downward, so that your hamstrings don't pull you into a tuck.  Experiment with your glidewalking as well to maintain the anterversion and get the most use our of your glutes without tucking.  This may involve taking a shorter stride for the time being. In fact, a little bit of a heel on your shoes can be beneficial to bridge the gap and give your hamstrings a break.  Over time, with a constant practice of hip-hinging and hamstring stretching, the backs of your legs will likely accomodate the correct pelvic position, a long stride, and barefoot walking.

 

Let us know how it goes!

-Charlene Hannibal

Gokhale Method Instructor, Bay Area

LaurenFromTX
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02/28/2011 - 8:52pm

Thanks for your reply, Charlene.  It's been a few weeks since I posted this question, and in that time, I have had significant improvement.  I have been challenging my hamstrings, and also my adductors, because I can feel that they are also pulling and restricting my movement when I try to hip hinge.  So, I hip hinge throughout the day (when standing and sitting), and stretch my hamstrings and adductors every day (as well as my calves).

I recognize now that I was a big-time pelvis tucker for years.  When I learned what it felt like to antevert the pelvis, and tried to correct when I caught myself in a tuck, I did go through a period where I could feel myself being pulled into a tuck by the tight hamstrings.  It's definitely getting better.

I will experiment with different heel heights and see how that affects things.  I like to walk in Vivo Barefoot shoes (no heel height at all), but have athletic shoes with slight heel heights.

kwaldeck
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09/14/2011 - 4:28pm

Have similar problem and have yet to find something that relaxes the hamstrings for a longer time frame

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