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Hamstring Stretch Exercise

The hamstring stretch is a fundamental exercise that targets the muscles located at the back of the thigh. 

  • These muscles play a critical role in many daily movements, from walking and running to bending over. 
  • This article delves into the nuances of the hamstring stretch exercise, outlining its execution, the muscles it targets, its benefits, and other vital information.

Army PRT Hamstring Stretch Exercise

Hamstring Stretch
Hamstring Stretch Exercise

The hamstring stretch is the final exercise in the recovery drill. This stretch focuses on increasing the flexibility of the knee and hip.

Starting Position

  • Seated position.
  • Arms at the sides.
  • Palms on the floor.


Upon the command “ready stretch”:

  • Reach forward with both hands.
  • Aim toward the feet.
  • Grasp the feet, ankle, or lower legs.
  • Ensure the knees are straight without locking them.
  • Hold this stretch position for 20 to 30 seconds.

On the command “starting position move”:

  • Return to the starting position.

Again, on the command “ready stretch”:

  • Repeat the first stretch position, reaching slightly further.

On the command “starting position move”:

  • Return to the starting position.

Muscles Worked

The primary muscles targeted during the hamstring stretch are, as the name suggests, the hamstrings. These consist of three separate muscles:

  1. Biceps Femoris: The outermost of the hamstring muscles.
  2. Semimembranosus: Located medially and deep to the semitendinosus.
  3. Semitendinosus: Positioned between the biceps femoris and semimembranosus.

Together, these muscles extend the hip and flex the knee, making them essential for numerous activities.

How to Perform the Hamstring Stretch at Home

Seated Stretch:

  • Sit on the floor with one leg extended straight and the other bent, so the sole of the foot is against the inner thigh of the extended leg.
  • Lean forward from the hips (not the waist) towards the toes of the extended leg until you feel a gentle stretch.
  • Hold for 20-30 seconds, and then switch legs.

Standing Stretch:

  • Stand upright and place one foot in front of you on a raised surface like a step or a bench.
  • Keeping that leg straight, flex the foot so the toes point towards you.
  • Lean forward from the hips until a stretch is felt in the hamstring of the raised leg.
  • Hold for 20-30 seconds, and then switch to the other leg.

Lying Down Stretch:

  • Lie on your back with both legs extended.
  • Lift one leg and hold the back of the thigh, calf, or ankle.
  • Gently pull the leg towards you while keeping both hips on the floor until a stretch is felt.
  • Hold for 20-30 seconds and switch legs.

Benefits of the Hamstring Stretch

  • Increased Flexibility: Regular hamstring stretching can increase flexibility, making daily activities easier and improving athletic performance.
  • Reduction in Lower Back Pain: Tight hamstrings can contribute to lower back pain. Stretching them can relieve tension and reduce discomfort.
  • Improved Posture: Flexible hamstrings allow for a more upright sitting and standing posture.
  • Injury Prevention: Stretching the hamstrings can prevent strains and other related injuries, especially in activities that involve running or jumping.
  • Enhanced Blood Flow: Stretching promotes circulation, ensuring that the muscles receive adequate oxygen and nutrients.

Important Tips and Considerations

  • Always warm up before stretching to increase blood flow to the muscles and enhance their elasticity.
  • Avoid bouncing or jerking movements; the stretch should be smooth and controlled.
  • Do not stretch to the point of pain. A gentle pull or tension is all that’s required.
  • Consistency is key. For lasting benefits, incorporate hamstring stretches into your daily routine.


The hamstring stretch is an integral part of any fitness or wellness routine. Its benefits span from enhancing flexibility to preventing potential injuries, underlining its importance. 

By understanding the proper technique and recognizing its advantages, one can integrate it effectively into their regimen for improved overall health and physical performance.

George N.