The plague of tight hamstrings

Following on from our last post (where I discovered how tight my husbands hamstrings are) and a few enquiries this week…. I bring you the plague of most of the men who come to our classes and also quite a few women!

So what is going on and why does it matter?

Why do I have tight hamstrings?

  1. Genetic. Some people are born with tight hamstrings. Generally men have tighter hamstrings than women. Sorry guys. However you can do something about it!
  2. Too more sport and not enough stretch. It is really, really, really important you stretch properly after sport or any physical activity such as walking and cycling.
  3. Lower back problems and sciatica can cause those muscles to tighten up. Also tight hamstrings can lead to back pain. A bit of a circle there.
  4. Sitting. When your legs are bent, your hamstrings are shortened and flexed. If you have a job where you sit, then you commute to work, seated and then you sit again at home it will add up to a lot of sitting hours!

Problems it can cause:

  1. Tight hamstrings can pull the pelvis back, causing lower back pain.
  2. You are more prone to an injury as the muscles are tight and not working at optimal capacity.

How to help?

  1. STRETCH. Either standing, lying or using a band.
Hamstring Stretch
Hamstring Stretch
  1. Foam rollering can help release stuck fascia.


  1. Try a sports massage on your legs to help loosen up those muscles.
  2. Stand up more and move around when you can. Find ways to reduce your sitting hours. Can you have a standing work station or build a walk into your working day? Can you change the way you commute to work or what you do in the evenings? If you do sit a lot then may sure you build some stretching time into your day.
  3. Try these moves out:
    1. Legs straight up wall with back on the floor – Lie on the floor and maintain this position for 15 minutes. You may notice your pelvis, hips and sacrum realigning and adjusting, too. When the hamstrings lengthen, it reduces the strain on your lower back. Nice.
    2. Straddle while sitting with back up wall – Sitting up tall with legs wide (The Saw starting position). Try to relax your legs and maintain this position for 5-10 minutes to stretch your adductor (inner thighs) and hamstrings.

Sitting is shaving years off you.

How long do you sit for on an average day? Think it through to include driving, eating, work, relaxing…. I bet it is longer than you would expect. Most people don’t realise how long they sit. We’ve turned into a society that wants to sit rather than stand. Standing is seen as harder work, however sitting is actually causing your body a lot of problems.

Britain has been found to be one of the most sedentary countries in the world. We spend an average of 8.9 hrs a day sitting. That’s over a third of our day sitting .

Pilates with Priya: Sitting is shaving years off your life

The Issues:
Sitting for 8-10 hrs leads to a 90% gtr risk of Diabetes and 18% greater chance dying from heart disease and certain cancers. Now those are huge statistics. No wonder diabetes is on the increase.
Sitting for 60 mins  or more impairs the  blood flow through the arteries. When the blood doesn’t flow as easily you are at higher risk of a  stroke and heart disease. A simple 5 minute walk every hour can help negate this.
Sitting leads to a tight, less mobile back, lower back pain, tight gluteal muscles, short and tight hamstrings. This can all lead to back and shoulder pain. 


Stand up every 30 mins and have a walk around.
Find more ways to stand up as you do things – e.g. take phone calls on your feet, walk instead of driving, stand up on the train.
Build in regular walks to your day  – park your car further away so you walk further, have a lunchtime walk, get a dog!
Borrow small, active children that need exercising and chasing 😉 (mine are available on loan).
Look at getting a standing work station.
Use some simple leg and back stretches and mobility exercises daily.
Build Pilates in more than once a week – find the right exercises for your body and do them daily.