How do you release tight hamstrings?

Believe it or not tight hamstrings aren’t all that common, they tend to be weak rather than tight for the majority of athletes showing problems with range or discomfort. The piriformis muscle in the hips tends to be the main culprit, when it begins to spasm it often presses slightly against the sciatic nerve and restricts range which appears to be hamstring tightness. Only a physical assessment with a qualified biomechanic or clinician will determine whether it’s your piriformis or hamstrings really at fault.

The piriformis muscle is important for running because it helps to stabilise the hip joint and rotate the thigh outward. It also helps to keep the pelvis level while running and can prevent injury to the hip, knee and lower back. Additionally, the piriformis muscle plays a crucial role in maintaining proper form and alignment while running, which can help to improve performance and prevent fatigue.
When the piriformis is in spasm, it can cause pain and discomfort in the hip and lower back. It can also cause a decreased range of motion and flexibility in the hip joint. The muscle spasm can also compress the sciatic nerve that runs under or through the muscle, causing pain, tingling, or numbness in the leg, this is called piriformis syndrome. It can cause issues with running and also lead to compensations in the gait, which can lead to knee, ankle or foot issues.
Piriformis Muscle Impacting On Hamstring Range

A compressed sciatic nerve can restrict the range of motion in the hamstring muscles because the sciatic nerve is responsible for providing nerve impulses to the muscles that control movement and sensation in the lower leg and foot. When the nerve is compressed, it can cause pain and muscle weakness, which can make it difficult to fully contract and relax the hamstring muscles. This can lead to a decrease in range of motion, making it difficult to fully extend the leg and an athlete is often mislabelled as having “tight hamstrings”.

So what can be done about it? Check out my videos coming next week to assist regaining full hip function.

Biomechanics Assessments

Locate & Correct Asymmetry Or Imbalances Within Your Body

I am a level 4 Biomechanics Coach, Level 2 Coach in Running Fitness and a Triathlon Coach. I’d love to help you get faster and smash your next event with a biomechanics assessment.

By locating asymmetry and imbalances in your body, I will provide a 14 day plan to correct them utilising Muscle Energy Techniques (M.E.Ts), stretches, and targeted strength exercises.

If you would like to know more, Contact Me or take a look at my Biomechanics assessment plans.

Jen Coppock
Jen Coppock
Biomechanics Coach
llangollen, North Wales