Want to know how gymnasts can fold over and touch their toes so easily? They’ve sufficiently stretched their hamstrings!
Well, duh, right?! Well, if we, as adults, measured our health by our flexibility, some of us might be considered stiffs! Ha! According to the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM), “Adults should do flexibility exercises at least two or three days each week to improve range of motion.”
So, our stretch of the week is what we call “The Door-Jam Hammie”–aka “The Jammie Hammies” since they are so great to do just before bed. The hamstring muscles are a group of muscles on the backside of your leg between your knee and your bottom and are most commonly used for knee flexion and hip extension. When these muscles are tight, touching our toes is nearly impossible–as is living a long, injury free life! According to the American Council on Exercise (ACE), remaining (or becoming) flexible has MANY benefits including improved posture, increased physical and mental relaxation, decreased muscle tension and soreness, and a decreased risk of injury. That’s enough to get you in a door-jam a few days a week, right?!
All you’ve got to do is extend one leg through the door and rest the heel of your other leg up along the door frame. As it becomes more comfortable, slide your bottom leg and hip further through the door keeping your raised heel/leg up where it is along the door frame. Hold each stretch for at least 10-15 seconds, exhaling as you gently stretch your hamstrings. ACE suggests that you don’t bounce or strain your stretch too far, and if it HURTS, ease up a bit. It won’t take long before you notice sitting with your legs extended is easier–and soon you’ll be kissing your knees just in time for Valentine’s Day! Won’t your gymnast LOVE that?!
Best of luck!