PURPOSE increases flexibility in the hamstrings to relieve and prevent tension in the legs and lower back; stimulates blood flow from the lower half of the body to the heart SETUP Prop the ball or heel of one foot onto a sturdy platform (such as a bench, step or low sidewalk) that’s no higher than your hips with your leg fully extended. Keep your standing leg in parallel, and square off your hips and shoulders. Rest your hands on your lower back, or place them on your hips.
Standing Hamstring Stretch Photo Gallery
1 . Slowly hinge forward from your hips; hold the stretch for 2–3 breaths, inhaling through your nose and exhaling through your mouth. Repeat on your other side.
MODIFICATIONS If your hamstrings are tight and you feel your back or hips twisting as you move, slightly bend your elevated knee and avoid leaning forward. If you find it difficult to have your standing leg in parallel, allow your foot to turn slightly out from your hip.
VARIATION Try adding a gentle point and flex of your foot for an additional stretch in your calf.
Michelle Morton has been teaching classical Pilates with an extensive background and training in Kathy Grant work since 2004. Her acute ability and awareness to understand and see the body in its entirety has allowed her great success in helping people change their bodies and thinking surrounding movement, posture and injury prevention regardless of age, size and limitations. For more information, visit pilatesgirlnyc.com.