The Fitness Fixer
The Fitness Fixer

Doorway Hamstring Stretch

Here is a hamstring stretch that is relaxing to do, more effective than bending over to touch toes, and doesn't pressure the lower back or neck discs. The doorway hamstring stretch trains healthful positioning that makes straighter posture feel natural in daily life when standing up and gives a better stretch while lying down. Reader Ivy from New Zealand sent in the photo at right of doing this stretch so well. Thank you Ivy.

  • Lie face up in a doorway.
  • Lift one leg up to rest against the wall or doorjamb.
  • Keep your body, shoulders, head, and other leg relaxed comfortably flat on the floor.
  • Keep both hips flat on the floor. Don't let your hips round under you. Don't let the leg on the floor get lifted upward along with the leg you are stretching. If it raises, that often indicates a tight hip. Gently keeping the leg down on the floor stretches the hip, giving additional benefit.
  • Relax and breathe. Smile. Hold for a few seconds, then switch legs using the other side of the door or wall.
  • For more stretch, move your whole body further into the doorway.
  • To add stretch for the back of your calf and bottom of your foot, pull your toes back and downward, using your shin muscles, a towel, or your hand if you can reach.

It is not the case that you must bend the other knee to protect your back or prevent muscle strain. It is not harmful to keep the leg on the floor comfortably straight and stretched flat against the floor. Keeping the leg down makes the stretch more functional and transferable to daily life movement. Several Fitness Fixer articles cover why - here is one, Fast Fitness - Don't Shorten Hip When Stretching Hamstring. Relax and enjoy this stretch.

Readers, send me your photos and success stories showing healthy movement during real life. Don't be shy.



Read more success stories of these methods and send your own. Subscribe to The Fitness Fixer, free. Click "updates via e-mail" (under trumpet) upper right. 
Before asking questions, see if your answers are already here by clicking labels under posts, links in posts, archives at right, and The Fitness Fixer Index. For personal medical questions - Replies to Medical Questions. Limited Class spaces for personal feedback. Top students may apply for certification through Learn more in Dr. Bookspan's Books.

Photo taken by Ivy's neighbor Joan Cleveland
  • 1
Was this article helpful? Yes No

About the Author


Dr. Bookspan is an award-winning scientist whose goal is to make exercise easier and healthier.