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Quick Hamstring Stretch At Work

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Bending over from a stand to touch the toes may "work" to stretch the hamstrings, but puts degenerative forces on the discs, whether you keep your back straight or rounded. It is also not a functional way to stretch. It is not done in the manner your body moves in regular life and does not train healthful movement.


One of my students, Vikki, demonstrates a nice, quick, and effective hamstring stretch, done standing straight, photo at right, that you can easily do during your regular day:

  • Stand facing a wall (or tree as in the photo) just about arm's length away.
  • Make sure both feet are facing forward, not turned out.
  • Lift one foot to press the heel against the wall at about hip height.
  • Peek down to see if your standing foot is straight, and has not rotated outward, not even a small amount.
  • Lift your upper body to stand straight.
  • Don't let your hip curl under or your back round.
  • Smile and breathe.
  • Hold a few seconds and switch legs.

Vikki and co-worker Cindy are State Paramedics. Cindy is the Director of Services and Vikki is in charge of Search and Rescue. They support firefighting crews in the field. When there is a large fire in their service area, they are posted at strategic spots near the fires, and might treat 1-2 firefighters a day with various injuries, dehydration, hyperthermia, and difficulty breathing due to smoke inhalation. During the rest of their daily work, they do a lot of heavy lifting and carrying.

Cindy and Vikki use the back pain reduction techniques, and the exercises and stretches of this blog and my classes for their work.

Readers, send in your photos and stories.


Photo by Cindy Button, paramedic


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About the Author


M.Ed, PhD, FAWM

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

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