Apr 27th, 2013
Author: PJF Performance
The Lunge to Hamstring Stretch is a great mobility drill that athletes of all sports can benefit from. The lunge portion of the exercise is primarily for mobility of the hips, particularly the hip flexors of the trailing leg and the hip extensors of the front leg. By keeping your feet planted in the lunge position, placing your hands on the floor, and extending the knees, you achieve a great dynamic stretch in the hamstrings.
The positioning of the hips during the standing portion of this exercise makes the hamstring stretch unique. Of course, the hamstrings are knee flexors and hip extensors, so any typical hamstring stretch will require the exact opposite- knee extension with simultaneous hip flexion. During most hamstring stretches we begin with full extension in the knees, and then flex from the hips until full ROM is reached. With this particular exercise, we are doing the opposite- meaning that we start in full hip flexion and then attempt to extend the knees.
During normal hamstring stretches, do you ever notice that you only feel the stretch in the inferior portion of the hamstrings, namely, near the popliteal space? That’s because the knee’s are in full extension, so the inferior portion of the muscle is elongated maximally while the superior portion still has extra ROM as the hips don’t reach a great amount of flexion. With the Lunge to Hamstring Stretch your hips are in full flexion, so the superior portion of the muscle is elongated, while the inferior portion of the hamstrings still has extra ROM until the knees are extended.
Take home message- the opposite pattern of hip flexion/knee extension allows the hamstrings to undergo greater elongation at the superior portion of the hamstring. This is a good thing, especially if you only feel the stretch around your knee during normal hamstring stretches.
Take home message #2- if your not a nerd, don’t feel obligated to read my explanation. Watch the video, learn it, perform it, it’s all good in da hood.