Do You Have Tight Hamstrings?

January 25, 2022
2 min read

Do Your Hamstrings and Hips Feel Tight? Let's Unveil Why.

Unarguably, one of the most important – and maybe one of the most complex – movements in exercise is hinging. This is where an athlete bends at their hips to activate the posterior chain muscles of the lower body. The lower body posterior chain muscles include the gluteus muscles, the hamstrings, the gastrocnemius (calves), and the soleus. However, if the athlete does not have access to their posterior chain muscles when they hinge, then they will compensate with other muscles to reach toward the ground, which can lead to incorrect movement patterns and even injuries. This portrayal is just one of many to support why we implement a lower body mobility screen for each of our members and athletes.

We use six different tests to identify whether an athlete has the lower body mobility necessary to move without risk and access movement patterns appropriately. The collective results from this series of tests unveils what areas in a person's body might need to be tuned up to prevent injuries and ultimately move better.

To start, we will look specifically at the posterior chain, testing if the athlete can set their core and access their mobility actively. Next looking at passive mobility, we conduct the person through a sit and reach test. Really, what we are looking for is if the person can access hamstring mobility when their pelvis is in a posterior tilt and the is taken core out of the equation.

The screening may stop there; however, if any asymmetries are revealed or any of the testing standards aren't met, then we delve into additional breakouts for further refinement. We want to delve into to sole cause of the asymmetry or fault for considerations toward training and program design.

To kick off these breakouts is the standing toe touch. This test looks at whether or not a person can elongate their hamstrings while keeping the core activated and their pelvis in proper position. Next is the Thomas test to gain insight at whether or not the hip flexors are a little tight, causing their hips to tilt forward and leading to the hamstrings always being elongated. Then, we move on the hip internal and external rotation test. This test shows us whether or not someone can internally and externally rotate their hips sufficiently. Rounding out the breakouts is the ankle mobility test. We are looking for how far their back knee tracks towards their front foot and how mobile their ankles are to see if this lower joint is affecting the function of the joints above it.

Putting all of these pieces together, the screen paints a great picture for us of what someone's lower body mobility abilities or what might be limiting them, even before getting to see them train. Using hinging as an example, if a person cannot hinge properly, it will lead to improper movement patterns or even risk of injury. The last thing anyone wants is to get hurt, so get complete your screen before you start training!


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