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3 Stretches for Strong, Flexible Hamstrings


Target Your Hamstrings

Tight hamstrings may lead to lower-back pain, says Dana Strong, a yoga teacher at Be Yoga and at Exhale Spa in New York City. Do three sets of any of these moves to limber up.

Beginner: Strap Stretch

  1. Lying on back, raise left leg and place the center of a yoga strap around arch of left foot.
  2. Keeping right leg on floor, slowly extend left leg toward the ceiling, or as high as you comfortably can. Don't yank on the strap or allow right leg to lift off the floor.
  3. Hold for 8 breaths; repeat on other side.

Intermediate: Standing Stability Ball

  1. Extend your left leg and place heel on a stability ball, keeping foot flexed.
  2. Bend forward from the waist, reaching both hands toward left foot.
  3. Hold for 8 breaths; repeat on opposite side.

Advanced: Single-Leg Headstand

  1. Kneel facing a wall with hands clasped together and forearms on floor, elbows shoulder-width apart.
  2. Place crown of head on floor by hands. Lift knees; carefully walk toes closer to elbows and lift one foot at a time, coming into a headstand with heels supported against wall.
  3. Lower left leg to 90 degrees; switch sides and repeat 4 times on each side without placing feet back on floor.