Lower Leg Exercises
Supine Hamstrings Stretch
- Target Body Part:
- Legs - Calves and Shins, Legs - Thighs
- No Equipment
Starting Position: Lie flat on your back on the floor / mat adjacent to a wall edge (corner) or in a door jam. Elevate one leg to rest against the wall while the other leg will lie flat on the floor / mat past the wall edge or door jam. Adjust your position to allow you to rest as much of the back of the elevated leg against the wall without having to lift your hips off the floor and point your toes towards the ceiling. Extend your arms outwards at shoulder level with palms facing upwards and stiffen (“brace”) your abdominal muscles to stabilize your spine.
Gently exhale and extend your leg slowly by contracting your quads while pulling your toes downwards towards your body, this will increase the stretch in your hamstrings and calf muscles. Do not allow any movement in your hips and low back during this stretch.
Hold this position for 15 – 30 seconds then relax and return to your starting position. Perform 2 – 4 repetitions then change your position and repeat with the opposite leg.
Exercise Variation: Progress this by tilting your pelvis (hips) anteriorly (forward) to increase the stretch within the hamstrings. While in the stretched position with your knee extended and toes pulled downwards, increase the arch in your lower back, which tilts your hips forward and increases the magnitude of the hamstrings stretch.
This stretch with pelvic tilts can be completed more dynamically by completing 1 set of 5 - 10 repetitions with each leg, holding the tilted position for 1 - 2 seconds.
To maximize the benefits of a stretch and reduce the potential for injury, it is often important to stretch only to the point of tension, avoid bouncing and perform the pelvic tilting movement slowly.