Loosening the Hamstrings using a softball

Welcome, I am Brian Hagan with HealthySteps.  This video is on self care for the Hamstrings Muscles. Tight Hamstrings (the muscles of the back of the leg) can have a major impact on the health of your hip and back. Also tight Hamstring Muscles are at risk of tearing, which can be painful and debilitating.   I hope this is helpful and please feel free to give us feedback. 


This video is about working the Hamstrings Muscles in order to get rid of the scar tissue and adhesion that have accumulated over the years. Scar tissue and adhesions cause you pain soreness, stiffness, lose of flexibility, loss of range of motion and increases the risk of injury to the muscle. Before performing this or any activity I always recommend discussing this with your doctor. Always start slow and easy into the activity.

So how do we do that. Well we are going to use a softball to help break up those hamstrings. The reason for this is that the foam roller can not get deep enough to do the job. We need something harder and more focused. The softball is perfect for this. A quick note here a lacrosse ball works just as well.

The starting position for this techniques is to sit on the floor with your legs straight out in front of you. Bend the non-working leg until the knee is completely bent. The working leg stays straight and on the floor. You are going to want to put a moderate stretch into your Hamstrings. (you feel a gentle stretch but no pain) Try to sit upright ( upper body at 90 degrees to your lower body) as much as you can without straining the hamstrings or your back. Some people this is a good gentle stretch in the hamstrings. For others this is to much, and that is okay. Lower your upper body until the tightness reduces but you still have a gentle stretch in the hamstrings. For some people it means your upper body is at 45 degrees. What every works safely for you.

Place the softball right below the sit bone. The sit bone is the actual part of the skeleton that you sit on when you are sitting. To find it place you hand on your Gluteus Maximus (Your Butt) and apply a little bit of pressure and slide your hand down toward your leg. You should feel a bony bump. That is your sit bone. You are going to place the softball below that bone. Because this bone is where all three hamstring attach.

This is your starting point. Your objective is to roll the softball slowly down the Hamstrings until you reach approximately 1/2 inch from the back of the knee. Now you have three Hamstrings. One on the outside of the leg and two on the inner part of the leg. To work the outer one simple rotate your foot so that it is facing outward. To work the inner two, simple rotate the foot inward. Slowly work your way down the hamstring stopping to work those area that seem especially tight. Work your way down the hamstring muscle to approximately 1/2 inch above the back of the knee. Then roll back up the hamstring to the sit bone. Again you want to work all three hamstring muscles. It takes roughly a minute or two to work one leg. Once you are done, remove the softball and bend the leg you just worked. Now we want to loosen the tendons of the hamstrings. Slide your hand down your leg to just above the back of the knee. You should feel fairly tight bands on both side of the knees. These are the tendons of the hamstrings. Take your fingers and gentle push up into them. Now bend and straighten your leg. This helps the tendon release helping the entire muscle to relax. Finish with a nice gentle hamstring stretch, by straightening your legs, straighten your upper body and lean your upper body toward your feet. Be gentle and breath into the stretch. Always remember to do both side.

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