The ultimate hamstring stretch to tackle triathletes’ tightest area
Get into position
Lie on the floor by an open doorway with your back flat and the leg you don’t want to stretch straight out in line with your body. Bend the knee of the other, stretching leg and put your foot against the wall, shuffling your backside right up against the wall.
Straighten your stretching leg
Slide the foot of the leg you want to stretch up the wall until it’s straight. If this is just too tight and painful, rather than keeping your knee bent (which targets the glutes rather than the hamstrings), shuffle your body away from the wall so there’s less of a bend at the hip joint.
Keep your back neutral
Once you’re in the stretch, check that your spine is in neutral. One of the benefits of stretching your hamstring this way is that you can’t cheat – the traditional foot-up-on-a-wall hamstring stretch allows you to compensate for tight hamstrings and glutes by bending your back rather than bending from the hip. So use the floor to keep your back straight and hips in line.
If you’re a typically tight triathlete, this stretch will be challenging. Breathe deeply in the stretch and aim to hold it for 30-40 seconds, building up to a minute on each side.
Flex your foot
For a deeper stretch and to get your calves and sciatic nerve involved too, flex the foot of your stretching leg, stretching your toes towards you. It won’t be comfy, but if you feel intense tingling in the foot then you may have lower back problems that need the help of a physio.
Use a version of this stretch, with both legs up, to relieve heavy legs after a hard training session.