EXERCISE 3: Lower Hamstring Stretch
To stretch the hamstrings at the back of the thigh, near the knee. Keeping the hamstrings flexible at the knee can help cyclists adopt the optimal saddle height for pedalling efficiency.
Many people use combination stretches that flatten and stretch the lower back whilst stretching the hamstrings. For this particular stretch the goal is to maintain a curve in your lower back as you adopt the stretch position, isolating the tight spot behind the knee.
Initially you may not feel the stretch but if you follow the instructions you will be stretching the target zone, and over time will begin to feel it more. For some people with a weak lower back, adopting this stretch position can make your back ache. Keep practising and you will both strengthen your lower back and get a more effective hamstring stretch.
Lie flat on your back and slide one hand under your lower back.
If there is not already a space here, arch your back to make room for your hand.
Throughout the whole of this stretch process you must maintain this gap.
Raise one leg with it bent so that your thigh is at ninety-degrees to your body.
Support your leg by holding your thigh behind the knee.
Slowly straighten this leg towards the ceiling at the same time pulling your toes gently back towards your knee.
The stretch position is the point at which you feel the stretch come on behind the knee, or you can’t raise your leg any further without flattening the lower back.
Hold for 5 seconds, before relaxing out of the stretch by lowering your leg for 5 seconds.
Repeat 5-7 times before changing sides.
If you notice you feel tighter on one side than the other, start with that side and come back to it for more stretching. Continue to favour your tighter side until you feel more even.