Hey FitStudios family, Coach Stephen here, the rehabilitation and strength expert here at FitStudios.
Have you ever wondered why the people that are always complaining about tight hamstrings are the same ones always stretching them?
Stretching and mobilizing any muscle will cause it to become more tolerant to stretch, not actually increase in functional length. Remember that the body is highly adaptable to the stimuli that it encounters. If we don't give our muscles and joints an adaptive reason to change then they won't.
So when we stretch, we are telling our bodies that our muscle needs to lengthen at this particular point in time. You'll notice shortly after that the muscle returns to its normal length and we feel "tight" again.
A more effective strategy for developing functional mobility is developing "strength through length". Take a Romanian Deadlift or RDL for example; you stretch your hamstring during the lowering (eccentric) portion of the lift and then contract and shorten the muscle to lift the weight back up. This allows the hamstring to work through its full functional range of motion and gives the muscle an adaptive stimulus to lengthen.
Not only does this improve mobility and muscle length, but building strength through a full range of motion decreases your risk of injury. Think of how much more "bulletproof" your hamstrings will be if they're used to being contracted at all lengths.
So next time you think of straightening out your leg and reaching for your toe, do an RDL instead. Your hamstrings will thank you.
To your good health,
Stephen Strumos, BSc, Pn1
CanFitPro Personal Training Specialist, Certified Online Trainer, Precision Nutrition Level 1 Certified, NASM Corrective Exercise Specialist, RTS Resistance Training Specialist & ISSA Certified Strength and Conditioning