The correct way to fix tight hamstrings

Lower back pain is one of the most common ailments in the athletic and general fitness population. Unfortunately, most people who think they're doing the right thing to correct the problem aren't actually doing anything -- and may actually be setting themselves up for more pain.

One of the most frequent culprits for back pain is tight hamstrings, which cause the lower back to round when executing hip-hinge movements. So why do you see so many people putting themselves in that compromising position when trying to stretch their hamstrings, like this guy?

If you're trying to alleviate lower back pain by stretching your hamstrings, don't do this.

If you're trying to alleviate lower back pain by stretching your hamstrings, don't do this.

Try this approach instead. In this post, Dr. John Rusin explains the benefits of the 90-90 Active Hamstring Stretch, which allows you to establish and maintain a neutral spine and pelvis against the floor.

This is much safer and more effective than the standard standing hamstring stretch. 

Try this movement instead and see your hamstrings become more functional without putting stress on your lower back or reinforcing poor movement patterns.

At Max Velocity, we incorporate a variety of hip-hinge movements into our prehab and corrective exercise programs, always starting from a position of stability with the spine and pelvis neutral. This is one of our go-to movements, the Active Straight Leg Raise (h/t Athletes Acceleration).


As our athletes become more advanced and able to stabilize their spine and pelvis in neutral from a free-standing position, we advance them to the Hamstring Stretch with Plate Elevation. It's one of the best ways to go after high hamstring tightness.

Back pain? Difficulty with deadlifts or cleans? Fix and lengthen your hamstrings with the most effective mobility magic we have found.

So instead of wasting your time with hamstring stretches that offer no benefit -- and worse, could set you up for injury -- try some of these better options. Feel free to leave your feedback and questions in the comments.