May 21, 2016 - The video on this page was replaced again with an even better version. This video shows a facilitated stretch with the leg straight, which will stretch the proximal fibers of the hamstrings, then with the knee bent, which will stretch the distal fibers.
Hamstring Self Stretch
September 29, 2015 - The video on this page was replaced with a more recent video that shows this technique better.
Stretch your clients hamstrings by raising their leg while keeping the knee straight. Measure how far it stretches, then gently bring your clients leg back to the table.
Bring your clients knee toward their chest, then try to straighten the knee. When you reach a point of maximum stretch, have your client try to flex their knee against your resistance, using only one-tenth of their strength for 10 seconds. After the ten seconds have your client try to straighten their knee, then you assist the stretch at the end. This can be repeated several times, followed by a straight leg stretch to see the increase in range of motion.
When your client presses against your resistance, they are fatiguing the hamstrings, allowing it to stretch further because of the principle of post-isometric relaxation. When your client tries to stretch the hamstrings they are engaging their quadriceps, which by the principle of reciprocal inhibition will make the hamstrings weaker and allow them to stretch more.
The utilization of both these principles, post-isometric relaxation and reciprocal inhibition, make facilitated stretching very effective.
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