Foam Roller Hamstring Roll
This article will show you several ways to foam roll your hamstring muscles. These big and strong lower body muscles can get really tight and sore especially after lots of lunges, deadlifts or lying leg curls. The foam roller hamstring roll is a great exercise for releasing tension and tightness in your hamstring muscles. Since this area of the body is not so hard to reach and stretch using basic stretching exercises, foam rolling hamstring muscles is therefore not necessary, but recommended.
How to foam roll your hamstrings?
Follow these instructions in order to complete the exercise safely and effectively. Here is how to roll out your hamstring muscles.
STARTING POSITION (SETUP): Sit with your legs straight out in front and place the roller under the back of your knee, so that its long axis is perpendicular to your body. Raise your buttocks off the mat, keeping your head, neck, and spine aligned. Place your hands behind you on the floor to support your body weight.
MOVEMENT (ACTION): Using your arms, push yourself over the roller, working from your knee to the base of your buttocks, then back to the knee. Repeat for at least 30 seconds. If you go slightly too far and roll into the buttock, it’s not a disaster, but it is better if you can keep focused on just working the hamstring.
Additional tips & tricks & pros
Here are some useful hints for foam rolling your hamstrings:
- You can roll both right and left leg together but you can get a more intense massage if you do one let at a time (see exercise variations).
- If this still doesn’t provide great enough stimulation, choose a foam roller that’s harder, narrower, or knobbier.
- Be sure to rock your weight from side to side searching for tension along the outside and inside links of the hamstring. In other words, play around with the different angles by slightly rotating your body.
- An added bonus of self-myofascial release technique on the hamstrings is its effect on the appearance of the skin, which can look dimpled due to fat pressing up through fascial adhesions.
Is rolling the hamstrings painful?
Not at all. And here is why. For the majority of people in modern society, the hamstrings are not short and tight. Rather, they are long and taut, probably because they are helping to stabilize the pelvis. When foam rolling the hamstrings, you may not feel the same discomfort as with the calves, the quadriceps, or other areas. As explained, they may not actually be short and tight—therefore, they may not be painful. The answer is not to find a way to make it painful by getting on a harder roller or having a friend stand on your leg. Instead, the hamstrings may not need it as much other muscles. Rolling the hamstrings is still valuable if you choose to do it, though, since you can use the technique to increase fluid movement.
The single leg variant (rolling each leg individually)
Start by placing the foam roller under the back of your left knee (under your left hamstring muscle), with opposite knee bent. Keep your buttocks just off the floor. Start rolling and make super that you hit all trigger points. Do this for about 30 seconds, then switch to another leg and repeat.
Crossing your legs at the ankles/knees – adds extra pressure
For nearly all foam-rolling exercises, you can decrease/increase the intensity of the exercise by decreasing/increasing the amount of weight you place on the given muscle. You can do this by supporting more/less of your body weight with your hands or your legs, whatever’s resting on the floor.
If you want to create a deeper release, stack one leg on the top of the other to initiate more pressure on this muscle group. In this case you’ll be working one leg at a time.
Cross your right leg over the left one at the knees. Slowly roll forward and back over the foam roller. Repeat for at least 30 seconds. Reverse legs – cross your left leg over the right and massage your right leg.
Muscles engaged in foam roller hamstring roll
This foam rolling exercise targets the hamstrings. Your hamstrings lie on the backs of your thighs underneath your buttocks. While most people who have jobs that require long periods of sitting don’t experience tightness in their upper hamstrings, the muscles fundamental to hip mobility and health is paramount.
It should be noted that the hamstrings are very different from the quadriceps. The quadriceps are large and powerful single-joint muscles, whereas the hamstrings are not. Most people have much larger quadriceps than hamstrings because their function is very different.
Closing thoughts: Foam roller hamstring roll
This exercise helps reduce muscle tension and imbalances in the hamstring muscles at the back of the thigh. Muscle tension is particularly common in runners who have a tendency to over-stride, or anyone with a misaligned pelvis. Foam roller hamstring roll is actually a very pleasant exercise to do because it doesn’t require you to get into a difficult position and you won’t constantly be thinking about how you should be supporting your bodyweight. To a casual observer it looks like we’re just sitting on the foam roller – but, of course, we’re not.