Why I Cannot Contact My Toes & What I Can Do About It


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If you’re somebody who prides your self on making time to sweat and stretch every day, you would possibly really feel annoyed if you bend all the way down to contact your toes and may solely attain midway down your shins. You’re not alone.

Based on Sharnee Lee Scott, senior grasp coach at Lagree Health, many individuals battle with this. Tight hamstrings are even widespread amongst those that are deeply dedicated to stretch-centric regimens like yoga and Lagree (a low-impact, high-intensity exercise that focuses on strengthening and lengthening muscle tissue). So what are you able to do about it?

Why your hamstrings is perhaps tight

The battle typically tracks again to our each day habits: Sitting in sedentary positions excessively and dwelling with poor posture—like slouching or arching our decrease again. Moreover, overusing our hamstring muscle tissue and forgetting to strengthen the opposing muscle tissue (aka our quads) also can negate our greatest efforts to achieve our ft as a result of they go away our our bodies out of steadiness.

It’s additionally anatomic, Scott admits: “Some individuals simply can’t contact their toes resulting from bone buildings and limb lengths.”

The most effective stretching methods to loosen your hamstrings

Flexibility entails three issues: “Mobility of the joints, delaying the central nervous system’s mind inhibitors, and strengthening opposing muscle tissue,” says Scott. There are a couple of totally different methods that may assist to perform these targets:

Dynamic and static stretches

Scott says the most effective method is to include each dynamic (shifting) and static (holding) stretches into your routine.

Deal with shifting the legs by way of flexion and extension with management to the tip ranges—the Lagree Elevator Lunge with holds on the backside, is a superb dynamic hamstring stretch to think about, says Scott. (Should you don’t have your individual Megaformer, you’ll be able to replicate this train with sliders or in socks.) One other good dynamic stretch is “The Waterfall Stretch,” which a Effectively+Good author mentioned made her hamstrings “really feel like butter.” And don’t neglect the yoga traditional: downward canine.

Proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation

Proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation (PNF) alternates stretching and contracting the muscle group being focused. To apply it to your hamstrings, lie down in your again and seize one leg in your fingers (utilizing a strap or towel if needed): Begin by stretching as you draw the leg towards your chest, then activate the hamstrings for a couple of seconds by pushing up in opposition to your fingers or the strap, then launch and gently stretch once more for 20 to 30 seconds. Relaxation, and repeat. You need to discover that after every time you’ve contracted the hamstrings, you’re in a position to deliver the leg barely nearer to you.

However keep in mind: Every leg has three hamstring muscle tissue. Ensure to play with totally different angles of the leg in relationship to your backbone so that you hit all of them, suggests Scott. “You’ll immediately really feel the medial and lateral elements of the muscle tissue, not simply the central hamstrings,” she says. “Really feel the tight spots out and maintain them whereas respiratory.”

Reciprocal inhibition

Reciprocal inhibition entails tensing the opposing muscle tissue in a maintain and launch, to close off those you’re attempting to stretch. On this case, that might imply participating your quads to assist your hamstrings let go. “Whenever you tense the antagonist and maintain and launch, it shuts off the agonist—a simple instance is do a wall sit, activate the quads and it’ll chill out the hamstrings,” Scott says.

When to stretch your hamstrings

By no means go proper right into a hamstring stretch whereas chilly. Consider your muscle tissue like cheese: They’ll be capable to stretch additional—with out tearing—once they’re heat. Jog in place for a minute or so, or carry out some leaping jacks to heat up your physique first. Or wait till after your exercise to deal with rising flexibility.

Scott additionally emphasizes the necessity to pay simply as a lot thoughts to your lively health routine as you do your stretching regimens. “True flexibility can probably not be obtained with out the presence of energy,” she says. To mix each, search for a exercise like yoga or Lagree that facilities round stretching. “Lagree is a superb instance of making energy whereas stretching and rising the vary of movement of the joints—particularly the hip joint,” she says.

Do that quick Pilates routine for double-duty hamstring strengthening and stretching:

The bottom line is to make stretching a each day behavior. “Flexibility must be approached progressively,” Scott says. “The central nervous system has mind inhibitors triggered by concern of the vary of movement of a joint.” That is the best way your physique protects your muscle tissue from dangerously overstretching. However you’ll be able to (safely) outsmart it by way of repetition: “Committing permits the mind to realize belief and subsequently assist the stretch, permitting bigger ranges of mobility over time.”

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