Yoga: Firm Your Quads and Release Your Hamstrings

These yoga practitioners with tense hamstrings are those almost definitely to tense up in poses meant to launch the hams they usually then lose the good thing about the pose. Uttanasana (Standing Ahead Bend) is a pose the place to expertise a soothing stretch in your again, neck and legs, it’s essential to launch the hamstrings.

Uttanasana is usually used as a soothing break after standing poses or as a relaxation throughout an intense vinyasa sequence. When performing the Standing Ahead Bend, it’s best to stretch the hamstrings on the again of your thighs and contract the quadriceps on the entrance of your thighs. In Uttanasana, positioning is necessary to permit the hamstrings to elongate and chill out into the stretch versus holding on tightly and contracting.

To understand how your hamstrings work in Uttanasana, it is very important perceive the three distinct types of muscle contraction. In an isometric contraction, the muscle doesn’t change size; a concentric contraction makes the muscle shorter; and an eccentric contraction lengthens the muscle.

For those who begin in Uttanasana together with your knees straight and your pelvis tilted ahead in order that your head and backbone are shifting in the direction of the ground, as you come up out of the pose, the hamstrings contract and pull down the sitting bones. The pelvis will then transfer upright and the higher physique aligns with the legs. The hamstrings have carried out a concentric, or shortening, contraction.

Nevertheless, when standing and tilting the pelvis ahead the hamstrings carry out a lengthening, or eccentric contraction. Should you cease midway, the hamstrings will carry out an isometric contraction. They’re nonetheless working exhausting, however are neither shortening nor lengthening. Right here is the issue for college kids with tight hamstrings: they can’t attain their fingers to the ground so once they bend over they find yourself type of “caught” midway – and in an isometric contraction.

It isn’t really helpful that Uttanasana be practiced with the fingers dangling in the direction of the bottom. This places undue strain on the muscle tissue in addition to the decrease again. The hamstrings won’t profit and turn into extra versatile, however stay inflexible.

A easy answer is to place a yoga block or a folded blanket underneath your arms to help the load of your physique by way of your arms. The hamstrings will then not be required to help the torso and may lengthen and loosen up.

For correct alignment on this pose, be sure that the hips are over your ankles, not behind them. The knees must be straight. To offset the tendency to bend the knees, the quadriceps must be contracted. Since they’re “antagonistic” muscle teams, the hamstrings will mechanically loosen up whenever you flex your quads. It will permit for a fuller stretch of the hamstrings.

The Standing Ahead Bend can also be wonderful work for the erector spinae, the group of small muscle tissue that run up and down the backbone. Simply as with the hamstrings, the erector spinae will solely profit from this pose if the load of the higher physique is supported by putting the arms on the ground or a prop.

Keep in mind to maintain the quads working. With time and follow, the hamstrings will lengthen and launch, permitting additional launch within the decrease again and pelvic area.


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