Simple Solutions for Back Pain – #10 Hamstring Stretches

Hamstring stretch 2nd position Stretch #2 Hamstring Stretch on Back Systems3 Stretch #2- Hamstring Stretch  Back System3

Keeping the hamstrings stretched is an important part of maintaining lumbar flexibility.

Tight hamstrings, gluteal and hip flexor muscles are often key components of back pain. Even if you’re not in pain,  (happy times) it’s important and extremely helpful to maintain hamstring flexibility. Keeping your hamstrings long and released can give you less back discomfort as well as improve your gait.

There are many ways to stretch the hamstrings, but one of my favorites is to use the Back System3 machine . Many gyms have it, and you can find BackSystem3 or a Precor version in most Physical Therapy offices.  So check with a trainer the next time you’re at your gym.  I’ve had one in all of my studios and started using this incredible system several decades ago.

If your back is tight or if you have low back pain, try the first 2 exercises listed in the Back Systems3 machine booklet. My recommendation is to start with Hamstring stretch, which is the 2nd one, then move on to the Low back stretch, which is the first.

 Hamstring Stretch on the BackSystem3

How to:

  • Begin by extending 1 leg over the Rollers and keep your opposite foot in pedal.  (see very old photo of me above):)
  • Follow the instructions for how  long to hold and how man reps., etc. Please be careful, none of these stretches are held very long, especially during the first few repetitions. The top hand/bar position is more challenging, so if you want more of a stretch, place your hands on the top rung.
  • After the parallel leg position you can internally rotate your leg and change the stretch to your outer hamstring muscles.  (no photo shown).  Keep your foot flexed.
  • Follow the same instructions for the first leg position.  (how long to hold, etc.)
  • Or schedule a session with me or one of my instructors at the studio and ask us to take you through a private session using this effective system.
Geneviève headshot

Geneviève

Body Fundamentals Tucson studio clients, you’re welcome to come by during business hours any day and use the Back System machine. Just give us a call and check in before you come by in case we’ve run out for lunch or the machine is being used.:)

If you don’t  stretch your hamstrings on a regular basis, add these hamstring stretches to your home routine for preventative back care, back pain relief and improved alignment.  If you’d like some easy Hamstring stretches to practice at home that don’t involve equipment, just send me a question below or email me: change@bodyfundamentals.com

Simple Soutions for Back Pain #3: Back Systems3

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In this 3rd part of Simple Solutions for Back pain series, I’d like to share a little bit about the Back Systems machine and, specifically a low back stretch. The  stretches on BackSystem3 are easy, safe and effective.  I encourage you to try this machine if you have access to one.

Diana Bailey, my dear friend and longtime mentor introduced me to this machine 22 years ago in Denver. Before I was strong enough to try anything Pilates or Pre-Pilates related, Diana worked with me for several months on the Back Systems machine, the Swiss Ball and the Foam Roller to increase my flexibility and decrease muscle spasms in both my Upper and Lower Back.

During that first year of working with Di, I was going to Physical therapy, Massage Therapy, and Pilates on a weekly basis.  The PT stretches helped and the balance and stability training on the Ball made me internally stronger; however, the Back machine consistently gave me relief .  Every single time! It seemed odd to me that a little machine with simple stretches could give me such tremendous relief. Back Systems allows you to stretch in a positions that creates gentle traction on your lower spine, work you abdominals.  There’s also a terrific series for Shoulders and Lats which I’ll cover later on.

For the past 19 years, I’ve kept a BackSystem3 machine in my Pilates studios and continue to use it myself as well as with clients every week.

Try the first exercise on the Back System3 machine.

Give yourself 10 or 15 minutes before or after your private or semi-private  sessions to get on the Back Machine.

How to:

 

Stretch #1 The Low Back Stretch:  Start by holding each stretch for 2 seconds, then work up to a 30 second hold.  BackSystems recommend 5-7 repetitions.

This simple exercise provides gentle traction, is a safe lumbar stretch and feels really good!
Tucson studio clients, ask me for details or take a look at the guide. It’s on the “handle bars.”

BackSystems 3- Low Back stretch