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


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:

Strength and power, are they the same?

Strength and power are often confused and have been used at times interchangeably in the world of exercise. It has been helpful for me to understand the differences and their role in “training” by pairing each with their balancing partner.

The partner of strength is flexibility. Strength is like a bridge. Flexibility is like a rubber band. Without flexibility, the body acts more as a static structure and the limitations on movement often result in injuries. Too much flexibility and the body can move beyond its natural capacity with injury again the result. The middle ground with this pair shows up in life as improved posture with more efficient, graceful motion. It just plain feels a lot better to move with freedom and confidence. This is what strength and flexibility have to offer when they are in harmony. In this pair, the fitness is relative to the dynamic balance between the two.

The partner for power is endurance. Basically speaking, power is being able to do something once, endurance is being able to do it again, and the mark of fitness here would be having the choice. A car that only has a gas pedal and no brake clearly has an issue with driveability. So it is with a body that has one of the pair substantially more available than the other. Too much endurance training and repetitive motion injuries occur. Too much power training and shock load injuries occur. What power and endurance offer when in harmony is performance.

The question is not “Do I love a Ferrari?” Of course I do. Performance is a seductive distraction. The question that supports long-term enjoyment of the car is am I willing and able to find the balance that works? That means to drive it like I want to keep my license.


Diana Bailey

Pilates arabesque Reformer

It’s such a joy teaching Mary week after week –  these past 14 years.  Here she’s showing the Classical Pilates Arabesque on the reformer. Simply beautiful!




Mary T., practicing Arabesque on the Reformer.

Mary T. Arabesque on the reformer

Previously Published October 2011








Pilates Cadillac- Reverse Push-Through

carla7        Having fun while assisting Carla with the Reverse Push-through on the Cadillac.