Jan 29, 2015
For Hamstring Stretches, Supine Is Fine

Hamstring stretches have long been used to increase flexibility and guard against injury. In most cases, standing hamstring stretches have been used. Now a recent study in the Journal of Athletic Training suggests that supine stretching is just as effective and may be easier for athletes to perform properly.

The three-week study, conducted at the New Hampshire Musculoskeletal Institute in Manchester, N.H., compared hamstring flexibility, as measured by increasing range of motion at the knee, in 29 people with limited hamstring flexibility. Subjects were randomly assigned a different stretch for each leg. During standing stretches, pelvic position was controlled through instruction and supervision to ensure the most effective techniques were used, but supine stretches were not similarly controlled.

“Our results suggest that ‘casual’ supine hamstring stretching was as effective as the rigidly controlled standing stretching,” says Linda Decoester, ATC, lead researcher on the project. “For this reason, it may be preferable to use the supine method in unsupervised settings, such as home exercise programs or with athletes. Furthermore, supine stretching may better isolate the hamstrings, allow improved relaxation, and, in general, be safer and more comfortable for people with a history of low back pain.”

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