These 2 Hamstring Stretches Can Help Men Over 40 Warm Up for Workouts
Milo Bryant is a performance coach as well as an experienced journalist. He’s also in his 50s—and his book Unstoppable After 40 gives you the roadmap to do more than merely remain active as you “mature.” Milo trains hard and recovers even better so he can do what he wants, when he wants. Get ready to use his methods to become unstoppable. This isn’t your dad’s middle age.
Older guys need flexible and strong hamstrings as much as gymnasts and other elite athletes, whether the last time you thought about the muscles was last week or the last time your first-round fantasy football pick hit the disabled list. Everyday exercisers might not be going for gold medals or championship rings, but our hammies need love as well because of their role in the way we move.
We contract our hamstrings every time we take a step up. The hamstrings lengthen and help decelerate the body every time we go down a step. If you’re over 40 (or any age, really) and you have lower back pain, the fact that you’ve ignored your hamstrings could be contributing to those aches.
Remember, the human body is a use it or lose it organism, so you’ll want to find ways to get your hamstrings going before you hit the gym, the rec league court, or even the backyard with your kids. Thankfully, you can add these two movements, the walking hamstring and walking leg kick, to your warmup arsenal.
How to Do Walking Hamstrings and Walking Leg Kicks
Add both movements to your pre-exercise routine with 1 to 2 sets of 30 seconds.
●Stand with your arms at your sides. Take a small step forward with your right foot so that your right knee is extended. There should be a slight bend at the left knee.
●Keeping your spine neutral, push your butt back and lower your torso, stretching your right hamstring and both calves. Take three steps forward to shake out your legs, and repeat the process.(Don’t skip the shakeout. Let that be a mental exercise.)
Walking Leg Kicks
●Stand tall. Take a step forward with your right foot. Moving from the hip, kick your left leg up as high as possible while keeping your right foot planted fully on the ground.
●Allow your left leg to swing back down until it is parallel with your right leg and allow it to flex (you should feel a quick stretch in your quads).
●Repeat the process with your left leg stepping forward and your right leg kicking, alternating legs.
Best Coach Cues for Walking Hamstrings
Chest out. Butt out. Core engaged. NO ARCHING THE BACK.
Best Coach Cues for Walking Leg Kicks
Movement starts at the hip. The kicking leg remains straight until the thighs are parallel again. The plant foot remains completely on the ground.
Helpful Tip for Better Hamstring Recruitment
Keep the back flat when reaching the end range of motion during these movements. Arcing or curvature of the back puts pressure and tension on the back and the spine instead of keeping it on the hamstrings where it belongs.
Milo Bryant, CSCS, is a California-based trainer and an award-winning journalist.