How To Get Rid Of Tight Hamstrings

Hamstring muscles tight?  Want to know how to get rid of the tightness?  Well, this will probably come as a surprise to you.

Your hamstrings aren’t the problem.

Almost always, the problem is that your quadricep muscles in the front of your thigh are too tight.  They are stronger than your hamstrings.

Your ‘tight hamstrings’ are just a symptom.

The muscles in the front of your body are generally about 30% stronger than the muscles in the back.  It’s easy for the bulky front muscles to over-power the back muscles.  That explains lots of back and neck pain, too.

The reason the muscles in the back of your thigh feel tight is because your hamstrings are in a specialized type of contraction.  They are in eccentric contraction.

An eccentric contraction happens when a muscle is being stretched more than it likes.  It responds by contracting but it cannot relax like a regular contraction (concentric contraction) can.

Imagine this:

You are pulling on one end of a rope.  Your friend is pulling on the other end.  There is a knot in the middle of the rope.

Can that knot be un-knotted while you are both pulling on the rope?


You have to let go of at least one of the ends so the rope can be un-knotted.  Same thing with ‘tight’ hamstrings.

You have to relax the muscles in front (the quads) that are causing the hamstrings to go into an eccentric contraction and feel tight.

Here’s how it works:

The stronger quadriceps are attached to your pelvic bones.  They pull on your pelvis.  That pulls your pelvis into a more forward, downward-tilting position.  And THAT is what causes your hamstrings to be stretched and unhappy.

The interaction of the leg muscles with the pelvis can cause back and neck pain, too, because it’s all attached.  You can find lots of self-help articles from me for that at

What’s the answer?

Stretch your quads.  Make them a little longer.  A massage therapist can help relax them, too.  Then they will pull less on your pelvis and that will take the strain off your hamstring muscles.