View Full Version : Hamstrings and gastrocs link

06-14-2004, 04:47 AM
Hello, all.

I've read with great interest the discussion regarding the hamstrings and gastrocnemius. I believe there have been several very plausible explanations and that we would be hard pressed to determine exactly what is involved in a particular case. Even though it may not clarify the issue, I would like to propose yet another finding that I have experienced. It has to do with technique, as for example, in the sit and reach test.

Are the knees kept straight or are they locked? Does the spine retain its normal lumber curvature or is there lumbar flexion. If the knees are locked and the spinal curvature is maintained, the hamstrings will be stretched very quickly and the knee joint may begin to undergo hyperextension. This, in turn, leads to knee pain or a feeling of "pulling" in the back of the knee. Women seem to have greater flexibility and more hyperextension in the knee than do men and usually do not experience pain.

In addition, we do the good morning exercise for stretching the hamstrings. It is analogous to the sit and reach but it is executed in a standing position. The person bends over from the hips while maintaining lumbar lordosis. As the individual bends over from the hips, he pushes the hips to the rear which creates more plantar flexion in the ankle joint. However, many still feel pain in the back of the knee when they reach the limits of their normal range and are pushing into hyperextension. In such cases, I merely have them keep the legs straight but not locked.

Individuals who bend over from the waist rather than from the hips typically stretch the lower back more and only slightly stretch the hamstrings. This is why I do not recommend that anyone do the sit and reach test as it stretches the lumbar ligaments more than the hamstring muscles.

Michael Yessis, Ph.D
President, Sports Training, Inc.
Professor Emeritus, CSUF
(760) 480-0558
PO Box 460429
Escondido, CA 92046

To unsubscribe send SIGNOFF BIOMCH-L to LISTSERV@nic.surfnet.nl
For information and archives: http://isb.ri.ccf.org/biomch-l
Please consider posting your message to the Biomch-L Web-based
Discussion Forum: http://movement-analysis.com/biomch_l