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Tackling Tight Hamstrings
Tight hamstrings is another common problem area that can lead to pulled muscles and sprains. Proper stretching techniques can help you stay loose and limber to avoid this. Studies have shown that stretching benefits connective tissue, triggers the growth of the protein filaments inside each muscle cell, which is essential to proper body movement, and improves the performance of your "spindle receptors," which help protect your muscles against further injury. A stretching routine should be a regular part of your workout, whether you're battling injuries or not. Examples of effective hamstring stretches include:

1 Tipover tuck hamstring stretch
2 Scissor hamstring stretch
3 Hurdler stretch
4 Rounded back forward bend
5 Reclined hamstring stretch

Hamstring stretches are particularly crucial if you're doing sprints. While sprinting is a simple form of high intensity exercise that does not require any kind of equipment and can be done just about anywhere, any time, it's also one of the most dangerous. Unless you're in phenomenal shape and have special training in sprinting, it's really important that you start gradually, and make sure to perform the recommended stretches.

I did not follow this advice and when I first started HIIT eight years ago. As a result I tore one of my hamstring muscles, which caused me pain for about four years. The stretching exercises I demonstrate in the video below eventually helped me recover, but I suggest you avoid making the same mistake and just do the stretches before you start sprinting. The stretches I recommend are so-called Active Isolated Stretches (AIS), not static stretches, and include the following:
  • Hamstring I stretch (straight: 10 reps)
    Hamstring II stretch (foot twisted slightly left: 10 reps)
    Hamstring III stretch (foot twisted slightly right: 10 reps)
    Rolling your hamstrings using a foam roller
<t>To give anything less than your best, is to sacrifice the gift.</t>

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