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I once had a fitness instructor call his hamstrings “ham chains” in reference to how tight his were. I could relate. While I love cardio workouts like running, spinning and dance classes, I hate slowing down to stretch. However, stretching is really important, not only for preventing injuries but for reducing pain post-workout and increasing mobility and flexibility.
There are plenty of moves you can do at home to stretch your hamstrings (the muscles at the back of your thighs). However, more than 1,000 Amazon shoppers give the IdealStretch Original Hamstring Stretcher Device a five-star rating.
As you can probably tell from the name, the device can assist you in stretching your tight hamstrings. Although, the product description says it can also effectively stretch your calves, too. Essentially, if you go to a professional to get stretched out, you lie down and they pull your leg up and back toward your body, one at a time. This device can help you mimic that movement, except you can do it on your own.
Simply lie on your back, slip your foot and leg into the device and gently pull back to stretch your hamstrings. You can also do this stretch sitting up — by pulling your foot back into a flexed position, it can help you stretch your calves.
“Many times people just need a little help getting to the point where they can get past the initial stiffness and adhesions so they can stretch without an aid like this device,” wrote one Amazon reviewer and personal trainer. “This is a powerful tool to help anyone get a good stretch from the glutes, down through the hamstrings and calf muscle group, achilles tendon and the plantar fascia — all at once… What an amazing device.”
“I have been using this stretcher for about a week and a half now. I do three to five stretches per leg per day, holding each one for 30 seconds or so,” wrote another reviewer. “I have added about 5 inches to my stretch when bending over and touching toes. Before, I couldn’t touch my toes (about 3 to 4 inches from the floor). Now I can touch the ground! This product definitely works but you have to use it!”
The IdealStretch Original Hamstring Stretcher Device retails for $67.95 on Amazon. While it is a bit pricey, it’s also incredibly helpful. Sometimes, a good stretch is worth it, especially if you have extra tight hamstrings.
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