Essential stretches to improve hamstring flexibility to improve mobility for press handstand

August 9


Tight Hamstrings? Stretches for Hamstring Flexibility and Hip Mobility for Press Handstands

By Yasuko

August 9, 2022

Press Handstand, Handstand Coach

Flexibility Tips to Release Tight Hamstrings

There are a lot of things to begin stretching out your hamstrings for greater flexibility, in this article I will cover some tips to  to improve your movement and flexibility now, and get rid of that tightness in the back of the legs safely.

Common Mistake: Don’t force any stretch, ever

When you’re working on flexibility, your muscles and nerves aren’t passive structures. So, stretching too forcefully or too quickly will activate a “stretch reflex,” which increases muscle tension and resists the stretch.

Don’t fight yourself on this one! Here’s what you can try instead:

No matter which stretch exercise you choose, rock slowly back and forth into the stretch several times in the beginning.
Focus on having even, steady breaths. Take an inhale in the neutral position, then exhale and stretch wherever you need to lengthen or release.
Hold the stretch for 30 - 60 seconds a few repetitions and gradually get deeper.

Bend your knees when you begin stretching your hamstrings.

And let me remind you this: Slowly—no bouncing ever!

Bending forward with straight legs is great if you can do it, but otherwise, it’s not the best choice if you’re having trouble moving even a few inches forward in the straight leg stretch position. So, bend your knees and take the slack off the calves and hamstring at your knees. Do not just round your spine; the action is more like trying to touch your belly button—not your chest! —to the floor by tilting your pelvis forward. Rock gently. It helps to exhale passively as you roll forward and inhale on the way up.

“Focus on maintaining a flat or slightly arched back, and keep your chest up and hinge forward at your hips.”

If you can not reach your arms to clasp your hands with straight knees for seated pancake stretches or similar kinds, just bend the knees, but keep the back straight as well. You should feel some stretch in your hamstrings. That' all you need for the tight hamstrings.

The goal is to hinge the hip joint as deeply as possible without cheating. A lot of people try to bend forward with a rounded back to reach as far as possible. To prevent lower back pain, please avoid the rounded spine for forward-bending.

I have a all-in-one mobility stretch routine for your tight hamstrings and hip joints. Click below to watch my youtube video. It's safe structure to increase your flexibility and which area is relevant for press handstand practice.

Let’s summarize everything:

How To Improve Your Hip Joints Mobility and Hamstring Flexibility 

  • Slowly increase the stretch against the resistance of the gravity or/and your body.
  •  Apply additional pressure which is almost, but not quite, strong enough to reverse the stretch.
  • Push steadily against the resistance for three to sixty seconds, but not to exhaustion.
  • Progress in small increments to reduce the possibility of an injury.

Please feel free to comment with any questions or feedback you may have here on the blog or on my youtube video.  Looking forward to hearing from you and hope the Press to Handstand training goes well!

If you prefer to get comprehensive step-by-step instruction that brings you from zero to hero in no time, have a look at my Online Handstand Course here.


About the author

My name is Yasuko and I'm passionate about handstands, yoga movement and flexibility.  I immersed myself in research a lot to inspire myself & experiment for physical development. This has led to the person I am today.

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