Here are 10 reasons why your hamstrings might be tight, in no particular order.
1) Weak trunk flexors
An inability to flex your trunk will lead to your hamstrings holding on tight to your pelvis. Try performing some super slow crunches and then have another go at that sit and reach test. I bet you went further.
2) Weak trunk extensors
Instability in your lumbar spine will also have your hamstrings working hard to keep your pelvis under control.
3) Weak hip flexors
Try bringing a straight leg up as far as it will go from a lying position. Take note how far it went. Now rest it up on a solid object such as a weight bench. Keeping the knee straight, perform some very gentle contractions as if trying move the leg further into hip flexion. 6 x 6 second squeezes should do it. Now try again. Did it go further? Great.
4) Weak hip extensors
Together with your glute max and some smaller external hip rotators, the hamstrings extend your hip. Weakness in these muscles will get your hamstrings jumping in to help out.
5) Weak knee flexors
Here’s a thought, if your hamstrings are tight maybe the other muscles that flex your knee aren’t working too well. Stretching your hamstrings will also stretch them, something they won’t thank you for. More on this example here.
6) Weak knee extensors
If I had a pound for every time I’ve gotten on the leg extension machine to train my quadriceps and noticed my hamstrings loosen off I wouldn’t be writing this article.
7) Weak plantarflexors
If you can’t drive yourself forward as you walk or run with the muscles of your lower leg then your hamstrings will have a go.
8) Weak dorsiflexors
Who trains the muscles that pull your feet back towards your shins? Hardly anybody, but they are critical to efficient running and walking. Weakness in these muscles may have your hamstrings trying to prevent your lower leg moving too far over your foot as you run / walk.
9) Weak internal hip rotators
The hamstrings have a small influence on both internal and external hip rotation. Weakness in the muscles that perform either will have your hamstrings volunteering to prevent motion you can’t control to keep you safe.
10) Weak external hip rotators
Not forgetting of course influences from your foot and shoulder.
It’s more complicated than stretching.
Book your Discovery Session to find out exactly why your hamstrings are tight and forget about stretching them ever again.