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Why Won’t My Hamstrings Loosen Up? (3 Reasons Explained)

    Do you still feel tightness in your hamstrings despite all your stretching? Are you wondering why won’t my hamstrings loosen up? What is the real reason why you can’t loosen up your hamstrings?

    The sensation of the tight hamstring originates in the hips. Poor hip stability, lack of proper control in the hip movement, and poor posture in the hip joint are the main reasons your hamstrings won’t loosen up despite stretches. You can do stretches that target these areas to help loosen up your hamstrings. 

    Why Won't My Hamstrings Loosen Up

    Read on as we explore three hip issues that lead to hamstring tightness and some exercise to stretch and strengthen your hip muscles. 

    See the table below if you are in a hurry to see our top products to help with hamstring tightness and other stretches.

     

     

    Hamstring Tightness? Fix Your Hips! 😕

    Hamstring Tightness Fix Your Hips To Solve

    When you have difficulty touching your toes, most experts agree that you should stretch them.

    But no matter how much you stretch these muscles, there’s no significant change.

    The tight hamstring can be rooted in tight hips and pelvic malalignment.  

    Hip flexors attach thigh bones to the back and pelvis and help you bend at your hip, run, or kick.

    When these muscles shorten, they increase the curvature of the lower spine and upper back, leading to a pelvic tilt. 

    Three hip malfunctions can cause tight hamstring:

     

    1. Poor Hip Stability

    Poor Hip Stability

    If your hamstrings take over when you start performing exercises like squats, lunges, or other leg workouts, then you have glute amnesia.

    Glute amnesia or “dead butt syndrome” happens when your body doesn’t activate your glutes the way it should and uses hamstrings instead.  

    In other words, super tight hip flexors lead to lengthened gluteal muscles, so when you try to engage your glutes, they won’t generate much force to activate. 

    The main contributor to glute amnesia is the tightness caused by a sedentary lifestyle.

    Read on to discover exercises to help you with dead butt syndrome. Also, see more in our post stretching before a glute workout?

    However, you will need a strong and stable exercise mat to do the exercises on this page.

    Check out of top three recommended exercise mats if you don’t have one already.

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    Manduka PRO Yoga Mat – Premium 6mm Thick Mat, High Performance Grip, Support and Stability in Yoga, Pilates, Gym, Fitness, Extra Long, 85 Inches, Black Color
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    Preview
    Manduka PRO Yoga Mat – Premium 6mm Thick Mat, High Performance Grip, Support and Stability in Yoga, Pilates, Gym, Fitness, Extra Long, 85 Inches, Black Color
    Product Name
    Manduka PRO Yoga Mat
    Thickness
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    IUGA Pro Non Slip Yoga Mat, Unbeatable Non Slip Performance, Eco Friendly and SGS Certified Material for Hot Yoga, Odorless Lightweight and Extra Large Size, Free Carry Strap
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    UMINEUX Yoga Mat Extra Thick 1/3'' Non Slip Yoga Mats for Women with Alignment Marks Eco Friendly TPE Fitness Exercise Mat with Carrying Strap & Storage Bag
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    Here are the four exercises for dead butt syndrome and poor hip stability.

     

    Donkey Kicks

    Donkey Kicks

    Donkey kicks mainly target your glutes, improve your stability and work on your core.

    Here’s how to do it:

    Start in a quadruped position while keeping your knees hip-width apart and your hands flat on the ground.

    Lift your leg without changing the knee angle. Don’t let your leg go further than your torso.

    Hold on there for a few seconds, then come down and repeat with the opposite leg. Do ten reps for each side.

     

    Single-leg Deadlift

    This bridge variation is ideal for isolating and strengthening your hip extensors (hips and hamstrings).

    Here’s how to do it:

    Start on your back. Keep your knees bent and place your right ankle on your left thigh. 

    Keeping your core tight, hinge forward, and reach your hand toward the ground.

    Maintain the position for five to ten seconds and go back up.

    Repeat 10  times, then switch your legs. 

    If you want to increase the intensity, you can hold a kettlebell in your hand. 

    See our top three recommended kettlebells below.

    The Yes4All Kettlebell Set, available on Amazon, comes with six levels of adjustments for your weight preferences and is ideal if you want to gain more strength, power, and endurance.

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    Yes4All 10-40lb Adjustable Kettlebell Weights/Kettlebell Weights Set – Cast Iron Kettlebell for HIIT and Cross Training Workouts
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    Fire Hydrant

    Fire Hydrant

    The fire hydrant exercise is a great three-dimensional motion that targets your glutes and adds to your hip mobility.

    To perform this movement:

    Start with the quadruped position with your arms aligned with your shoulders.

    Keep your back straight and draw in your belly button.

    Move one leg away from your body, maintain a 90-degree angle, and stop when parallel with the hips. 

     

    Crab Walk

    Crab Walk

    The crab walk can be a full-body exercise because it works your shoulders, arms, core, and legs and strengthens your hamstrings. 

    Sit on the mat and stretch your legs in front of your body hip-width apart.

    Place your hands behind your body with the fingers facing your back.

    While engaging your core and tightening your abs, raise your hip. 

    Once in this position, you should start to walk.

    Raise your left hand and right leg simultaneously to move forward and then your right hand and left foot.

    Push as much as you can and go back to the starting position. 

     

    2. Poor Control of Hip Movement

    Body Journal

    Poor control of hip movement means that you don’t feel a burn in your core when doing a leg workout.

    Without core activation, the hamstrings are constantly contracted and make up for the inability of the core to stabilize the hips properly. 

    When you have poor core muscles, you initiate movements with your back instead of your hips, leading to hamstrings feeling tight. 

    Here are four core exercises that strengthen your abdominals:

     

    Situps

    Sit-ups exercise

    Situps work all your abdominal muscles and strengthen your internal and external side abs. 

    Here’s how to do it:

    Lie down on the mat with your knees 90 degrees bent. Put your hands on opposite shoulders.

    Then lift your torso slowly and squeeze your core while exhaling.

    To work more core muscles, extend your arms in front of your body.  

    Remember not to bend your neck, chest, or back throughout the whole movement. 

    When you come to the sitting position, touch your knees with your elbows.

    While inhaling, go down to the starting position.

    Perform the movement ten times.

     

    V-sits

    V-sits exercise

    V-sits enhance balance and coordination and develop strength in your abdominals.

    Here’s how to do it:

    Lie flat on the mat, fully extending your arms and legs.

    Lift your feet and arms until your palms face the ceiling.

    Hold for a few seconds, then go down slowly to the starting position.

    Do ten reps.

     

    Elbow-to-Knee Sit-ups

    Elbow-to-Knee Sit-ups

    This situp variation works your external and internal side-abs and your core.

    Here’s how to do it:

    Get to the situp position, but place your hands behind your head this time.

    Touch your left knee with your right elbow when you go up by twisting your torso.

    To add to the intensity, raise the other leg.

    Hold in the position for a few seconds, then return to the starting position and repeat with the opposite side.  

     

    Reverse Crunch

    This move can be as beneficial as situps, strengthening your core while putting less strain on your neck. 

    Here’s how to do it:

    Lie on your back and put your palms on the floor, resting your head on the ground.

    Lift your legs and pelvis with your knees bent, bringing your knees close to your face without lifting your back. 

    Slowly lower them down and repeat the movement. 

     

    3. Poor Posture Of Hip Joint

    The hip joint rotation can over-lengthen your hamstring muscle if you have poor posture.

    With the tilted pelvis, your hamstring muscles’ origin or your “butt bone” is shifted upwards, leading to stretched muscles that always feel tight. 

    In this situation, stretching doesn’t help you with the tightness; instead, you should strengthen your hamstrings. 

    Many exercises can help you strengthen your hamstrings.

    Here are four of them that you can safely incorporate into your workout routine:

     

    Single-Leg Hip Bridge

    Single-Leg Hip Bridge

    This bridge variation is a great way to isolate and strengthen your hip extensors (hips and hamstrings).

    Here’s how to do it:

    Start on your back with your knees bent and place your right ankle on your left thigh.

    Then lift your hips off the floor until your weight rests between your shoulder blades.

    Hold on there for a few seconds, and slowly lower your hips back to the starting position. Do ten reps for each leg. 

    You can extend your leg toward the sky to make this a little harder. 

     

    Kneeling Leg Raise

    Kneeling Leg Raise

    The movement targets your glutes and strengthens your hamstrings.

    Here’s how to do it:

    Start on all fours. Keep your hands under shoulders and your knees under hips.

    Bend your left leg, lift your knee to level with your hip, and extend your leg.

    Then raise your leg for a few seconds and return to the starting position.

    Do the movement ten times for each leg.

    You can lift your opposite hand extended while raising your leg to add more intensity.  

     

    Dumbbell Split Lunges

    Dumbbell Split Lunges

    This move is an excellent lower-body exercise that can help you gain strong hamstrings.

    Here’s how to do it:

    Stand upright and hold a pair of dumbbells in each hand, palms facing each other.

    Take a step forward and drop down to your knee until your leg makes a 90-degree angle.

    Keep your knee behind your toes.

    Pause for a few seconds to improve your calf muscles and return to the starting position.

    You can repeat the move 12 times for each leg. 

     

    Banded Side Step

    Banded Side Step

    This move targets your glutes and hips while activating your calves and hamstrings. 

    Stand with slightly bent knees and place your resistance band above your ankles.

    Take a shoulder-width stance and put your hands on your hips.

    Take one big step aside and repeat the movement with the opposite leg.

    Do ten reps for each side.

    Here are our top three recommended resistance bands on amazon if you don’t have one already.

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    Fit Simplify Resistance Loop Exercise Bands with Instruction Guide and Carry Bag, Set of 5
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    Superior Quality
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    Preview
    3.9ft Resistance Bands Set - Exercise Bands for Physical Therapy, Yoga, Pilates, Rehab and Home Workout, Non-Latex Elastic Bands Set of 3
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    RENRANRING Bands
    Use for Exercise
    Use for Physical Therapy
    Resistance Level
    Three Levels
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    Good Quality Exercise Bands
    Extras
    One Carry Bag + One Workout Guide.
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    Best Price
    Preview
    Hoocan Resistance Bands Set, Long Exercise Bands for Arms, Shoulders, Legs and Butt, Workout Stretch Bands for Physical Therapy, Gym, Yoga
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    Is a Tight Hamstring an Injury? 🤔

    Is a Tight Hamstring an Injury

    Sometimes tight hamstrings originate from disc-related injuries and nerve irritation.

    Here are some red flags that indicate the tightness is due to damage, and you should seek help from a professional:

    • Bruising, usually after an injury.
    • Numbness.
    • Burning or tingling in the lower leg.
    • Weakness in the lower leg. 

     

    Bottom Line 🤗

    Rising after failure

    When a stretching routine can’t heal your tight hamstring, poor hips and pelvic tilt is probably the cause of the tightness.

    Three hip malfunctions can lead to the tight sensation in hamstrings: poor hip stability, poor hip movement control, and poor hip joint posture.

    We’ve outlined some workouts to help with these hip issues in this blog post.

    Don’t forget to share this post with others.

    Last update on 2022-05-21 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

    nv-author-image

    James Wright

    James (36) has been working out since he was 15 years old. He has a home gym where he pumps iron, does bodyweight workouts and boxing. He likes sharing his experiences with others who want to build a better physique.

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