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Causes of Tight Hamstrings | Improving Hamstring Flexibility.


Causes of Tight Hamstrings. 

Whether you’re a pro marathon runner or just walk to work everyday, you’ve probably complained about tight hamstrings at one point or the other. It's the curse that plagues us all. Especially gym goers, runners, cyclists, footballers and those that engage in HIIT exercises and some forms of circuit training. 

Understandably, you want the tightness to go away, but the first step in achieving this goal is identifying what is causing these tight hamstrings. Sometimes it's because the muscles  have become longer, not shorter. Regardless, the feeling is identical and it is vital to pinpoint the exact nature of your hamstring issues for effective pain relief. 

In this blog post, we are going knee deep. Looking at  possible causes of tight hamstrings to help you properly identify and avoid some activities that have become part of your nature.


Indicators of Tight Hamstrings.

The initial symptoms might be stiffness and limited mobility. Typically the morning after the intense activity. This may vary however depending on factors such as pre-existing injuries. Tight hamstrings may also lead to difficulty in walking and standing comfortably. All this may be accompanied by 

  • Bruising 
  • Tenderness 
  • Redness 
  • Swelling
  • Cramping pain 

However, sometimes sciatic pain may present as tight hamstrings. If you’re feeling unsure, consider having a second opinion to ensure the proper treatment is administered.


What Causes Tight Hamstrings?

First, the hamstring is composed of a group of muscles that run along the back leg. These are the biceps femoris, semitendinosus, and semimembranosus. A little heavy on the tongue but no need to memorize them. They are typically stabilizers. 

Intense Exercise.

The most common cause of tight hamstrings would be intense exercises. Sports and exercises that involve a lot of start and stop movements or a lot of sprinting make it to the top of the list. Incorporating stretches into your workout is a great way to warm your hamstrings up, potentially reducing the pain from tight hamstring,

Additionally these intense exercises might lead to tears and strains in the hamstring. While healing, scar tissue forms and essentially shortens the muscle fibers, limiting the range of motion. As a consequence, your memory of the injury will cause shortening of the muscle to avoid future harm. During the injury, there is a neurological response that causes the hamstring to shorten to protect itself.


Poor posture can also result in tight hamstrings. Most of humanity spends plenty of time seated. It’s convenient, this might however lead to the pelvis being titled too far forward. Putting the hamstrings into a lengthened and weakened position.

Another postural problem, the anterior pelvic tilt, which might mean you’re standing with your butt and stomach pushed out. Meaning your lower back and hip flexors are extra short and your hamstrings are extra long. As a consequence your hamstrings get overstretched and weakened, leading to tightness. In this instance stretching might lead to a compound issue.


Genetics might also have a significant effect in hamstring tightness. Some people have a natural limitation in their hamstring flexibility, leaving them predisposed to tight hamstrings.

Sometimes your hamstrings are picking up the slack from your glutes. Under active glutes may lead to overtime for the hamstrings for common leg movements, leading to a shorter resting state for the muscles and the resultant tight feeling.


The last cause we’ll look at is underuse. Due to inactivity, the nervous system may tighten the hamstrings in an attempt to create stability.

Tight Hamstrings can be such an inconvenience to our active lifestyle and life in general. With the right precautions however, it shouldn’t be a frequent problem. But when you feel the sudden spike in pain and discomfort, you can always refer to these hamstring Pilates routines for relief. I hope you find it helpful and rewarding.

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