High Hamstring Strain: Best Low Compression Exercises

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The top of the hamstring muscle turns into a tendon a few inches from its origin on the pelvis. It is a very common area to injure, as it undergoes maximum strain during eccentric contraction of the hamstrings(1). One factor to consider when rehabilitating an injury to this area, is the amount of compression the upper hamstring tendon is subjected to as it presses against the ischium bone  when the thigh is flexed(2). Running Reform has put together a very impressive video, which explains (and shows) the tendon compression concept really well.  Try Active Release Techniques (A.R.T.) Soft Tissue Therapy for hamstring problems, researchers have found effective at increasing hamstring flexibility(3).

Of course, it is wise to see an expert before trying to rehab your own injury.  Often I see patients who think they have a high hamstring injury, but it is actually another muscle (obturator internus or quadratus femoris). This list of low compression exercises should be considered after a high hamstring strain has been diagnosed.  The first video shows an isometric contraction at only one angle of knee flexion, it is wise to do the exercise at a few different angles as well.

ART and Hamstring flexibility

Kage-  Immediate effect of ART vs Mulligan Bent Leg Raise (MBLR) in subjects with hamstring tightness: RCT 2013

“A single session of ART is better as compared to MBLR technique to improve hamstring flexibility and range of motion.”

Shah, S + Kage, V.-  Comparative Effectiveness of ART and Rolfing on hamstring tightness in normal subjects. RCT  

 “ART showed better improvement as compared to Rolfing in terms of Popliteal angle.”

George, JW-  The effects of ART on hamstring flexibility  2006

“This study demonstrated that a single ART treatment increased hamstring flexibility in a group of healthy, active male participants.“

Find an ART provider near you.

1. Hamstring Strain Clinical Presentation. Medscape 

2. Is Compressive Load a Factor in the Development of Tendinopathy? Cook, Jill Br J Sports Med. 2012;46(3):163-168. 

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Athletics Weekly  Performance Therapy for Greg Rutherford

220 Triathlon  ART- How is it different from sports massage

Vigour Magazine  ART can release tight muscles to improve performance

Progenex  ART for CrossFitters

FIT Institute  Research based hamstring therapies

TPI  What Performance Therapy Looks Like For Top Golfers


I have treated the public and professional athletes for 19 years, using soft tissue work, Chiropractic, and prescribing the latest research based rehabilitation. I teach workshops in the North East of England to health professionals.

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