No Equipment Needed: Hamstring Prep for Gymnastics Day
Video by Travis Ewart

You don’t need a lot of fancy equipment to properly warm-up but you DO need to warm-up! We love these two hamstring stretches on gymnastics day or when toes to bar makes an appearance in your workout. Many people don’t consider that movements like toes to bar require hamstring flexibility but they do – the less we have, the more the movement will suffer (or we will suffer trying to actually make contact with the bar). Consider these points when considering why you struggle with toes to bar. Is your flexibility one?

These are great “travel” stretches as well since you don’t need anything but yourself and a small spot on the floor to perform them. We all know that sitting on an airplane is brutal for our bodies. Now you have something in the arsenal to combat it – commit to stretching for a few minutes each day when you travel.

Straddle Stretch

1. Sit upright with your feet apart.

2. Slowly walk hands out front as far as you can and hold for 30 seconds. Any curvature of the spine is going to take away from the angle in our hips so really make sure you are sitting tall.

3. Walk your hands to each side and hold for 30 seconds (each foot). You can also reach over the top to get the obliques too.

If you feel this in your lower back instead of your hamstrings, sit on a medicine ball to perform the stretch. This allows you to get into a position where you can keep your chest up so that the stretch is focused on the hamstrings.

Pike Stretch

1. Sit upright with your feet together and arms overhead.

2. Push your belly down first then slowly reach out and grab onto your legs wherever you can. Some people will be able to grab their feet and some their mid calves.

3. Holding your position, try to raise your chest up and flatten your back out. Hold this for a few seconds.

4. Walk your hands down your legs a couple of inches so you are reaching forward and try to raise your chest up and flatten your back out again. Repeat this process a couple more times.

Just like with the straddle stretch, if you find you’re having flexibility issues, sit on a medicine ball to give yourself a little advantage on the stretching angles for this so that you can get the most out of it.

One more tip, don’t forget to breathe! No matter what stretch you are doing, try breathing into the reps to relax and lengthen the muscles. Once you get into position, take in the biggest breath you can muster and hold it for a few seconds. Slowly release the air as you reach further into the stretch. See how much further you can get with each breath!

Want more from Travis? Check out our online Invictus Gymnastics Program which is made for athletes of all levels who want to spend focused time each week dialing in their gymnastics.