Exercise: A Guide from the National Institute On Aging

Back to Stretching

Table of Contents

Illustration of the Hamstring Stretching exercise Stretches muscles in back of thigh.

  1. Sit sideways on bench or other hard surface (such as two chairs placed side by side.
  2. Keep one leg stretched out on bench, straight, toes pointing up.
  3. Keep other leg off of bench, with foot flat on floor.
  4. Straighten back.
  5. If you feel a stretch at this point, hold the position for 10 to 30 seconds.
  6. If you don't feel a stretch, lean forward from hips (not waist) until you feel stretching in leg on bench, keeping back and shoulders straight. Omit this step if you have had a hip replacement, unless surgeon/therapist approves.
  7. Hold position for 10 to 30 seconds.
  8. Repeat with other leg.
  9. Repeat 3 to 5 times on each side.