How rolling your feet can help with hamstring tightness

Image from Anatomy Trains

Have you ever stretched your hamstrings and lower back as much as you can but still have tightness? This can sometimes be due to a connective tissue structure called fascia.

Fascia is a thin casing of connective tissue that surrounds and holds every organ, blood vessel, bone, nerve fiber and muscle in place. The tissue does more than provide internal structure; fascia has nerves that make it almost as sensitive as skin. Therefore, it plays a major role in our musculoskeletal system.

As shown in the book, Anatomy Trains, there is a fascial line from your skull down to your toes. If the fascia is tight it can tug and pull on the muscle causing it to feel tight. One way you can correct this is by rolling the bottom of your feet to loosen up the fascia at one end.

Give this a try to see if it helps you be able to bend forward to touch your toes easier:

  1. Bend forward to touch your toes, but be sure to keep your knees straight and you bend from your hips not your knees. Measure how far you can reach and remember this length as you will be using it for reference again later.
  2. Roll the bottom of both feet, but be sure that you roll slow and controlled. Rolling fast will not help to release the fascia. Be sure to roll front to back and into the arches of the foot. Roll for 2-5 min per foot. Roll in a triangle position like the picture shows to the right.
  3. Now bend forward and try to touch you toes again. Notice the difference in how far forward you can bend.

Pretty cool eh?

This is how beneficial it can be to roll your muscles first before you stretch. So next time you have a good stretching session, roll out your muscles for a few minutes first and see how you feel!

I have a full video on how to do this on my Instagram account that can be found here.