Hamstring Stretches And Lower Back Pain – Get Your Length Back

By Michael

June 2, 2018

About 80% of Americans will get lower back pain at least once in their lives, and 3 out of 4 of them will have to miss work. 2 birds, One stone – A bummer!

One major contribution to both these problems are your hamstrings.

Bottom line is this, your hamstrings need strengthening from time to time, and when you are constantly sitting or standing all to one side of your body, it can cause you to get weak and even weaker hamstrings, and as a result, your lower back has to pay up…with pain that is.

What If you could get you muscles in you hamstring to stretch back out fully so they are not quivering anymore? And what do you think about me helping you achieve that?

If you would like me to, I thank you, and you already know that’s why I’m here, for you to greatly benefit.

I can’t tell you enough about the pain I’ve been getting lately in my hamstrings, my gosh! Seriously…

I’m in pain day to day, and I have myself to blame for, and here is why:

I don’t stretch it out enough! For one main reason above all:

I do so much work, I sit as my desk as times for hours completed numbers and spreadsheets, then I’m moving material, and working as a tech. This does nothing but hurt my butt, and when I finally get up I lean backward, not good.

In the middle of that is my mistake…

When I get up and I don’t stretch. Now I feel a muscle imbalance in my hips, and I get my body moving forward into an anterior tilt. It’s getting better every day though, as I stretch it for a good 5 minutes a day, twice a day.

In this article, I will be showing you the best stretches for hamstrings and lower back pain, from experience in having acute, sub-acute, and most infamous chronic lower back pain.

Do I Do This Stretch Or That One?

The most common problem I find myself in and I constantly see other lower back pain sufferers doing are the wrong hamstrings stretches.

That’s right, there are wrong hamstrings stretches’ out there, and I want to keep you away from them, before you do what I did.

About 2/3 of hamstrings stretches’ will not do harm to you hammy’s but to you spinal disc.

So Listen up, if you have L1-L5 disc, muscle and joint problems, and S1 – S6(Sciatica), this next portion of the pie is extremely important for you.

I’m seeing that many of my friends and family are doing the reach down and touch your toe hamstring stretch. This is not good for your disc, especially your L5- S1, because that’s where the most strength and flexibility lies. You’ll just end up forcing stress on your:

  • spinal disc
  • Facet joints
  • Muscles surrounding the spine
  • Ligaments
  • muscles, joints and ligaments in your hamstrings
  • worsening the pain, causing further injury.

It’s possible to feel a temporary amount of relief, but for us with constant aches and pains from our “modified spine”, it’ll aggravate it in the long run.

I end on that note, and I summon the next one.

The Best Alternatives? Hmm…

What are the best alternatives to the “reaching down and touching you toe hamstring stretch?” More than one, you got plenty my amigo!

There are more right ways than there are wrong. Get ready to hear the most affordable(free) hamstring stretches you should be doing for your diagnosis, and the level of lower back pain.

The following stretch is an excellent technique, it will minimize lower lumbar stress and brings down you lower back pain in less than a couple of seconds.

  1. The seated hamstring stretch

It’s called seated, but not for the fact that you need a chair. You can do it from anywhere.

Here is what it accomplishes:

  • Encourages better posture, reduces lumbar disk injury
  • Keeps your lumbar and pelvic tilting posture in a neutral position
  • Stretches, and lengthens your hamstrings,
  • Strengthens your hips and mobility
  • Strengthens your abdominal muscles. Takes pressure off your lumbar spine
  • Stretches you calve muscles

How to do:

  1. Sit down on a flat surface. You can use a mat for a better feel
  2. Keep you back straight
  3. Bring your knees to your chest
  4. Hold them with your arms, and bring your belly to your thighs
  5. Squeeze gently
  6. Now place your hands on your feet\
  7. Slowly extend your legs out in front of you, but keep your belly against your thighs
  8. Keep a grip on your feet
  9. Feel a stretch
  10. Holds for a minute
  11. Rest and repeat 2 more times

That’s the soil, we still have yet to reach the most outer roots. Scratch the surface with this next stretch, that you can do from the comfort of your chair at:

  • home
  • work
  • the gym
  • when you’re traveling
  • at a sporting venue

Keep thinking roots, and you’ll build a long-lasting foundation of roots, a strong branch – your legs, green symbolizing the growth of leaves, and strong stems symbolizing your ligaments.

Which brings me to my next point…

My turning point in stretching other than learning from my physical therapist and doing yoga on my own by my guided dvd, was a lesson I learned from my coach.

He told me to look at my hamstrings like a bonsai tree. I’m not about to turn crazy on you trust me. I’m sure you’ll find this rather uplifting and maybe funny.

Your foundation is the soil:

The soil is all the nutrients flowing through. Like:

  • your bloodstream
  • Oxygen
  • Contraction and de-contraction
  • water

The strong tree trunk is like your two hamstrings: Sometimes your legs might not look straight, but they are strong from the inside.

Your roots are the muscles, and when it’s strong it will cause the next part to hold its own…

The trunk is the almighty hamstrings, Their strength depends on the bottom layers, from the soil to the roots.

Now, the branches are the ligaments. They can crack easily under pressure and cause nerve endings to splinter open. But when they are strong, they’re a force.

And then we see the green chlorophyll of the leaves. These stand for how healthy your overall hamstrings are.

Day-to-day attention, and interactions with adding water, are essential for maximum strength and growth.

There you have it, a foundation.

Let’s take a look at another hamstring stretch that can be done in comfort.

2. Chair Hamstring Stretch

Here is what it accomplishes:

  • stretches’ out extremely tight hamstrings and very immobile hips

How to:

  1. Find a chair to sit on
  2. Extend your legs out in front of you
  3. Keep your heel on the floor
  4. Keep your spine straight
  5. Reach for your toes, only until you feel a good stretch
  6. Hold it for 30 seconds
  7. Repeat 3 times
  8. Switch legs and repeat

This next stretch you’ll be able to really make sure your legs are not bending.

3. Towel Hamstring Stretch

Here is what it accomplishes: 

  • stretching the muscles out in your hamstring
  • Aligns you posture
  • Unlocks your hips, gives you more mobility

How to: 

  1. Find a flat surface to lye down on your back
  2. Hold each end of a wrapped towel and wrap it around your foot
  3. Pull your leg up in front of your body
  4. feel a stretch in your hamstring
  5. Hold it for 30-45 seconds
  6. Switch legs and repeat

Remember how your gym teacher or coach told you to find a wall and get ready to stretch? This might spark some memories…

4. Wall Hamstring Stretch

Here is what it accomplishes:

  • Gets your hamstring muscles all stretched out
  • Causes your hips to unlock and become more mobile

How to:

  1. Lie down on the floor
  2. Put your butt up against a wall
  3. Stretch your legs up on the wall
  4. Keep your knee as straight as possible
  5. Feel a stretch
  6. Holds for 30-45 seconds
  7. Switch legs and repeat

This is gentle on your lower back. It will cause minimal stress.

What’s In It For You?

You have a solid hamstring stretching foundation, but what If I told you certain stretches’ put together work better for you type of pain than others?

Here is what I do, and I know you can do when you have a herniated disc:

  1. Seated Chair stretch

A different variation of the seated hamstring stretch, this one uses 2 chairs instead of 1. It’s ideal for people with extreme tightness in their hamstrings, and for bad mobility


  • Lengthens and strengthens your hamstring muscles
  • Gives you more mobility

How to:

  1. Sit down on a chair with another chair in front of you
  2. Rest one for of yours on the ground and put the other on the chair across from you
  3. Straighten up your back
  4. Reach forward as you extended your leg
  5. When you feel a stretch in the upper rear thigh then hold it there
  6. Holds for 15 to 30 seconds
  7. Switch legs and repeat
  8. Do it 3 times for each leg

2. Towel Hamstring Stretch


  • stretching the muscles out in you hamstring
  • Aligns you posture
  • Unlocks your hips, gives you more mobility

How to:

  1. Find a flat surface to lye down on your back
  2. Hold each end of a wrapped towel and wrap it around your foot
  3. Pull your leg up in front of your body
  4. feel a stretch in your hamstring
  5. Hold it for 30-45 seconds
  6. Switch legs and repeat

3. Wall Hamstring Stretch


  • Gets your hamstring muscles all stretched out
  • Causes your hips to unlock and become more mobile

How to:

  1. Lie down on the floor
  2. Put your butt up against a wall
  3. Stretch your legs up on the wall
  4. Keep your knee as straight as possible
  5. Feel a stretch
  6. Holds for 30-45 seconds
  7. Switch legs and repeat

This is gentle on your lower back. It will cause minimal stress.

How To Do Them Day To Day

Take a second and think to yourself…what are the best ways and times I can get to stretching?

I know that for me, I follow through 99% of these stretches’ day in and day out, as so should you(until you get better)

I know we have busy schedules, and sometimes you just don’t think you have the time. Think is a big term in this sentence but I stand by it, and here is why…

Scenario 1: If you’re at work, and Let’s say you are sitting down at your desk, what stretch comes to your mind? The seated chair stretch, BOOM!. Get that stretch going. It’ll help out your lower back and especially your degenerative and herniated disc.

Scenario 2: You’re doing physical labor, or walking around. Get into a seated hamstring stretch. Lie on the ground and just stretch. What’s one minute out of your time to save a lifetime and lifestyle?

Scenario 3: You’re at the gym getting your workout in. You can do any of these stretches’.

Scenario 4: No place like home. Here is the best time to stretch in my opinion because 1. You have no excuses, and 2. you have all the hamstrings stretches’ in your power to do.

The Cream Of The Top

Your hamstrings need strengthening, and if they don’t get that you’ll find yourself in constant aching pain, and before you know it, time will pass and it will be too late. Do something about it now while you still can, it’ll make all the difference.

The stretches’ you shouldn’t do can put you in harm’s way. Avoid doing the reach for your toes hamstring stretch, it’s not good on your spine and lumbar disc,

Instead, do all the alternative stretches’ you now have at your disposal. Use them with caution, and only stretch as far as you can go, you don’t want to end up hurting yourself

The tougher the pain, like a herniated disc, the more caution you need to take. Find those hamstrings stretches’ and do them as often as you can because I know that a herniated disc can put a damper on your mobility.

Look at every scenario for what they are worth, and you’ll understand that at any time, any place you find yourself in, you’ll be able to do a good hamstring stretch.

The awesome part about hamstring stretches is that you can also do them in the mornings and night in bed from the comfort of your own home.

If you have any questions, concerns, comments, opinions, please leave me a comment down below. I’ll get back to you right away!

“To be a champion, I think you have to see the big picture. It’s not about winning and losing; it’s about every day hard work and about thriving on a challenge. It’s about embracing the pain that you’ll experience at the end of a race and not being afraid. I think people think too hard and get afraid of a certain challenge.

-Summer Sanders

Now we climb up from here…

The Remove Back Pain System

To get the most out of your lower back pain healing you’ll most definitely without a question, need to work on your hips. Let’s keep it up, and start right now with understanding hip pain here.


About the author

Hi My name is Michael Granados, I am of the age of 26 years, and I’m a back pain specialist, enthusiast, and expert. All of us have had or will have lower back pain at least once in our lives, and whether it’s acute or a more chronic condition, you can depend on us here at Remove Back Pain to take great care of you. I ensure you’ll take the right and most appropriate steps for you to heal the safest and most productive way. Get ready for a better lifestyle!

  • I remember how amazing I felt when I would stretch for at least half an hour daily. I’m not even sure why I stopped. I guess I was lazy or short on time one day and then skipping one day turned into skipping a few months and then years.

    I’m going to start stretching again because I’ve noticed my body is tense and feels stiff.

    • Hi Aria,

      Doesn’t it feel great to stretch for awhile? you really see and feel the benefits. I am right there with you, I can relate. Its easy to fall off track, and its not the fact you think one day is going to be enough, its the fact that life just gets in the way. I found that using a calendar, and an app on my phone with google calendar keeps me on top of the exercises and things I need to do within each day. Maybe that can help? Just offering. Yeah, tight hamstrings make their way up and eventually your butt and hips become tight. If you have any questions about other regions like hips, thighs, lower back etc, feel free to reach out to me. Thank you.

  • Hey Michael! How are you buddy? I really enjoyed reading this article as it contains tonnes of valuable information on stretches. I play Tennis quite regularly so I stretch before and after the game as it’s a must in order to prevent injuries. Apart from the stretches I do on the court, I stretch morning and evening at home.

    Stretching is just amazing. I love the feeling and the pain you experience when you stretch. You did an amazing job here. Cheers!!!

    • Hi there,

      I’m really good! I hope your doing the same. I wanted to make sure it was as through as I can make it be, and I knew this was not meant to be a short article. Nothing will stretching, exercising and lower back pain in general should be short and to the point. Everything needs care, and each step should be cared for. I’m glad you are getting your stretching going, it’s the best thing you can do before any sporting activity. You sound like you have this stretching thing down! It’s not easy for everyone, but the goal is to make it as simplified as possible so that anyone and everyone can reach their daily lifestyle goals, and focus on the things they need to without worrying DAY in and DAY out.

      Stretching does feel really good right? My favorite is when I can stretch and feel some pain at the same time becuase for two things:

      I know I’m working my muscles, tendons, ligaments, and joints really good and that it gives me mentally more strength to push past barriers and get to the end result. Thank you my friend! Have a great day.

  • Hey Michael, great read.  Hamstrings are so underutilized and nothing is more uncomfortable than lower back pain.  As a Fitness Trainer with over 10 years experience, I can tell you this is a needed website.  Posture is everything and a strong core is key.  The stretches really help and I recommend light dead-lifts, just to wake up full body head to toe.  

    I look forward to exploring more about body strengthening on your site. 

    Thanx Again for Sharing,  Tu

    • Hi TP,

      I couldn’t agree any more! The hamstrings are always overlooked, and that’s hugely a part of the fact that so many people don’t understand how lower back pain can be non-related to the lumbar spine. And before they know it, boom, there’s a weak muscles imbalance in their hamstrings. I really appreciate that TP. Heck yes, posture is everything, and has everything to do with lower back pain. A persons lower back pain might have been the result of something else, but it will always reflect back to posture and a strong core as you said. Yeah, dead lifts are one of those strengthening exercises that can be squeezed in with a bad back, it’s just very vital that it’s LIGHT.

      Thank you for being here today, you really made a difference!

  • I have definitely heard about the bad stretches before but I am glad I know know th good ones. I think I will definitely have to do this because I spend most of the  day sitting so my I have poor hip mobility and a weak core as a result. I think like you say, it’s is important to have strong roots for the the tree to be strong. 

    The stretches. Especially the seated hamstring stretch is great because I can do it at work. I think I definitely need to implement these stretches into my daily routine starting today!

    Thanks for the info.

    • Hi Renton,

      Oh have you? I’m glad you are well aware of the hamstring stretches not to do. And that also depends on the severity of your pain, so if you had sub-acute to chronic pain, its best to stay away from bending over and touching your toes or certain on the ground hamstring stretches, as these can really hurt your disc, and cause your spine to weaken. Yes, strong roots are the key, and although it can start with either your feet or legs, it’s the trunk to holding your entire lower back upright and in balance. What’s likely happening is that your hips are in a forward motion, known as an anterior pelvic tilt( might be a little posterior-backwards-too), so what I advise is to improve on your stretching before you can see any significant process while sitting down. If you can fix your posture with stretching, you’ll be able to keep your back upright. I think this article will be of help

      The seated hamstring is awesome right?! I do it all the time, and I’m actually going to be going into that here in a second in my chair. So, try to go through a couple seated hamstrings every day, and then on the side like when you are at home its important that you stretch and work on the basics of posture. Let me know if you need further help.

  • Hello Michael, Thanks for sharing resourceful information about stretch and lower back pain. Though I have no lower back pain now but some times I feel it when I do work without taking rest and sitting on a chair. I think your suggested exercise is good for me. Because some time I do some of those exercises and feel good for my body.

    • Hey Mzakapon,

      I can totally understand how that goes. Sitting for a long amount of time is the #1 way you can actually feel your hamstrings in ache, so that’s a common thing. Anytime you do feel this way, make sure to stand up and since your lower back is not bad, you can reach down and touch your toes to feel a nice stretch behind your legs. The other way is extending your leg out in front of you while sitting and reaching towards it. Try my suggested exercises, as I’m sure they will really help. Thank you! 

  • Hey Michael, I love your post by the way.

     I just started weight lifting in about a week ago and I wanted to know If I should stretch before lifting or after lifting to prevent back pains in the future? I heard someone that weight lifting might cause back pains and I really want to build my body a bit.

    I’m 21 years old by the way.

    • Hi Honeyguide, 

      Thank you! About eight lifting, you’ll want to do a couple hamstring stretches before and after. It’s as important to do them both because before will reduce your risk of injury and after will help get the soreness out of your system. You can build your body, as long as your back is not bad right now. If you have a pretty bad back, i would stay away from heavy weights in the beginning and do more non-weight activities to start. Like for example, you can do a squat without weights which is helpful for stabilizing your spine. But if your body is up for the task, go ahead and begin lifting easy weights to start. 

  • This is a read I definitely needed. I would be practicing these techniques everyday because I sit in front of a computer most part of the day and I do feel a lot of discomfort on my back. 

    I normally just do a normal stretch and I can see that is not good enough. I would take it a step further by practicing these your techniques. Thanks for sharing.

    • Hi Jay, 

      I’m glad you found my article helpful. Sitting at a desk for a period of tile can cause your hamstrings to weaken, especially if the chair you are sitting on is not ergonomically friendly. Something as simple and stretching out your leg and reaching down will work really well. Yeah, a normal stretch or just one hamstring stretch is not enough to strengthen and keep your flexibility in top shape. Sometimes we have to position our body differently to fully utilize the use of a hamstring stretch. You are welcome. Let me know if I can be of any more help my friend.

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