Don’t neglect the hammies. Huge muscles that can get extremely tight, the hamstrings need to be stretched every day. This is especially true if you race walk in hilly areas that stress your hamstrings more than level-ground walking. Fortunately, there are endless ways to stretch the hamstrings. We demonstrate a few.
The most traditional hamstring stretch starts in a seated position. Place one leg in front you. Bend your other leg with the sole of your foot facing towards your straight leg and knee pointed out. Keeping your back straight, lean forward from the hips, reaching towards your toes. Ideally, you should reach past your toes, but remember not to overstretch or bounce while trying to touch them; just stay within your comfort zone. See Figure to the lower right. Jack achieves a great position while stretching only within a few inches of his toes. Not bad for 75!
A simple variation of this stretch is to stand a few feet away from a fence or low support, placing a straightened leg on it at the foot, about waist height. This position is useful when it’s wet outside or you are in the middle of a race or workout and do not wish to lose time sitting down. Both positions are equally effective.