Wednesday, July 6, 2016

13 years without hamstring flexibility after back injury

I know a lot of people are proud of their before and after pictures of how they stuck to their workout routine and lost xx amount of pounds after dedication at the gym.  Well, something to the tune of that.  I injured my lower back pretty seriously in 2003, and although I've been mostly fully recovered with some relapses in between, I lost a tremendous amount of flexibility in my hamstrings, due to immobility due to the back injury, where I could only get to my knees without having to bend my knees to touch my toes.  I can't believe my hamstrings have been so tight for a whopping 13 years. I always told myself I need to work on getting my hamstrings more flexible and how it would be great for my overall health and reduce the risk of injury in the future.  Well, finally, this year, I've been stretching my hamstrings daily for at least 2 minutes at the gym for 6 months without hardly missing a day now and I can proudly say I've gained back 90% of the flexibility that I lost.  I can touch my toes now semi-comfortably, and I plan on continuing until it becomes effortless.

Gaining back the flexibility has changed how I walk.  I feel my heel touch the floor now with every step.  My glutes were so flat because of the pull of my hamstrings that I just felt I had no glutes, but now I feel like I have glutes again.  And just looking at my walking stride on the treadmill in the mirror, I look a lot more natural when I'm walking.  And of course, my back doesn't seem to lock up after sitting in a chair for more than 15 minutes to a point where I need a chiropractor to loosen me up.

I can't say it was an easy slow-and steady progress.  I always thought hamstrings could be flexed with a particular stretch.  I hit some plateaus for a few weeks until I realized I had to find other stretches that would hit a particular part of the hamstrings that was holding me up.  I also discovered I had a lot of scar tissue from a severe case of sciatica at the time of injury that required to be loosed up before I can make any more progress.

I would say, out of all the things that have been on my goals list, this one was one of the things that I wondered if I would ever be able to accomplish because the dedication was so high and the payoff seemed so small, but I'm glad to be writing this post.  I know it'll affect my in a big way.